About the Author:
Guest blogger Timika Chambers is a Certified Integrative Nutrition 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 achieve balance in critical areas of their lives. She 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, Facebook, Twitter, or Podcast to learn more.
Many people started the new year with great intentions; they resolved to finally eat healthier or lose a certain amount of pounds. In January, many people joined gyms, hired personal coaches, researched the internet for that one diet that will end their weight-loss-to-weight-gain roller coaster. However, we cannot overlook some of the disappointing estimates related to New Year’s goals. It is estimated that over 50% of individuals drop out of exercise programs within the first six months of the year; and after the second week in February, approximately 80% of people give up on their New Year’s goals altogether.
As educators, we know that we cannot force people with diabetes (PWDs) to take on healthy habits. However, we can help them clarify their goals, assist with removing barriers, and provide the necessary resources and support. Whether our clients are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, each PWD needs an individualized health plan. I have found that low self-efficacy is at the root of inconsistent thoughts and behaviors. In my first consultations with PWDs, I find that many of them have tried several diets and periods of fasting only to end up with frequent cravings, frustrations and a wavering trust of the medical profession and themselves. With over 100 diets out there, there is no wonder people are confused.
Some of my clients, even I, have lost weight by not following a diet. My clients and I achieved this weight loss by listening to our bodies and not being afraid of experimenting with foods and activities. No two bodies are alike. We must encourage our clients to be open and flexible on their journey of health and discover what works best for their unique selves.
Here are six ways we can help people with diabetes create and sustain momentum this year.
- Encourage them to explore foods and activities that work for them. Setting extreme limitations can fuel cravings that undo any progress that has been made.
- Encourage guilt-free living. Increased stress can promote guilt, excessive eating and a fatalistic view of their health. Missed gym appointments are no reason to beat themselves up. Encourage them to look forward to the next day they go and help them create contingency plans to stay on track in case they miss a day again.
- Encourage simple recipes. Many people feel like their meals have to be exquisite and perfect. Start with and focus on the basics until they are comfortable with exploring more options.
- Encourage them to be patient and stick with plan. Many people want to give up days or a few weeks of trying something different. Remind them of their why to keep them motivated.
- Encourage them to judge less and be grateful for the small changes. Let go of expectations. No two bodies are alike. Instead, encourage gratitude and a celebration of the positive results.
- Encourage them to plan ahead and be prepared. We have several celebrations coming ahead such as birthdays, holidays, vacations and others. Proper preparation can help prevent or readily bounce back from relapses or deviations.
Keeping the people with diabetes we work motivated is an important part of helping them achieve a sustainable path to an improved quality of life. Please share how you keep the momentum of their progress going in the comments below!