The cliché “life is a roller coaster” is a fitting metaphor for Nicole Snedden, 24, who has endured several life changing events over the years. Ironically, she also happened to be born in a city that boasts being home to one the highest roller coasters in the world…Sandusky, Ohio. She now resides in Portland, Oregon where she attends the University of Portland as a fulltime MBA student, and she maintains a healthy lifestyle in spite of having type 1 diabetes and hypothyroidism.
In seventh grade, Nicole was diagnosed with a specific form of hypothyroidism called chronic thyroiditis; also known as Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks and damages your thyroid gland—the gland in your body that releases a hormone associated with regulating your metabolism—and one of the common symptoms is weight gain.[i]
At the age of 21, Nicole was then diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Her struggles with weight are a constant battle, and it is a battle that is compounded by the diabetes.
“I was having a hard time losing the weight I gained after my type 1 diabetes diagnosis, they (type 1 diabetes and hypothyroidism) cause weight gain and lethargy” said Nicole. “My struggles with diabetes and hypothyroidism affect every aspect of my life, and most of the choices I make are in some way related to these diseases.”
But her energy and attitude are inspiring, and when you speak with Nicole there is never a sense that she feels like a victim of her diagnoses. Instead, she views her diagnoses as part of the formula that allows her to live a happy and healthy life.
“My goal is to get back to the weight I was before my diabetes, and then to maintain that goal indefinitely,” said Nicole.
Nicole’s goal is easier said than done, considering the implications that hypothyroidism has on your body’s ability to regulate your weight. But Nicole is making tremendous progress, and it’s her approach to dealing with life and these diseases that are responsible for her achievements.
She exercises regularly and she is meticulous about what she eats in order to control both her weight and her diabetes. Each day she understands a little bit more about herself and how these diseases affect her body.
“Everyone is different, and every day is different,” said Nicole. “Working out, for instance, could raise my blood sugar one day and lower it immensely the next. But I’m getting pretty good at understanding my body, especially when it comes to working out.”
Follow Nicole’s inspirational story to find out more about how hypothyroidism and type 1 diabetes affect her life and fitness goals, and how she maintains a healthy lifestyle while dealing with these diseases.
[i] Information obtained from PubMed Health, U.S National Library of Medicine – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001393/