About the Author:
Guest blogger Timika Chambers is a Holistic Health Coach, Certified Diabetes Educator, and has over 18 years of experience in the nursing profession. She has served in community and hospital settings, as well as academia. Timika helps her clients design a lifestyle that is full of energy and focus, by helping them to create and eat nutritious meals, to develop a consistent physical activity regime that works for them, and by helping them to achieve balance in critical areas of their lives. Timika offers one-on-one counseling, group coaching, and presentations and training on diabetes management to lay persons and healthcare professionals. She is currently completing online healthy living programs to help others around the globe to focus on health management instead of disease management. Visit her website to find out more about her services.
Sustained positive behavior shifts do not occur overnight. Whatever it is that our clients are dealing with will have an emotional, physical, social, and/or spiritual attachment. Although sharing knowledge is a crucial component to healthy living, as healthcare professionals we must get to the root cause of unhealthy behaviors. We must meet individuals where they are and help them navigate their way through self-doubt, self-limiting beliefs, and self-sabotaging behaviors.
A breakthrough is more likely to happen when people get to the root cause of their own behavior. It can be buried deep in family traditions, the need to belong, or not feeling they are good enough to be in the best health possible.
When we are nonjudgmental and actively listen, people tend to open up and share their doubts, fears, likes and dislikes, and what they feel are barriers to healthy living. Part of our role as healthcare professionals, I believe, is to help break down barriers (known and unknown) that are interfering with positive and sustainable behavior. Only when we break down these barriers can we begin to break the cycle of unhealthy living.
When we help our clients break the cycle, they begin to see the following:
- Tradition is not always the best option. Just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it is the right way. For example, consumption of sugary drinks was standard in many households and still is today. However, we are becoming more aware of the link between sugar consumption and chronic health conditions.
- Becoming a student of their health is a must. We must encourage people to know the “why” behind their actions. Our clients must understand why they want to include more whole fruits and vegetables in their meal plans. Knowing the truth will help dispel long-held myths.
- Getting to the root cause of their behaviors is essential to lifelong change. We must encourage people to uncover the reasons why they undermine their efforts to sustained change.
- Their definition of healthy living will not be the same for others. Finding the right support takes time and is worth the pursuit.
- Planning ahead can help save time and decrease stress. For example, preparing a week or one month worth of meals takes the guesswork out of what to eat each day, and may save them from extra calories and overspending.
Healthy living is not a means to an end. Healthy living is a journey, and a journey worth pursuing.
- Attending additional classes may be necessary to providing the social support that may be needed. Knowing that others experience the same challenges or opportunities for growth can help put their life in perspective.
- Trusting themselves to make the right decision at the right time can help them learn to listen to their body, and to report signs and symptoms sooner rather than later.
- Trusting key healthcare professionals can be a doorway to continued accountability and support. Certified Diabetes Educators can help clients understand the relationship between food, medications, and consistent physical activity.
- Evaluating outcomes can help them be more creative with goals and plans to achieving a healthier life. Healthy living is not a means to an end. Healthy living is a journey, and a journey worth pursuing.
I look forward to reading your comments.