Hello world! My name is Ben, and I am an 18-year veteran of the Type 1 Diabetes world. I write these words to you from Chapel Hill, NC, where I’m finishing up my graduate degree in Nutrition at UNC and also becoming a registered dietitian.
^^Me at 9 years old
I’ve always been obsessed with sports, both spectating and participating. A diehard fan of the Minnesota Vikings and Twins, I played baseball as a pitcher and outfielder for 12 years before my body succumbed to injuries. During my career, I started working out to become better, faster, and stronger and fell in love with training for speed and strength. I dove into the research to learn as much as I possibly could, and subsequently became a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. While I’ve been in school, I train a variety of clients, both in-person and online. I LOVE being active, indoors or outdoors, in a competitive way or just for fun. I have also dabbled in bodybuilding competitions (I took 2nd in my first ever show!) and am a published fitness model.
I always want to achieve more, and I’ve never allowed diabetes to slow me down. At this point, it’s woven into the fabric of who I am since I was 7 years old when I was diagnosed (more on that to come). Life without it has been a bit of a distant memory. At first, I treated diabetes like an unwanted guest at a party – lurking awkwardly in the background, occasionally interrupting the festivities – until I finally decided to get to know it and embrace it.
That took awhile. Years actually. It took until my first Children with Diabetes conference in 2008, when I realized I wasn’t the only one dealing with the highs and low of diabetes, to finally understand that rather than allowing it to control my life, I could start living my life to the fullest.
Every. Single. Day.
Life became WAY more fun once that started happening. New doors started opening, new opportunities flowing my direction. My confidence soared.
Now, I’m an advocate for the T1D community and want to become a certified diabetes educator to give back to the awesome community that has been so life changing for me.
And now, I find myself here as a brand ambassador for Pocket Innerwear, writing this intro post to you.
Welcome to my life.
Some more random fun facts about me (but feel free to ask more and I’ll answer): I’m Midwest-raised, but call Florida home…my favorite food is peanut butter and favorite vegetable cauliflower (this is important to a future dietitian!)…I wear a tandem T-slim and a Dexcom G5 platinum…I was in one of the early bionic pancreas trials…favorite animal is a panther…I have two younger siblings…add me on IG @manoftzeel.