Wednesday’s Prompt: Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at. Today let’s look at the flip-side. We probably all have one thing we could try to do better. Why not make today the day we start working on it. No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!
This editorial is by Nora Saul, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., Manager of Nutritional Services at Joslin
Educators are always looking for new and improved ways to help their patients bring their diabetes into better control. But there are things that patients can also do to help us provide them with the best care possible. So here is my list of patient improvement projects.
Be captain of your ship: Express your needs and desires upfront. Be willing to tell your health care providers what you truthfully think of the recommendations they have made. If they make no sense to you or you don’t feel you can realistically follow them, say so before you leave the office.
Have more confidence in your ability to achieve lifestyle changes- small behavioral modifications can make a world of difference. You don’t have to take up marathon running, mountain climbing or become a vegan to bring your blood glucose numbers under control.
Banish the word failure from your vocabulary: See setbacks as a learning tool- reeducating yourself takes time. New habits are born of redundancy and setbacks are par for the course. For example, if can’t seem to fit in exercise now, work on another aspect of your self care until your ready to try again.
Set the bar a little lower- the Greek gods were far from perfect and we’re mere mortals. If you followed every health recommendation to the letter in every category you would have no time left to live your life. Remember the real goal is to live well, not to have perfect numbers all the time.
Push back- Ask why or why not more often. Patients who understand the reasoning behind recommendations often make better judgment calls when they are on their own.
Leave morality outside- blood glucose numbers are high or low, not good or bad. You ate more than you wanted to or you ate foods with higher fat amounts than you planned—you didn’t cheat. Diabetes is a disease not a reflection of you as a person or of your strength of character. People fail exams; they don’t fail having diabetes.