Carling Nolan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 4. She was a golf star early on, winning the Ohio High School State Championship in 2002 at age 15 – the youngest person ever to win that tournament, leading by nine strokes. Nolan went on to play college golf at The Ohio State University and turned professional in 2008. Over the next six years, Nolan played on the Symetra, LPGA and Ladies European Tours, winning the Golf Channel’s Big Break Sandals tournament at the Emerald Reef Golf Club at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas in 2010. Currently retired, Nolan is the executive producer and cohost of Fox Sports’ “18 Holes with Jimmy Hanlin,” a show that highlights the best golf courses around the country. She produces the shows “The Swing Clinic” and “Links to the Game,” also on Fox Sports, and is an ambassador for JDRF.
What is your state of mind today?
I’m on the road for an “18 Holes” shoot and taking advantage of enjoying the beautiful resort pools whenever possible!
Which words would you use to describe who you are?
Passionate, tenacious and caring.
How does diabetes change – or not change – who you are?
Diabetes does change who I am. It has been a part of my life for 25 years. My diabetes is what made me the strong, determined person I am today.
Who inspires you?
Women who have been successful in sports or sports media, like Rachel Nichols, a sports anchor for CNN. Women have been second-class citizens for so many years in the world of sports, I love seeing us make it to the top!
What do you appreciate most in your friends?
I love that they aren’t afraid to show their true selves. In the world we live in, it’s so easy to blend in with the crowd. My friends are proud to be different and celebrate who they are.
What would you pack for your favorite vacation?
Golf clubs! I retired from the tour in 2014 and enjoy any time I can on the links with my friends and family.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Lots of fruits, veggies, hummus and extra-creamy vanilla ice cream – because everyone deserves a little treat after a hard day at work!
What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
Spending time with my husband. He’s my best friend in the whole world and nobody makes me laugh like he does.
What is your idea of happiness?
Being truly happy with yourself. After being on multiple TV shows, I have learned that the world will not always be positive towards you. You just have to do your best and love yourself.
What do you most dislike?
When people are late. Every once in a blue moon is okay, but people that are always running behind make me think they don’t care about my time as much as they value theirs.
What’s your favorite blood sugar management tip?
If you can have good blood sugar levels before you go to bed and when you wake up, it may help do wonders for your average!
People living with diabetes may sometimes blame themselves. What words of encouragement would you give them so they can let go of the blame?
I always tell people to focus on the positive. Managing your diabetes is a full-time job, and once you start having success doing so, you’ll feel like you are on top of the world. Take it day by day, do your best and feel proud when you succeed. Then there’s no room for negativity and blame.
Everyone gets stuck in a rut now and then. What do you do to remotivate yourself?
I don’t put any pressure on myself. Getting stuck in a rut can be a vicious cycle! The moment you feel stuck is the moment you aren’t motivated to do better. Just give yourself very small goals and achieve them. For example, if you need to go to the gym, just tell yourself you’re going to put on your gym clothes and show up – it doesn’t matter how hard you work when you get there. Soon after, you’ll feel encouraged to keep going!
What words do you try to live by?
Try to be a better person than you were yesterday. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
What is your greatest fear?
This probably isn’t exactly the deep answer you were looking for, but … I’m a terrible swimmer! I’m always afraid I’m going to drown when I’m near water. So you won’t catch me in there too often!
What is your greatest extravagance?
Shopping. There’s nothing better than new clothes! They make you feel like you can conquer the world.
What does diabetes advocacy mean to you? What goals do you have for upcoming diabetes projects and initiatives?
I’ve been dreaming of a cure for diabetes for many years, but diabetes advocacy goes further than scientific research. I participate in events to raise money, but real diabetes advocacy is helping those who need love and support to manage their disease. We are all in this together!
Who are your heroes in real life?
My father. He was an all-American wrestler in college, successful businessman and a great father. He came to the golf course with me every day growing up and taught me to push myself to be a better version of myself.
What are you looking forward to right now?
I just went to the JDRF Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C., in July. I got to mentor young kids with diabetes and speak to members of Congress about diabetes research and funding.
What advice do you have for other people living with diabetes who want to play sports at a competitive level?
Don’t ever let the fact that you have diabetes hold you back from what you want to do. If you make diabetes your first priority (eating right, keeping good blood sugars and exercising), then you’ll find that this dedicated state of mind will only help you succeed in other areas of your life.
All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the interviewee and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
© 2015 The DX: The Diabetes Experience