Monday, November 26, 2007

Your Path To Successful Control Of Diabetes

If you've had diabetes for a year or more, you've probably already learned the skills you need to manage your condition. While this knowledge may be powerful, it doesn't make diabetes easy to manage. Do you sometimes wonder if you can keep up with the day-to day management of your diabetes? It's natural to feel overwhelmed sometimes. You can make your management plan easier to live with. Try these tips to help keep yourself on the path to good health.
Evaluate your life
Write down the things in your life that make it hard to stick with your routine. Then think of ways to improve the situation. Here are some suggestions:
Make it easy to get exercise. Join a gym close to home or keep your walking shoes ready by the front door for a quick walk after dinner. Recruit your spouse or a friend -- exercising with a partner can be motivating.
Buy nutritious foods. Stock your kitchen with fruits, vegetables and high-fiber foods. You're less likely to succumb to cravings if high-fat treats are out of reach.
Turn off your television. Seeing pictures of high-fat foods on TV may tempt you too much. Think of some creative activities to replace TV watching. Watching less TV leaves more time for exercising.
Encourage support
If family or friends seem to be undermining your efforts, sit down and talk seriously with them about how important their support is to you and to your efforts. Let them know what you need to do to control your diabetes and how they can help. Also, take a look at your own behavior. An on-again, off-again approach to diabetes management can confuse people.
If you don't belong to a support group, consider joining one. Also, think about offering support to people who have just been diagnosed. Helping others can help reinforce your efforts. Look for a group through your local clinic or the American Diabetes Association.
Prepare for setbacks
Everyone has setbacks. When you veer off course, try not to beat yourself up -- that will only increase your risk for a relapse. Rather, ask yourself what made you start to slip.
Are your goals too high? Small, easy-to-attain goals are easier to stick with.
Have you been under a lot of stress? Think about how you can better prepare yourself for stressful situations.
Are you having trouble sticking with your plan? Now may be the time to assess how well your management plan matches your lifestyle. Then talk with your doctor about making some changes.
You're more likely to overcome temporary setbacks if you get right back on track. Give yourself credit for all the progress you've made, and focus on what you can learn from the experience.
Reward yourself
Make it part of your diabetes management plan to set reasonable goals, and then treat yourself when you reach one. For example, when you fit in four or more exercise sessions in one week, take your medicine at the right time for a week or have only a small slice of cake on a special occasion, give yourself a nonfood reward. Keep a list of these rewards handy.
Because you have diabetes, you've made many changes that we all should make for good health. Instead of focusing on what you've given up, try to remember what you have to gain from your healthy habits. A positive attitude can help you keep up with those habits for life.

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