Here at Diabetes Health, we’ve learned the hard way that specific resolutions are the way to go. General plans like “I’ll watch my weight” or “I’ll check my blood glucose more often” tend to be less successful than the more specific: “I’ll eat x number of carbs each meal” and “I’ll check my BG before and after every meal.”
We’ve also learned that catching yourself doing something right is ultra-important. Go ahead and set up a reward system for yourself…If I check my BG according to schedule for an entire month, then I’ll reward myself with a spa day or a day trip to the beach…Indulge yourself with whatever inspires you and makes you feel good, as long as it doesn’t undo the work you’ve just accomplished.
We asked our readers to tell us about their New Year’s resolutions and their special ways of celebrating the beginning of the New Year. Here’s what they said:
As a psychotherapist and health educator, my New Year’s and Valentine’s resolution is to keep my own work/life in balance and to provide hope to my patients that taking care of their diabetes can be done through mindfulness and thoughtful decision-making. I incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, sound nutritional counseling, and a fitness component tailored to each person’s needs. My husband has type 2, and together we strive to keep our lives in balance, including his blood sugars, through the tenets of this program. We pre-plan our holiday celebrations to include some extra calories, but we are also mindful to get extra exercise on these days. We know that our bodies can’t tell the difference between calories consumed on holidays and on other days-they all add up.
-Ellen Resnick, LCSW
Valentines Day on February 14, 2005, was a big day for my family and me. Just a few days before that, the doctors had told me that I was having problems with my heart and needed to go into the hospital. At the time I was away from my home in Victoria, Texas, visiting Tampa, Florida. I wanted to return to Texas and be home with my family for the hospitalization. I was told that I could go, but that I could not drive. I was in luck because my oldest son was with me, and he drove me home. When I got to the hospital in Texas, they said that I was a lucky man because I might easily not have made it and should have had the operation in Florida. I’m here by the grace of God. Each year, this season is a joy. God bless one and all.
-Rodger Branson Orwell, OH
My New Years Resolution is to take my multivitamin and walk every day. My sister told me about a multivitamin especially for people with diabetes that has extra potency of the important vitamins for people like us. I always had trouble swallowing those big pills, but these are small, long, and thin, so they go down easy. For anyone else having trouble with swallowing, they are in a green and yellow box in the diabetes section of Walgreens and Walmart too!
I walk right after I take the vitamin-a 20-minute fast walk every day (7 songs on my iPod). It’s probably my imagination, but the vitamin seems to give me more energy to get this done. Maybe it’s just that I have made it a habit. Either way, it’s working for me. I’ve only been doing this for about four weeks now, but my resolution is to keep it up all year. When the weather is bad, my walk will be in the mall.
I celebrate the New Year by volunteering in Oregon’s successful Whale Watch program, which focuses on the migration of the gray whales between Alaska and Baja, Mexico. Being outdoors is a fresh reminder to jump-start my resolution to get more outdoor exercise and maintain my weight loss of 50 pounds (over five years) and my A1c of 5.5%.
For Valentine’s Day we’ll be attending a wedding celebration for my niece, where we’ll be surrounded by our extended family, all of whom have provided great support to me over the years. Fortunately, I have developed good party habits and am able to taste the buffet foods without pigging out on the less desirable choices, enabling me to maintain good glycemic control. I recently had a calcium count to detect the amount of plaque in my heart. The result was “zero” for a person of my age, so what I have been doing so far must be working!
I don’t have any New Year’s resolutions regarding diabetes on my own, but I’d like to see the world of diabetes come front and center in the next year. I see people selling whatchamacallits for breast cancer awareness, but there is still little consciousness-raising with respect to type 1. I especially don’t think that only one diabetes awareness month per year is enough. I’d like to see diabetes awareness and knowledge perpetuated year-round…but to do something about this requires a group resolve rather than an individual resolution.