It’s that time of year again, when our ambitions may get the best of our common sense and we start the cycle of making unreasonable resolutions, breaking them, and then being frustrated with ourselves for “failing.” Somehow, we seem to forget Einstein’s definition of insanity, which is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So this year, I asked some experts who help people living with diabetes make long-lasting changes for tips on how to change things up and turn resolutions into real change.
The first tip comes from Dr. Steven Edelman, founder and director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes. His educational conferences have motivated thousands of individuals living with diabetes throughout the US:
Tip #1: Concentrate on your own health first so you can be a more supportive person to friends and loved ones around you
Many of us put our family’s needs before our own. The end result is that we may not pay enough attention to our own health, and as a result, become less able to care for those we love. Make your diabetes management a top priority in the new year – a great suggestion!
The following weight loss tips come from Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE*, CDN, whose book The Diabetes Organizer was published in 2013.
Tip #2: Drink more water
Want to lose weight this year? Drink plenty of thirst-quenching water throughout the day, every day. You may confuse hunger with thirst if you don’t consume enough water. If you don’t always feel thirsty, consider creating a “water schedule.” For example, drink an eight-ounce glass of water with breakfast and another tall glass with lunch. Before you know it, you’ll increase your fluid intake. If you aren’t a plain water fan, add some fresh lemon or lime, or slice some cucumber or strawberries into a pitcher of water for a refreshing treat.
Tip #3: Keep a food journal
Start a food journal to help meet your weight loss goals. To do this, write down everything you eat or drink during the day. Do you snack on junk food while you watch TV? How about the bag of chips you open on your way home from the grocery store? Jot it all down. Your journal may help you pay closer attention to these habits, and serve as a helpful tool to ultimately alter them.
Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, owner and clinical director of Integrated Diabetes Services, has a few tips on ways to help increase your physical activity in the coming year:
Tip #4: Make a clean sweep!
Take a couple of days each week to do sixty minutes of heavy housecleaning or home improvement projects. Get your home in shape while you get yourself in shape!
Tip #5: Change your definition of “exercise”
Fitness is really a state of mind, a way of thinking about movement and activity in a different way. In my opinion, if you can try to “think like a fit person” and seek out physical activity in your daily life, these small changes can add up to make a real difference. One example: If physically possible, vow to never take another elevator or escalator if the walk is fewer than three flights. Find other ways to exercise without trying here.
Tip #6: Set goals
Be active with a purpose: Give yourself a goal. Set a time in the future, then train for it, no matter how minor it might seem. For instance, a goal could be walking three miles three months from today, or consider signing up for an American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure event next spring. Read about Scott Johnson’s inspiring participation in last year’s Tour de Cure here.
Finally, some suggestions from Theresa Garnero, APRN, BC-ADM, MSN, CDE, founder and executive director of Dance Out Diabetes.
Tip #7: Dance!
Find a way to do a little “dance” everyday. Moving your body to music is a great way to increase your joy quotient. Take a thirty-second boogie in the office when no one is looking, or go for a brisk walk while listening to your favorite tunes. Dancing is great for the mind and spirit. It can help you step outside of yourself for a moment, and it can be a great way to moderate stress.
Tip #8: Think of your body as a 401K
Re-envision your body as your own personal investment vehicle. According to Garnero, “health is an investment, so consciously think about what one small contribution you can make every day to body, mind, or spirit.” It’s those everyday transactions (investments) that may add up to achieving bigger goals.
And for our last tip, try to enjoy the fresh start that a new year or new season brings! Real change awaits if you are game to make it happen.
Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE*, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators 2008-09 Diabetes Educator of the Year. She is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and marriage and family therapist. Her books include Sex and Diabetes and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes. Roszler is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.
© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience