Sean is a guy from Scotland in his 30s who’s made lifting, cooking and managing type 1 diabetes a part of his life. His other interests include writing, hobby programming, photography and talking in third person on his About page.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes back in 2001 and I’ve been learning and trying new things while dealing with some of the problems and frustrations, ever since. With InsulinManiac I’m sharing my personal input as well as support and awareness to four key areas- Photography, Diabetes, Low-Carb Diet and its affects and implications on health and wellness, and weight-lifting and fitness in general.
More content and where to follow Sean
More personalised and about me than any focused topics.
Mostly a leftover older collection of pics and albums on video games, photography and movies.
At 13 Sean launched his first few websites and at age 15 created Colony-Wars.com, an early browser-based MMORPG game which involved colonising a planet, researching technology, constructing buildings and building fleets of starships to battle with other players and steal resources. At its peak Colony-Wars reached around 35,000 players and helped Sean learn a ton about the basics of web and server management, web design, user interfacing, online payment platforms & subscription and a range of programming skills like PHP and MySQL.
He graduated college in 2003 with an HND in computing within those same few years, and spent time on various web projects including an array of popular (but now defunct) WordPress plugins.
Sean was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2001 at age 17 and has always taken diabetes in stride, working towards a normal state of health and sharing his findings along the way.
Sean has spent time blogging and writing on a variety of web and tech subjects on popular personal blogs, on topics including SEO, programming, blogging, self-improvement, health and more, some of these reaching more than 3,000 hits per day in their prime.
Sean has spent more than a year doing commercial web design and helped develop and create platforms for multi-million turnover commerce.
With an extensive background in web development, Sean now primarily enjoys writing, fitness and photography and seeks to improve in areas including video creation and marketing.
What’s with the name?
I wish there were a cool backstory, but in reality I just needed something catchy, succinct and somewhat personal. Diabetes makes me feel manic at times, and so InsulinManiac seemed to fit pretty well.
Do you have a history in medicine or medical academia?
Absolutely none. While I give my thoughts and take-away’s from clinical studies and other medical evidence, almost everything on this site should be seen as the thoughts and musings of an “average” dude just living with diabetes.
What’s it like having diabetes?
Annoying. The best single descriptive word for diabetes is annoying. The scariness and uncertainty mostly fade away after a couple years, the potential health risks and a lot of the frustrations can be dealt with through learning and applying general rules and most of the fluctuations and dangers can be narrowed with diet and lifestyle, but ultimately the annoyance still remains. The extra hassle of having to worry about and calculate the carbs any time you eat, of injecting multiple times per day or changing infusion sets every few days, of pricking fingers everywhere you go or changing sensors and still bumping them on the door frame. The annoyance of waking up in the middle of the night with low blood sugar and spending an hour bringing it up, only to go too high and spend another hour bringing it back down. The pain in the arse of solving one problem only for another to rear its head and to get inexplicable and unexpected results despite rigid rule following are what makes diabetes mostly easy to deal with, but so very annoying.
Do you recommend a low carb diet?
Diet is so wide and subjective that it’s hard to answer this directly with a yes or no, but there are some basic things that most nutritionists would agree on and some things I can say from my experience with testing and monitoring as well as anecdote.
I recommend everyone, regardless of health background spend a good chunk of time and dedication trying dietary changes and finding things that work for them. Whether that means trying low-carb, dropping dairy, going vegetarian or just stopping drinking full-sugar sodas I absolutely recommend it. Just understand that almost all restrictive diets have large marketing teams and an industry of weight-loss and book companies behind them and that trying out fad-diets may very well help you, but you should always follow two things first: the science and your results and experiences.
Having grown up with a fairly normal (normal as in, common in the West) diet probably somewhere around 2-3 meals and a couple snacks per day with somewhere around 150g carbs per day and having felt slowly more depressed and lethargic over time with diabetes, I eventually started making changes over time. Cutting out fruit juice and full sugar soda, replacing sugary yogurt with no added sugar yogurt, kefir, quark and the likes, and generally just replacing highly processed foods with less processed foods and adding more vegetables do my diet have had the biggest positive effects and these are all fairly widely recommended dietary guidelines. As for carbs, I’ve naturally reduced those as a product of removing processed foods and whether or not you can control your diet and blood sugars with or without carbs is personal- for me, it’s entirely possible but takes more effort and hassle than it’s worth and I chose to lessen the potential for side effects and problems I have to deal with, with or without diabetes, thus I aim towards low carb.
Again, it’s all about what works for you while putting your health and hormones first. Nobody ever felt better over time by eating more processed foods and added sugars.
What’s the single best piece of advice you can give to someone new to dealing with diabetes?
Relax and take it slow, put yourself first and understand that knowledge and learning will help you more than anything else over time.
That’s a bit too wishy-washy and general, can you expand on that?
1. Read some of the best books on diabetes.
2. Experiment with diet, treatment and gadgets and find what works best for you.
3. Treat diabetes as an opportunity to learn and get good at something new rather than just a problem to deal with.
Follow those three steps and you’ll have a wide understanding and knowledge of diabetes, skill and ability to treat it from day to day, and an upbeat attitude towards most parts of the condition.