Whether you have diabetes or a different dis-ease you should have various “tools” for achieving optimal health and wellness. There are seven primary self- care areas that influence our behaviors for achieving our health and wellness goals. They are based on the AADE (American Association of Diabetes Educators) framework for diabetes self-management and they work- even if you don’t have diabetes. Individual client centered goals for changing behavior have better outcomes. So, your tool-belt should have tools to help you with the following:
Being Physically Active
In part-one, we will touch on healthy eating, being physically active, and monitoring. At A Healthier Me, we help our clients with these and do so in creative ways.
Healthy Eating. There is great news here- no special diets! Eat more fresh foods close to their natural source. The diabetes diet has been replaced with the “healthy plate” approach even if you have type 1 diabetes. It is believed that this approach is a foundation for healthy eating for almost everyone. A healthy diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Remember to include fiber and hydration. I urge you to fall back in love with food, ditch the diets, and drive by, not thru. Commit to planning, prepping, and cooking. It can be overwhelming at first, but with help, you can start slowly and with confidence. Food choices and eating habits have changed drastically over the years and really not in the favor of better health for families. Remember healthy eating also requires mindfulness; take your time to eat. Focus on the nourishment food provides for healing and optimal health; don’t forget to spice up your meals!
Being Physically Active. Some clients love the “E” (exercise) word and others cringe at it; at our studio we created the “Ms. Fitts” work-out group for those who cringe. Our bodies were meant to move. The biggest mistake I see people make is that they go for extreme or overdo it. Consult a professional and start gradually. If you’re an athlete, then work with a trainer to ensure equal work-outs to avoid repetitive motion injuries. If you have neuropathy, start carefully and perhaps begin with balance and good foot wear. Get involved in a no fee walking, wogging, or running group. I love watching people with Parkinson’s disease, which affects movement, do better with the right movement/ exercise regime. We are sitting too much- get up and embrace movement; even if you can only do it 10 minutes 3 times a day. Have a pool? Get in it and take pressure off your joints.
Monitoring. For people with diabetes, this refers primarily to blood glucose testing and A1C results. You need to know your target pre and post meals & bedtime target goals. Monitoring can also include your weight, pulse, blood pressure, and lab values. Know your numbers, what they mean, and what to do with them. Please don’t just journal them without knowing what a valuable tool they are. I often ask clients if they would cover the speedometer in their vehicles and just guess at how fast or slow they are driving. Ask for copies of your blood results and use them to set goals and compare your progress. You should consider asking for help to understand what they mean; once you do, you have a good knowledge base to make a difference in your health.