A New Year, A New Start

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Happy New Year! I hope you all had enjoyable and restful holidays. I was fortunate enough to have almost two weeks off from work. But vacation is over — it’s back to work for me this week.

Now that a new year has started, it’s inevitable that one might begin to think about how 2009 will be different. It’s like starting with a clean slate. Some folks make resolutions to lose weight, eat better, exercise more. Others clean their houses, organize their closets, or move their furniture around. And then, some people don’t change anything. It’s just another day, another month, another year.

Whether or not you believe in New Year’s resolutions, or starting fresh, or wiping the slate clean, you might think about using this time of year to take stock of how things are going for you and your diabetes. It’s a good idea to do this periodically, anyway, just as you’d take time to review your investments, clean out your sock drawer, or even evaluate your career, for example. Yet at the same time, many people resist this evaluation process.

Change can be hard, and sometimes things get so overwhelming that it’s easier to just ignore them. For example, take the person who is overweight and needs to lose 30 pounds. Thirty pounds is a lot of weight to lose, and chances are this person has made previous attempts to lose weight, but didn’t manage to keep that weight off. So, why try again, only to fail again? this person may be thinking.

This year, maybe it’s time to think about things a little differently. Rather than biting off more than you can chew to make changes (i.e., “I’m going to go to the gym every day” or “I’m only going to eat salads for dinner”) or just not doing anything at all, why not resolve to work on one or two things that are doable and relatively easy? Has your physician or diabetes educator ever advised you to set achievable goals or work on one thing at a time? Well, maybe now is the time to put that advice to good use.

Below is a list of some simple, yet significant, suggestions that you’re more than welcome to use. Or, if none of these suggestions are appealing, think about some steps that you might take this month either to get yourself back on track or keep yourself on the straight and narrow. Don’t worry if something you decide to try seems trivial or unimportant. The fact that you decide to do something is a step in the right direction. As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”

Diabetes Management

  • Check your blood glucose periodically two hours after a meal (goal is less than 180 mg/dl).
  • Bring your logbook to your appointments and talk to your health-care provider about your results.
  • Upgrade to a new meter (if yours is several or more years old).
  • Keep a record of your lab test results, along with your targets.
  • Sign up for a diabetes education class or program.
  • Keep your appointments with your health-care providers.
  • Take your diabetes medication as prescribed.

Healthy Eating and Weight Management

  • See a dietitian for a meal plan to help you reach a healthy weight for you.
  • Include a fruit and/or vegetable at each of your meals.
  • Bring lunch to work at least twice a week.
  • Drink a cup of green tea instead of the usual coffee or latte.
  • Start off your supper with a bowl of soup or a salad.
  • Keep a food record for a few days out of the week to see what you’re really eating.
  • Force yourself to eat more slowly.

Physical Activity

  • Get away from your desk or from the housework by going for a walk at lunchtime.
  • Sign up for a few lessons with a personal trainer.
  • Climb a flight of stairs three or four times, either in your home or at work.
  • Convince a friend to take a yoga, Pilates, or _____ (fill in the blank) class with you.
  • March in place or walk around your house while talking on the phone.
  • Buy yourself some new workout wear and/or a pair of sneakers.
  • Check out Denise Austin’s “Fit in a Minute” exercises on Walgreens Health Corner Web site.

Did you find anything that you can try over the next few weeks? If not, think of some of your own. And feel free to share some tried and true methods that have worked for you here with a comment!

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