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Catching Up with Miss America—Nicole Johnson Shares her Hints on Good Control


Jul 1, 1999

DIABETES HEALTH: Can you give us a typical day for you, in terms of diabetes self-care?

Nicole Johnson: I test my sugar before all meals. For breakfast, I usually eat 30 to 40 carbohydrate grams. Lunch and dinner consist of about 30 grams of carbohydrates. My bedtime snack is usually 15 grams.

My insulin pump bolus rates are:

  • in the morning, 2 units per 15 grams of carbohydrate
  • in the afternoon and evening, 1 unit per 10 to 12 grams of carbohydrates

For example, if I eat a piece of whole wheat toast for breakfast, and it contains 19 grams of carbohydrates, I would take 2.5 units of insulin.

I am also on a sliding scale in case of high sugars: 1 unit for every 50 points over 150.

DI: What do you take for hypoglycemia? What do you carry around with you?

NJ: Typically, I use fast-acting glucose tablets. They are the easiest to carry and handle. If I am in a hotel, I love the mini-bar. There is always some sort of option there. Typically, it is a fast-acting carbohydrate, like a bagel, pretzels or fruit. I have also started eating Choice bars. These are nutritional bars with a time released carbohydrate for people with diabetes.

DI: What is your exercise schedule?

NJ: When I exercise, it is usually for at least one hour. I do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each session. Then, I do some weight and resistance training.

I don't have a set routine. I have found that it is better to keep things interesting. I do that by constantly changing my routine, from location, to duration, to activity. I walk, run, stair climb, run stairs, and swim, to name just a few. However, as Miss America, it is a challenge to work these activities into my present schedule. Recently, I have found that when I exercise outside, I don't fret about the time as much, plus, the fresh air serves as a wonderful relaxation tool for me.

DI: How often do you see your various doctors?

NJ: I see my endocrinologist three to four times a year. Each time I visit my endocrinologist, I have an opportunity to speak with a diabetes educator. I am also in constant contact with educators all over the country on a regular basis. I always ask questions, and am constantly trying to learn something new to help with my control.

I see my eye doctor once a year, my dentist twice a year, my primary care physician about three times a year, and a gynecologist annually.

In addition, I also take very good care of my feet. I indulge in regular pedicures, and try to baby them as much as possible. This is both a splurge and a medical concern. I am careful to never clip my own nails, and I try to make sure that I am maintaining optimal levels of sensitivity (as recommended by diabetes specialists).

From the Miss America Organization:

In her quest for the Miss America crown, Nicole was awarded more than $65,000 in scholarship assistance.

The Miss America Organization is the single largest provider of scholarships for women in the world with scholarship assistance totaling more than $30 million in 1998. It is a nonprofit corporation based in Atlantic City, New Jersey.


Categories: Diabetes, Insulin, Insulin Pumps, Low Blood Sugar, Personal Stories



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