No matter which way you slice it, stress is part of our lives and is here to stay. Stress should be something we recover from each time we experience it. For example, if you lift weights and put your musculoskeletal framework under stress, your body will respond by getting stronger only if you rest afterward and recover. If, on the other hand, you simply hold onto to those weights, your musculo-skeletal system would slowly erode under the constant stress.
Stress comes in many flavors: exercise, poor diet, work, school, parents, homework, relationships, lack of sleep, illness, etc. The bodies of healthy persons without t1 diabetes hide well the effects of these stressors. A t1 diabetic, by contrast, sees the effects of these stressors when they check their glucose meters.
I don’t get sick very often, but when I catch a cold, my insulin requirements can shoot up by 50 percent. I will always remember my first year teaching; the fear and stress I felt everyday caused my blood sugar to swing wildly and insulin requirements almost doubled for a short period of time.
Whenever possible, remove negative stressors in your life and introduce destressors as much as possible. Things I use to destress are good quality sleep, any form of meditation, yoga, exercise (see below), laughter, relationships, and a real food diet. Many foods inflame the digestive track and cause stress to the body. I’ve noticed that non-paleo foods can cause blood sugar swings unpredicted by their carbohydrate content. Peanut butter, for example, has very few carbs, but can raise blood sugar levels substantially.
A note on exercise. Exercise smart. If running 20 miles prepares you for your sport, then go for it. Otherwise, running is a very stressful activity that can have the opposite effect most runners are trying to achieve (like weight loss). In fact, overtraining is a very easy way to stress your body. If there is not built in recovery, you won’t see the effects of the exercise. The idea of exercising more and eating less is a combination for failure. Rest, relaxation, laughter, and family are just as important as the stressors in your life, and they provide the recovery you need.