Some days you take charge of caring for yourself and keeping your diabetes in check -- no problem. But on other days, your motivation lags. Whose doesn't? The key is to learn how to use your own thoughts to re-energize your desire to treat yourself with loving care.
Imagine these commonplace obstacles are hijacking your plans. What's your first thought? To take the detour away from your goal? Or to create a bypass that keeps you on course?
There was a time when doctors couldn't get anywhere near Sherri Buffington with a needle. "I was deathly afraid of needles," recalls the 44-year-old senior legal secretary from Sicklerville, N.J. "I've been petrified of needles since I was a little kid."
Then in 2004, Buffington was diagnosed with diabetes. When oral medications didn't control her disease, her doctor prescribed an injectable prescription medication along with insulin. Taking these drugs meant she would have to inject herself, sometimes...
Throw-in-the-towel thinking: Your thoughts might instantly go negative, like, "There’s no way I can get in the 30 minutes of exercise I need. I don't know why I thought I could with all the obligations I have. It's just one more day that I can't take care of my diabetes -- or myself."
Maybe it’s work, commuting, kids' soccer game, or house cleaning. Anything that takes a lot of your time or that overwhelms you can steal your focus or resolve.
Roll-with-the-punches thinking: You think of a way to make it happen anyway. Thoughts like, "Any exercise can make a difference in my health. I don’t have to do it all at once! I have 10 minutes now to walk down the street. I can walk around the medical plaza while Mom's seeing the doctor. And I'll leave to pick up Susie 10 minutes early and take the dog with me so we can stretch both our legs until she's done."
The key is to remember that you can break up exercise. It doesn't have to be fancy or involve a change of clothes. Doing anything for yourself will give you a big burst of optimism and energy.
What's the Point?
It's-too-late approach: "I've never been at my goal weight. Even if I manage to stick with this plan, it will still take forever. Why will this time be any different? It's too late for me."
Move-the-finish line approach: "My doctor says walking a few times a week and focusing on eating ‘real’ foods and not packaged ones will move me in a healthy direction. I am going to trust that. She said even if I lose just a few pounds, I can lower my blood glucose levels and my blood pressure."
Talk with your doctor to make sure you both understand what your goals are. Don't make assumptions about what's required to stay as healthy as you can. The more reachable your goals are, the more likely you'll feel your actions are helping. And that matters because success breeds more success.
Mental health experts say most anxiety comes from worrying about the future. The more you try to focus on what is happening today and what you can do right now, the easier it will be for you to feel good about your success and to look for immediate solutions.
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