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Strategies for Weight Management

by Ann E. Goebel-Fabbri, PhD

Make health a priority
Decide that you and your health are worth the effort it will take to change your eating and exercise habits. This can be the most challenging part of the process for some people because of feelings of low self-worth or because of the feeling that it’s impossible to achieve an “ideal” thin body size.

How to overcome these feelings? One way is to note how much better you feel when you are actively engaged in the process of improving your health and well-being. Another is to remind yourself that it’s not necessary to be thin to be healthy. Look for role models who aren’t thin but are healthy, and aim to emulate them rather than, say, slender fashion models.

Reward yourself
Nobody can deny that the possible complications of diabetes are real and can be frightening; this is truly a “high stakes” disease. However, fear and self-criticism are not good motivators for behavior change. In fact, they often make people feel powerless and stuck. Rather than focusing exclusively on avoiding complications in the future, determine what the “here and now” positive rewards for your behavior changes (and their short-term results) will be. When setting goals for behavior change, don’t forget to build in positive rewards for yourself once you meet targets along the way. Get creative in finding non-food-related rewards that are personally meaningful.

By using these weight management strategies, you will soon notice changes in your blood glucose levels, and you may need to cut back on your insulin doses or doses of other diabetes medicines. (See your health-care provider for help in making these medication changes.) Make a point to also take time to register the subtler, “real life” rewards that come from feeling healthier: Notice whether you have improved energy and stamina, feel stronger, have better concentration and improved mood, and feel more self-confident. These are meaningful changes that will influence your overall quality of life.

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