Trust Yourself w/ Colleen Mitchell

There's only one real authority in your life, and that's you. Colleen Mitchell, a type 1 diabetic, joins us today to discuss how listening to her own body and doing her own research gave her control over her blood sugar levels, and her life. Whether it’s facing your fears, getting your message out, or defending your health, Colleen is here to tell you why your choices should never be left up to other people.

Highlight Reel

0:30 Type 1 and Type 2

1:30 Fear of public speaking

13:40 Everyone has a message

16:40 Carbs and diabetes

23:40 The processed food industry

30:20 Make your own decisions

35:10 An ideal situation

41:40 Question everything

42:40 Testing for diabetes

Adrienne MacIain 0:01

Hi, everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess, Dr. Adrienne MacIain. And today we have Colleen Mitchell. Please introduce yourself, Colleen.

Colleen Mitchell 0:11

Hi. Well, as you just said, my name is Colleen Mitchell. I am a life coach, a podcaster, an author, a speaker, and I'm also a full time analyst/engineer in the power industry. So I do quite a lot. And I have fun while I do it all.

Adrienne MacIain 0:26

Absolutely. So what is your podcast about?

Colleen Mitchell 0:29

My podcast is about type 1 diabetes, it's called This Is Type 1, real life with type 1 diabetes, because I've had type 1 diabetes for over 25 years, since I was two years old. So it's basically part of my identity. And we started a podcast to help improve diabetes awareness and education for the people who don't necessarily know what the differences between type one and type two.

Adrienne MacIain 0:29

And for those who don't, please explain.

Colleen Mitchell 0:33

So for those who don't know, type 1 is an autoimmune condition where the pancreas does not produce any insulin at all. And type 2 is a metabolic condition where the pancreas does produce some insulin, but the body doesn't absorb it like it's supposed to. So sometimes type 2 diabetics will be on supplemental insulin. But if you are dependent upon insulin to actually survive, like if you stopped taking it, and you will die, you were a type 1.

Adrienne MacIain 1:21

Got it.

Colleen Mitchell 1:22

Type 1 is also incurable, and type 2 is generally reversible.

Adrienne MacIain 1:27

Yeah, big difference.

Colleen Mitchell 1:29

Big, big difference.

Adrienne MacIain 1:30

Absolutely. So as you know, season four is all about hindsight 2020. So I wanted to ask you what was the greatest gift that the year 2020 gave you?

Colleen Mitchell 1:42

The greatest gift that I got from 2020 was basically stepping out of my fear of being a public speaker. And into that whole world after a lifetime of absolutely hating it. So if you knew me in college, then you would have been like, you would have seen how awful I was at it, how much I hated it. I like telling the story about the last presentation that we ever gave during my senior capstone project. So our professor told us that we were not allowed to have note cards, because in the real world people don't use note cards for their speeches, which is a lie. And so I spent the, I think, several hours the night before this presentation memorizing my portion of the speech. And the next day, I got up in front of everybody, and when I had to speak, I froze. Because memorizing it didn't help if I can't get past the fear of actually saying the words. And so after that, I was just like, I hate this, I don't want to do this, I can't, I'm not a public speaker, this is terrible, this is awful, disgusting, I don't like public speaking. And so after that, I would avoid every single instance where I was speaking to more than just a few people in the same room. And if I had to give a presentation, I would memorize it as much as I could, and I would basically bolt through it. So I would just get through it as fast as possible and get it over with. And I just grew to hate it so much. I would look at TED Talk speakers and professional speakers and keynote speakers and be like, They look really comfortable doing that. I want to be able to do that. And so there was this moment when I was driving home from work in July of 2019, it's a 12 minute drive, so it's not very long. And I had just gotten so fed up that I decided on that drive home that I was going to offer to present at our next big company conference. And that conference happened in February of 2020. So the next day, I told the conference organizer, told my boss, and I had to figure out how to how to write a speech and actually give a speech. And so I joined Toastmasters.

Adrienne MacIain 3:56


Colleen Mitchell 3:59

So Toastmasters, if you're not familiar with it is this organization that is basically designed for people to improve their communication and their leadership skills. It's a safe space where people can come together to learn how to speak, how to be comfortable with speaking. To get feedback on their speeches, so that they can improve and learn what to look out for. And so I started giving speeches. I gave my icebreaker speech, which is a four to six minute just introduction to yourself, just to kind of get you comfortable with speaking. And then I actually gave a practice run of this conference presentation to the group. And I got really good feedback on it. And so over the next couple months, I spent, like, 50 plus hours, writing the speech, practicing the speech, rewriting the speech, memorizing it, rehearsing it. So by the time I actually gave this speech in February of 2020, people didn't realize that I was not a natural speaker. I spent all this prep time not even considering what would happen after I was actually, like, saying the last words and walking off the stage. No thought whatsoever given to that. And so at the end of this, the speech that I gave was applause. And then our Vice President of safety, it was our safety conference, he walked up and he said, I didn't know we had another keynote speaker here tonight.

Adrienne MacIain 5:23


Colleen Mitchell 5:24

And I was like, Oh, great. You guys think I'm a actually legit thing now. And the organizers for that conference called the organizers of the next conference, which was happening three weeks later. And they said, You have to have Colleen speak at the conference. And so I gave the presentation again, three weeks later, for the second conference. And then when we got home from the second conference, everything shut down. So I haven't given an in person speech since then. But I have, as of last month, given five internal company conference speeches, or presentations. Which is honestly ridiculous, if you had known me when I was in college.

Adrienne MacIain 6:01

That's so wonderful. I love that. I'm like, my face is hurting, I'm smiling so much over here. I, believe it or not, I actually have a similar story. Because even though I've been, you know, an actress since I was itty-bitty, I was terrified of public speaking. And I want to just make a distinction here, because a lot of people don't understand that there's a difference between acting and public speaking. When you are public speaking, you are speaking as yourself. And so it takes away this layer of protection that acting gives you. When you are acting, you are acting as somebody else. They can judge the the words that you're saying that somebody else wrote, they can judge your acting, but they're not judging you as a person in the same way. When you are public speaking, especially if you're talking about a personal story or something that really matters to you, that you're very passionate about, it can be this incredibly vulnerable and raw experience for people. And if it goes badly, as you experienced, it can feel like a personal rejection or a personal judgment. And so I just want to validate everyone out there who's saying, Yeah, I'm scared of public speaking too. It can be a very scary thing. But that said, the more you do it, the more you realize, Oh, those people want you to succeed. Like they're not out there waiting for you to fail so they can stick a fork in you. They want to get something good from this, and so they're on your side as audience members. They want you to do well.

Colleen Mitchell 7:47

Yeah. And if there are people out there who want to stick a fork in you, then those aren't the people for you, and you can just ignore their opinions.

Adrienne MacIain 7:54

Absolutely. Because opinions are just opinions. I actually just wrote a thing today called How to Be a Muse. And it talks about, you know, you don't, you're not as good a judge of potential or outcome as you think you are. Right? Like your opinion is just an opinion. And you do not get to tell people that their baby is ugly. Okay, that's just not not your place, nor is it your job. And it's especially not your job to do to yourself.

Colleen Mitchell 8:01

Yeah. And going back to what you were saying about getting better with practice, your skill as a public speaker will definitely improve the more that you give speeches, but your internal emotional state will take longer to catch up.

Adrienne MacIain 8:36

So true!

Colleen Mitchell 8:37

So that first speech I gave, I think, right before I was standing on the sidelines, just like leaning against the wall, kind of pushing up on my feet, I had my shoes off, I was doing like really kind of trying to do power poses, but not letting anybody know I was doing power poses. And my hands are clammy, and before that I was in the bathroom doing our poses. That stuff works, yo, works, not kidding. But in so, deep breathing, I was doing all of the things that I possibly could to keep myself as calm as possible before actually walking out on stage. And then right after the emcee was like, And our next speaker is, and I was like, Okay, here it is, when I actually start walking and start talking. As I'm walking and after that point, it was just automatic. So it was all of that hype up until the point where I start walking on and start talking that it, that's the scary part where you're just feeling all that anxiety and that nervousness. And it does help to reframe it as excitement. And I'll do that now, when I go into things. It's just it's easier to feel excited about something because these people actually want to hear from me. And I know that now based on the response from the first one.

Adrienne MacIain 9:41

Yeah. And the fact that you have that response says you care about this, this matters to you. And so that's great. You can celebrate that you're that excited about something, that you have this really strong physiological response to something, because it matters to you and you're doing it. So, go you! Right?

Colleen Mitchell 9:59

Yeah. Yeah. And another thing is that when you do stuff like this, especially the first time, you get an adrenaline rush. And type 1 diabetes, when you have an adrenaline rush, your blood sugar goes up. And so I'm on an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor, if you're watching the video version, it's on my arm right here, just a little patch. And when I was speaking, I could feel my pump vibrating to tell me that my blood sugar was going high. And every five minutes, it would vibrate and beef, right underneath the lapel microphone, it would vibrate and be even like, Crap, I hope nobody's actually hearing this. And nobody did, because I asked some people afterwards, and they didn't even notice. But that was a really good learning experience. Because the next time I gave the speech, I was able to give some insulin upfront so that I wouldn't go as high. And then I also used the graph of my insulin, or my blood sugar spike, in the next presentation to show what stress does to your health, because that was stress in action.

Adrienne MacIain 10:59

Oh, yeah.

Colleen Mitchell 10:59

I was able to tie that into the next speech, because it really tied into the whole topic. And just being able to use my diabetes as kind of a teaching mechanism for things that are not specifically related to diabetes was really awesome.

Adrienne MacIain 11:11

Yeah. So I went to this administrative professionals conference back when I was an admin. And what I found was that people kept assuming that I was one of the presenters, and asking when my presentation was going to be, because I'm just a big mouth. Right? And so finally, I was like, Alright, fine, I'll do a presentation. And so I signed up to be one of the presenters. Well, even though I knew exactly what I was getting myself into, somehow, when it actually came down to doing this, it was like, I'm looking at this giant room that they put me in. I mean, it was a big room, like, much bigger than I expected. And I'm looking at all this and just going, Oh, God, how do you fake an embolism? That was really my thought process, like, I have to get out of this somehow, like I cannot do this. And thank god, my husband was there, and he talked me through the whole thing, and like, held my hand was like, You got this, babe, you're gonna be great. And of course, the night before my computer crashed. And so thank god, he was there, again, for like, not just moral support, but tech support, to get me through that. And then, you know, the day of everything that went wrong, could go wrong, you know, that could go wrong went wrong. And so my first presentation was kind of bumpy. And it was right after the big keynote speaker that everybody was like, Oh, my God, that's like the best speech I've ever heard in my life. I'm like, Great. But the second one went really well. And then the third one went even better than that. And so I think it's just one of those things that, you know, the more you do it, it's not just kind of getting over the fear or getting used to it, it's that, like you said, you see that there are, there will always be parts of it that go better than others. But the bottom line is that people walk away with good stuff. And if you're willing to take that adrenaline rush, and take that stress spike so that they can get the good stuff that you have for them, then it really feels like a gift. And then it becomes fun.

Colleen Mitchell 13:21

Yeah, those high blood sugars are totally worth it, because now I have that experience of giving these speeches. And I also have the experience of my co-workers asking me to present at other conferences and being open to when I want to present, because they know I'm going to come up with something good.

Adrienne MacIain 13:35

That's awesome. So what do you think is your main message to people who are listening today who might also be nervous about public speaking?

Colleen Mitchell 13:47

While I was thinking about this before, that I think we need to de-stigmatize public speaking as something to be afraid of. Because there's that old Jerry Seinfeld joke or whatever, that more people are afraid of giving a speech at a funeral than being in the coffin. So we're more afraid of, like, talking to people who are not us or not our family than we are of being dead? Which is kind of ridiculous.

Adrienne MacIain 14:12

Fascinating, right?

Colleen Mitchell 14:13

Yeah. I mean, we need to de-stigmatize the fact that when we, when we share our ideas, it's a good idea to share ideas. Some people are going to shut down those ideas, but those people don't matter. And when we listen to the people whose opinions are that we are stupid or dumb and we shouldn't be talking, then we're closing ourselves down from creativity, from wisdom. And when we do that we're not shining as brightly in the world. So if you have something to say, don't be afraid to say it because of what other people might think. That's the important message here.

Adrienne MacIain 14:46

Yeah, everyone has a message that is important. Everyone has knowledge that it's important to pass on. Everyone has a story that's worth telling. And if you live in that fear, in that shame of like, Oh, they're gonna judge me, it's gonna be, you know, it's gonna feel yucky. Like, those people need to hear that story.

Colleen Mitchell 15:07

So we judge ourselves so much worse than other people will, we are our own worst critics.

Adrienne MacIain 15:12

Absolutely, yeah. And, you know, on that third speech that I gave, this woman came up to me afterwards, and she was like, You just inspired me to quit my job and change my life. And I've stayed in touch with that woman, you know, all these years afterwards. And she's doing great. She's out there thriving. And she's still, you know, will write to me randomly and be like, Thank you so much for that speech. Like I gave one speech, you know, years ago, and it's still with her. So you just never know who's that person that you're really going to affect with something that you have to say.

Colleen Mitchell 15:47

Yeah, you don't know who's listening, you don't know who's watching. I mean, if you go on Facebook and you do a Facebook Live, it might be scary at first, and maybe nobody shows up, but maybe somebody watches that in a year and you save their life. And you won't ever know, because they probably won't tell you. But the fact isn't, the point isn't to be getting this validation from other people in the form of clicks and likes and comments. It's just putting yourself out there and knowing that your message is meant for maybe one person, and believing that that message is reaching the right person at the right time is enough.

Adrienne MacIain 16:20

Yeah. And sometimes that message is just for you. And that's okay, too. It's okay to just put stuff out there just because you feel like it. It doesn't have to save somebody's life to be worthwhile.

Colleen Mitchell 16:31

I mean, you could just inspire someone to make a better choice today. That could mean the world to them, and you don't know.

Adrienne MacIain 16:38

Exactly. So what do you think is the story the world isn't getting?

Colleen Mitchell 16:44

Hmm. That's a tough question.

Adrienne MacIain 16:49

It's my favorite question.

Colleen Mitchell 16:51

And I didn't even have the chance to prepare for this one.

Adrienne MacIain 16:54

Well, obviously, you think people need to know more about type 1 diabetes, or you wouldn't have a podcast about it. Right?

Colleen Mitchell 17:00

I could talk forever on type 1 diabetes.

Adrienne MacIain 17:05

Well, let's just say what do you think is, what do you think people aren't getting about it? And why? Why does that matter to people with it?

Colleen Mitchell 17:14

Okay, so what people aren't getting is that our medical industry has failed us when it comes to nutrition.

Adrienne MacIain 17:21


Colleen Mitchell 17:22

I went to diabetes camp. I've, well, I've been going to diabetes camp ever since I was six years old. And I've now been a counselor longer than I was ever a camper, which is awesome. And we didn't have Pet Camp this past year because of COVID, but when we do have camp we have dieticians. And I think we might have some nutritionists, but we have dieticians, and they are required to teach that all kids with diabetes must have carbohydrates as part of their food plan. So you, as a diabetic, you are not allowed to ever give up carbs. And I am really salty about this. I'm really, really salty about this because I tried for years and years to lose weight. I got up to my highest weight of 225 pounds, and I'm five foot eight. So it didn't look great. I was fat, to be honest.

Adrienne MacIain 18:14

And I really did that your weight either just oh no carrying around much weight.

Colleen Mitchell 18:18

Yeah, it was it was awful, I hated it. And I'll pick up a bag of kitty litter now and realize that I had more than that bag of kitty litter on my body before. And that's just mind blowing. But I reached this point in 2016 at that highest weight where I was just, I was done, because I was having really wild blood sugar swings. And I had done a lot of research into the ketogenic diet, and, like, low carb. And so I made a decision overnight again, another fast decision, to just completely switch to low carb. And the very next day, I had the best blood sugars of my life. So I went from going down to like 40 up to 400, and normal is like 183 to 100, so those are really wild swings. So I went from that to just really, really stable and I love looking at the graphs from before and after on my CGM because it's wild how much difference just my food did. And I started losing weight, it started melting off. So I started low carb for the blood sugar control and I stayed for the weight loss. And since then I've lost 65ish pounds. So right around there, I still have some more to go. But all of that happened because I made the decision not to listen to what I had been taught when I was growing up about diabetes. And even now the meal plans or the lunches at our diabetes camp is 70 grams of carbs in one lunch. I don't eat, I don't hit 70 grams of carbs in a day anymore. Like my cap is 50, if that. And I think the the message that the diabetes community in particular needs to hear is that you do not have to have carbs. They are not a requirement. You don't need to eat donuts, you don't even need to eat pasta, you don't need to eat rice. None of that is actually good for you. You can make the decision to change your diet based on how you feel in your body. I always recommend that diabetics experiment with their food, they shouldn't actually just take the like the recommendations of their doctor without questioning some of it. And especially if those doctors are telling them that they have to have carbs as part of their diet. And when I'm saying carbs, I'm talking about, like, the processed stuff, boxed stuff. A lot of times people forget that vegetables are carbohydrates and we like vegetables, we want to have some of those. I just stay away from the starchy ones like potatoes, and carrots are starchy, so I stay away from the starchy ones. But when diabetics don't experiment with their foods, and they wonder why they're fat, they wonder why they're taking so much insulin, they wonder why their blood sugars are super high and super low, look at your food.

Adrienne MacIain 18:18


Colleen Mitchell 18:18

Because I didn't look at my food until I reached 225 pounds. And since then, it's been amazing. I always, I get frustrated when diabetics tell me that they can't imagine ever giving up carbs, or that they're so, like, they love food, and they want to have food, and they want to have carbs in their diet, and they want to have doughnuts every day. And in the long term, just think of how that's gonna affect your body when you're 20 years older. Do you want that in your life? And a lot of them don't ever think of their future selves at all. I get frustrated with this.

Adrienne MacIain 21:28

And you can also have a really delicious meal plan that is low carb.

Colleen Mitchell 21:36

Oh, yeah.

Adrienne MacIain 21:36

Taking out carbs doesn't mean taking out taste. You know, like my friend, I have a friend who is on a strict ketogenic diet because she has epilepsy. And she's been seizure free for the last five years because of the ketogenic diet. And she, you know, loves to post pictures of her meals and things. So for, I think was Thanksgiving, she did her version of Thanksgiving, which was like a steak with butter on it, and cream cheese-bacon-date things and all this delicious stuff. I was like, Oh my gosh, I want to come over to your house. Like, that sounds amazing. Yeah. And so I think there's this stigma of low carb means like low taste. And I think that's absolutely wrong. That's absolute wrong.

Colleen Mitchell 22:29

I over salt everything, because going low carb has given me a greater appreciation for salt. And now, like if I don't have enough salt on something, I put salt in my salads. It just makes it taste better.

Adrienne MacIain 22:38

It does. Salt makes everything taste better, that's true. Yeah, and I think there's really something to that, though. It's so important to experiment with your own nutrition, and just see what works for you and what doesn't, what makes you feel better, what makes you feel worse. Considering though, however, that sometimes there's a transition period where if you start something new, you feel crappy at first because you're kind of detoxing from the food that you were doing.

Colleen Mitchell 23:05

Oh yeah, I did. And I actually did an elimination diet, middle of last year. And that helped me figure out that I'm sensitive to processed meat, so I don't... I used to be the bacon lady, I don't have bacon at all anymore.

Adrienne MacIain 23:18


Colleen Mitchell 23:18

And it's not a problem. I don't I don't miss the taste of taking that bite of bacon after I had eliminated it for a while and being like, this does not taste right. So I don't want to force my body into wanting that again, or thinking that tastes good again when now I know that it doesn't.

Adrienne MacIain 23:37

Yeah, I went through a long period where I just eliminated excess sugar, basically, like any kind of refined sugar I just took out. And I'm so sensitive now to sweetness, like, anything that has refined sugar in it I'm like, Whoa, that's really sweet.

Colleen Mitchell 23:58

If I sniff a doughnut, my blood sugar goes up.

Adrienne MacIain 24:01

Yeah, it's just like... Yeah, but that's the beauty. Like now, a strawberry tastes so sweet to me. You know? Because I'm so attuned to it.

Colleen Mitchell 24:13

And that's how it's supposed to be. Like the processed sugar industry has given us this, like exploding dopamine from how concentrated it is. And the reality is, we're supposed to be able to enjoy that strawberry as if it was a candy bar, because that's how our brains were developed.

Adrienne MacIain 24:30

Yeah, that's exactly right. And I think you know, this also just goes back to the way that food has become a business in our society. The way that our food is grown, the way that our food is processed, the way that our food is marketed. It takes it so far away from the natural, you know, nutritive properties that that are in the food when you just grow it in good soil. It's just a bottom line of like, if you have good soil, you're gonna have good nutrition. But we get so separated from where our food comes from, and how its produced, and what goes into it, and what comes out of it before it comes to our table. I think there's so many people out there who wouldn't even know what, you know, when you walk through a garden, you would have no idea how this correlates to the thing on your plate. You know what I mean?

Colleen Mitchell 25:31

Yeah, we did an episode on how to read nutrition labels. I don't know if it's out yet, but it should be coming out soon if it's not already. And if you can't pronounce the things, the the ingredients list, it's probably not good for you. If it has more than five ingredients, you might want to double check if you actually want to eat it. If sugar is one of the top three ingredients, put it back on the shelf. It's ridiculous how much people don't know about what's in their food. And it's also interesting, if you actually do experiments with with different types of packaged food on yourself, even if they come from a low carb manufacturer. So I did this with Catalina crunch, they're a brand that makes low carb Oreos, and they also make "low carb" cereal. And I tried both, and the low carb Oreos didn't affect me, basically, at all. But the low carb cereal made my blood sugar skyrocket within a couple of minutes.

Adrienne MacIain 26:31


Colleen Mitchell 26:32

And the ingredients were, like, the ingredients lists were completely different. I have no idea what was actually different about them. But they were from the same manufacturer. So you can't go into a food experience expecting that you're going to get the same results from the same company with the same type of foods if you don't pay attention to the ingredients. Because you might be surprised like I was and have really high blood sugars for several hours.

Adrienne MacIain

Yeah, also, I'm really sensitive to MSG. I know not everybody is, and it's gotten a bad rap, and all of that. That's very true. But it also comes under a lot of different names. And so for people who are sensitive to it, it can be really, really difficult to figure out what it's in. And then we get the, you know, that response. And we're like, what the hell, you know, like looking back through the ingredients, like what was it, and it's like under some new name now. And I had this experience that... you know, I love Trader Joe's and I buy all kinds of stuff from Trader Joe's. And I had a really bad reaction one time to something that I bought from Trader Joe's that said right on the label, "No MSG." And so I was like, I know it was this. Like, I didn't eat anything else. Like it had to be that. And so I go and I looked through the ingredients, and sure enough, there's something that they were calling autolyzed yeast extract. And I was like, Okay, guys, that's MSG. Anyone who has an, you know, a reaction to MSG, it reacts the same way as MSG. So I went to a Trader Joe's just like to say, Hey, guys, just so you know, like, this actually does have MSG in it. And they argued with me, and were like, No, it doesn't. And I was like, Look, I don't want to be the jerk, you know. I'm just here to tell you this so that if you have another problem with, like, I don't want you to get sued or something. Right? If someone has an even worse reaction than I do, and comes in and says, Hey, this has no MSG in it and it has MSG in it. I just want you guys to know. And they just didn't want to hear it. Like, totally shut me down. I was like, Okay, good luck with that. You really can't, you really can't trust, you know, just because it's a known label. It's somebody that you like, it's something that you think you can trust. You've got to read those ingredients.

Colleen Mitchell

And that brings up the other thing, which is sugar has, like, 50 something different names.

Adrienne MacIain 28:44

Yeah, at least.

Colleen Mitchell 28:45

At least 50 something different names. So if it doesn't say sugar on it, that does not mean that there is no sugar in there.

Adrienne MacIain 28:51

Right. Yeah. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky stuff. I yesterday, it was so funny. So my husband found this packet of Top Ramen in the cupboard, right? And he was like, Oh my gosh, I haven't had this stuff in so long, like, this is a great comfort food, like, I'm so excited. And then he was looking at the ingredients list, and he was like, I can't even read this. What does this say? And so I started reading, you know, the whole thing to him. And by the end, he was like, You know what, never mind. Just throw it away. I can't believe I ever put that in my body.

Colleen Mitchell 29:26

Like I went through so much Top Ramen in college. I ate Pasta Roni straight out of the box. And now when I look back, it's like, What was I doing to myself? Because I didn't know. Because I was taught that like, I can eat whatever I want as long as I give insulin for it. And that's another thing that the diabetes community should know is that that piece of advice is really dangerous. Because if you do that you're going to feel terrible. Maybe you technically could eat whatever you want to as long as you give insulin for it. But that doesn't mean that you want to. Just based on how you feel afterwards?

Adrienne MacIain 30:01

Yeah, doesn't mean you should.

Colleen Mitchell 30:03

Yeah, I mean, you can jump off a cliff. But...

Adrienne MacIain 30:05

...that's really not recommended. You might survive. But why would you, why would you risk it?

Colleen Mitchell 30:13

Depends on if you're wearing like a, one of those, the cliff jumper suits?

Adrienne MacIain 30:17


Colleen Mitchell 30:18

But even that's not guaranteed.

Adrienne MacIain 30:21

So what else have you learned about nutrition?

Colleen Mitchell 30:26

That what works for one person is not going to work for another. So I was thinking about this earlier that even though I recommend everybody try low carb, that doesn't mean you have to stick with it. Because if you find that it doesn't work for you, then you can find something that does. Maybe you prefer vegan or vegetarian because of how your body reacts to meat. That's fine, as long as you do the experiments to figure that out. I mean, low carb itself, as a thing, changes definition based on who you talk to, of course. So for me, low carb is below 50 grams. For ketogenic people, it's below 20 net grams. But it also might be less than 100. Because it depends on how your body reacts to it, and what's good for you. What the recommendation is right now is for diabetics to have like over 300 grams of carbs a day. And that is insane. And you have to think about it also like this, with the more carbs that you're eating as a diabetic, the more insulin you have to take. And insulin is one of the most expensive drugs in the world. It's really frustrating, because it's, I think it's like $361 for a vial of 1000 units. And a vial of 1000 units will last you, actually, at the end of two to three vials a month for the average diabetic. And if you do the math, the insulin itself is the largest piece of how much diabetes costs if you don't have insurance. And so there's a lot of people out there who ration their insulin, because they don't have enough because it's too expensive. And part of the problem with insulin is if you're taking a lot, you have to look at your food. And if you're eating a lot of carbs, you're also going to be taking a lot of insulin, and that's going to be driving up your healthcare costs. I have a lot of opinions.

Adrienne MacIain 32:23

Yeah, that's great. That's great. We have a friend who's turning 100 this year, who has type 2 diabetes. And you know, he used to come over a lot, you know, back when people came over. Back in the day, back in two-thousand-nineteen, he would come over a lot. And you know, we would always try to make meals that were low carb, you know, to just be sensitive to his blood sugar. And he would always be like, Do you have any dessert, like pumpkin pie? Yes, we do. You can have a small piece. But you know, it's hard. Like, I don't want to tell other people their business. But at the same time, it's like, I also just feel for you, and I don't want you to come away from my house feeling crappy because of what I fed you. You know?

Colleen Mitchell 33:10

But you also have to trust that people make their own decisions. And sometimes they make bad decisions, and then that's on them.

Adrienne MacIain 33:16

It's on them.

Colleen Mitchell 33:18

I have made the choice in the past to have a doughnut, and I knew exactly what it was going to do to my blood sugar. And I did it anyway. And then I felt like crap afterwards. But I did that to myself and I can't blame anyone else. I can't even blame the person who bought the donuts, because they didn't force me to eat it.

Adrienne MacIain 33:35

Nope. Nope. We are forced to be free, as the existentialists like to say. Yep...

Colleen Mitchell 33:44

That's very philosophical.

Adrienne MacIain 33:45

You have free will, whether you like it or not. So every choice you make is free to make.

Colleen Mitchell 33:55

Some people don't like that.

Adrienne MacIain 33:56

Yeah, yeah, it's a very uncomfortable thing when you really stop to think about it. Like, Whoa, every decision? Yikes.

Colleen Mitchell 34:07

Every decision is our own to make.

Adrienne MacIain 34:09

Yeah, it's freeing, but it's also, like, what a responsibility.

Colleen Mitchell 34:15

I mean, if you think of it like that, of course, you're gonna be like, Oh, god, I just want somebody to tell me what to do.

Adrienne MacIain 34:22

Yeah, and I think a lot of us, you know, spend a lot of our lives feeling like that and saying, like, Tell me what to eat, tell me what to do. You know, I don't want to have to be responsible for this, I don't want to, you know, screw this up. I think that's where a lot of this comes from. It's like, Well, my doctor told me to do this, so I'm just gonna do that. You know?

Colleen Mitchell 34:38

That's exactly what I was gonna say is people are giving away their their right to make good decisions for themselves and then blaming the people who are making those decisions. Because, like, that person doesn't know you as well as you do. That doctor does not live in your body.

Adrienne MacIain 34:53

That's right.

Colleen Mitchell 34:54

Only you can make the decisions for you, for the best possible choice. You're the person who knows what the best decision is for you, even if you don't feel like it or think that.

Adrienne MacIain 35:07

Well, it's about time to transition here, and I'm going to do this little exercise, but I'm going to do it... we're going to, I'm going to take you into an ideal situation for people, all people with type 1 diabetes. Okay, so I want you to close your eyes. I'm gonna wave my magic wand. Things are now perfect. You're now in an ideal situation. Everything is as it should be with the medical community, with nutrition, with everything. Tell me what it is like in this ideal situation.

Colleen Mitchell 35:47

There's a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Adrienne MacIain 35:53

Beautiful. And what does that do? And, like, all the people of the world, are they aware of their nutrition now?

Colleen Mitchell 36:02

Probably not, because they have a cure to cure their type 1 diabetes, and so they don't need to be wearing things like continuous glucose monitors to know what their blood sugars are. But in the ideal world, you wouldn't have type 1 diabetes, you wouldn't have any disease. But we don't live in an ideal world.

Adrienne MacIain 36:18

Right. And I do think that these conditions do make us more aware of nutrition and the importance of nutrition.

Colleen Mitchell 36:29

Oh, yeah. Yeah, definitely. I, I have never known so much about my own body than I have going through this journey of weight loss, and low carb, and elimination diets. And just knowing what things do to my blood sugar... wearing a CGM is the best thing ever, because I have this constant influx of data to show me exactly what's happening at any given moment. And like, before we got on today I came back from a walk, and my blood sugar went straight down. And so I had, like, three or four rolls of Smarties just to bring myself out and laid on the couch, wait for it to come up. And I wouldn't have known what to do if not for having a CDM. Because I would have just felt shaky. And I wouldn't really know the trend unless I had that. And so I think having diabetes has made me mature faster than I otherwise would have. It makes me far more aware of what I'm putting into my body. And it just I think it it makes me a better person, honestly. Like, I don't think I would actually give up having the experience of having had type 1 as long as I have. If I get a cure tomorrow, that'd be awesome. But I wouldn't give away the past 25 years of this experience for anything because of what it's taught me.

Adrienne MacIain 37:43

Yeah. How would you... let's say, okay, so let's do this again. Have you close your eyes, I wave my magic wand, you are now cured. And your life is exactly as you want your life to be. Your body is exactly as you want your body to be. And I want you to just take a moment and kind of look around your life in this perfect situation, and tell me what it's like. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell hear?

Colleen Mitchell 38:16

Hmm. I don't think I've ever done an exercise like that before. Let's see. I was like, the stereotypical birds are chirping. The sun is shining.

Adrienne MacIain 38:29

Love it. Those are great things.

Colleen Mitchell 38:30

Sun on my face.

Adrienne MacIain 38:32

You've got the sun on your face. I want you to just feel that, feel that sun on your face. You hear those birds chirping. Maybe you feel the ground underneath your feet?

Colleen Mitchell 38:42

Huh? Yeah, on a hike through the woods. I'm not worried about my blood sugar dropping.

Adrienne MacIain 38:47

I want you... yeah, you're on a hike. There you go. So you're just hiking, you're free. You don't have to worry about your blood sugar. You don't have to worry about anything. You see a tree ahead of you and it has your favorite fruit growing on it. What is it?

Colleen Mitchell 39:01

That's a tough question 'cause I don't actually like fruit.

Adrienne MacIain 39:08

Okay, you're in a garden. You see your favorite vegetable. What is it?

Colleen Mitchell 39:18

Red bell pepper.

Adrienne MacIain 39:19

Nice. So you see this perfect red bell pepper. And I want you to just take a big 'ol bite and taste what that tastes like. Knowing that you're not gonna have to worry about your insulin. You're not gonna have to worry about your blood sugar spiking. You can just enjoy this bell pepper and just keep walking.

Colleen Mitchell 39:46

It's a nice bell pepper. It's very crunchy, super sweet.

Adrienne MacIain 39:51

Excellent. Is there anything that else that you, that is different in this space that you want to note.

Colleen Mitchell 40:02

Of being cured, in my ideal body.

Adrienne MacIain 40:08

So you've got that freedom, that feeling of just like, Alright, I can do whatever I want and not have to worry about that.

Colleen Mitchell 40:17

So that's interesting, because I don't really feel like I'm held back at all right now.

Adrienne MacIain 40:22

That's awesome.

Colleen Mitchell 40:24

Yeah, I don't use diabetes as a reason not to do things. A lot of people do that.

Adrienne MacIain 40:29

Oh, yeah.

Colleen Mitchell 40:31

It kills me when people do that. And so I try not to let it stop me from doing anything that I really want to do. I just might have to take some extra precautions along the way. But that like that hiking example, it would, it would be really nice to just be able to wake up in the morning and decide that I want to go drive to the hiking, to the trailhead, and not have to worry about my blood sugar, and how many Smarties I have, and how long I can go. Just nice to just get up and go.

Adrienne MacIain 41:00

Yeah. That's something I think a lot of us take for granted. Just that we can just get up, walk out, walk out of the house and not think much about you know, do we have food with us or or not? Yeah, not everyone has that luxury folks.

Colleen Mitchell 41:21

Yeah. And not everyone has the luxury of having a CGM or an insulin pump, or these supplies that are typically a lot more expensive if you don't have insurance. So I also am aware that I am very grateful to have these things in my life that make my life easier.

Adrienne MacIain 41:40

Absolutely. If you could sort of like give a gift to the world, what would you give the world?

Colleen Mitchell 41:51

Be willing to experiment. Be willing to question everything that you're told, especially by people in authority. Be willing to just trust yourself to know what is best for you, because nobody knows what's best for you except you.

Adrienne MacIain 42:11

So you would give the gift of self trust?

Colleen Mitchell 42:14

Oh, yeah. If more people trusted themselves, we would be in a very different world.

Adrienne MacIain 42:18

That is so true. I love that. So that's a beautiful takeaway. Everybody. Trust yourself. Trust your body. Listen to your body. You know yourself better than anyone does. Even your doctor, even your family. You know you best. And if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Colleen Mitchell 42:39


Adrienne MacIain 42:41

Yeah. Anything else you want to say to our lovely audience before I let you tell them where to find you?

Colleen Mitchell 42:49

Well, it kind of goes off with the last thing you just said, where if it doesn't feel right to get checked out. Type 1 diabetes can show up as the flu.

Adrienne MacIain 43:03

Oh, wow.

Colleen Mitchell 43:04

They share a lot of the same symptoms. So if you think something is wrong with your kid, and the doctor says it's just the flu, let them wait it out. Ask for a blood test. It only takes one drop to test for diabetes, and that might be the most important drop you ever get tested.

Adrienne MacIain 43:22

That's great advice. Thank you. All right, Colleen, where can the people find you?

Colleen Mitchell 43:29

The people can find me at That is my website where I have links to my podcast, my coaching practice. Eventually I'll have a link to my upcoming novel there. And you can also find all of my social media links on that website.

Adrienne MacIain 43:44

That's so awesome. I didn't even know you were writing a novel.

Colleen Mitchell 43