The New Year is a Good Time to Make Positive Changes
Washington Hospital Diabetes Seminar Focuses on Setting Realistic Goals
It’s almost time to leave 2013 behind. The New Year offers a fresh start. Forget about old habits and think about what you want your life to be moving forward. For a person with diabetes, this could mean making positive changes that can help better manage the disease and reduce the risk for serious health consequences like heart disease, stroke and blindness.
“New Year’s resolutions are great for making important changes in our lives,” said Diana Jaycox, a certified diabetes educator at Washington Hospital. “All of our mistakes from last year are behind us, and we can start fresh. The key to success is setting realistic goals that have measurable results.”
In her presentation, “New Year, New You” on Thursday, January 2, from 7 to 8 p.m., Jaycox will offer goal-setting tips that can help turn New Year’s resolutions into permanent lifestyle changes. The seminar is part of Washington Hospital’s free monthly Diabetes Matters education series and will be held at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont. No registration is required - just show up!
“Managing diabetes can be a challenge,” Jaycox acknowledged. “It’s a chronic disease, so it’s not going away. It’s something you have to live with every day for the rest of your life. But the good news is you will feel much better if you can keep it under control.”
Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or is not able to use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps convert food into energy. When this process doesn’t work right, glucose (sugar) in the blood can get too high and lead to complications.
“Diabetes can negatively impact every part of the body, so it’s critical to keep blood sugar levels under control,” she added. “At the same time, many every day decisions impact blood sugar, particularly when it comes to food choices.”
One Step at a Time
Jaycox will talk about how to set reasonable goals that are measurable. The first step is determining what you want to achieve as well as what it will take to get there.
“Instead of saying you want to lose weight, decide how much weight you want to lose by a certain deadline,” she said. “That way you can measure your success.”
It’s also important to break down goals into smaller achievable milestones and measure progress along the way. For example, losing 25 pounds by summer requires losing a pound to a pound and a half each week.
“Taking weekly weight measurements will help determine whether or not you are on track,” Jaycox stated. “Modifying your eating habits and exercise regimes will also help ensure success. By keeping a food diary, it will be easier to monitor your consumption habits and make changes if necessary.”
Exercise is also important for keeping diabetes under control. But instead of saying you want to exercise more, set a realistic and measurable goal.
“Say you want to exercise 30 minutes a day, but right now you aren’t getting any exercise,” Jaycox continued. “Start by walking 10 minutes a day for a set amount of time, and then work your way up.”
She will also discuss the importance of rewarding yourself for achieving your goal.
“Human beings are really motivated by tangible rewards,” Jaycox explained. “That’s how our brains work. “I’ll talk about ways you can reward yourself. For example, maybe your reward is that you get to do an activity you enjoy. I’ll help people think about the reward system in a positive, healthy way.”
To learn more about Diabetes Matters and other diabetes programs at Washington Hospital, visit www.whhs.com/diabetes.