Strategies for Change

Changing your daily health routine can be hard. However, this is what many people need to do when diagnosed with diabetes. All of a sudden you need to make your health more of a priority. You may need to eat healthy, exercise and lose weight. Here are some helpful hints for making these changes.

Important steps to take - Focus on exercise, eating and weight loss! As always, check with your doctor, diabetes educator or dietitian before changing your self-care program.

  • Add one new healthy routine. You will need to make many changes. You may be ready for some of these changes but not ready for others. Most people find it is easier to focus on one change at a time. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, make a plan, set realistic goals and celebrate your successes! Each success makes the next challenge easier.
  • The only way to eat an apple is one bite at a time. Make one change at a time. Make small changes that you are able to do easily. Start with something you know you can and want to do. For example, eat smaller portions of food at each meal or cut down on juices, cookies and candy bars.
  • Be patient with yourself. It takes time to form new routines and break old ones. The goal is to make changes you can live with for a lifetime. If you do not follow the meal plan exactly, you are not "bad." Just keep trying!
  • Keep a positive attitude. Repeat to yourself daily: "I can do this!" "I will do this!" Remember, you are not alone. Your diabetes team is there for you to provide guidance and support.
  • Exercise is not a dirty word! Choose an activity you like and add it to your daily routine. The best exercise is the one you will do every day. Walking is easiest for most people. Other activities can include tennis, swimming or other sports. Choose an exercise you enjoy. For people that can?t walk, try armchair exercises. Check with the local YMCA health club or library for books about chair exercising. Any movement is better than no movement, especially after meals. REMEMBER: Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Weight loss is possible. Losing weight may take longer than you thought. However, with your new way of eating and more activity, it will happen. Be patient and keep trying. Instead of focusing on your ideal body weight, concentrate on the fi rst fi ve or ten pounds. Often, just a small weight loss brings blood sugar down.
  • Take advantage of research and newer treatments for diabetes. Believe it or not, several years ago, there were fewer treatments available for treating and avoiding problems of diabetes. Health care providers know more now about the causes and treatment of diabetes and its complications. Research continues to find better ways to control diabetes and its problems.

How can your doctor help you? Talk with your doctor about your plan of care and the changes you would like to make. Discuss a goal for changing your behavior. Schedule regular visits to see your doctor. Your doctor can help you choose where to start and provide information on local resources.