Making Lasting Lifestyle Changes With Type 2 Diabetes. Part 3

Diabetes |

“Some people delude themselves into thinking if they just had more willpower they could handle the changes. It’s just not that simple. If you keep telling yourself you’re not going to have that ice cream, and then you break down and have it, you’re going to feel guilty and give yourself an excuse to get off track. You can’t constantly deprive yourself,” Zrebiec said.

Staying on Track
One of the most important factors in long-term management of diabetes is support from family and friends.

“It’s so much easier for someone to start walking if their spouse or a friend goes with them, or if they all eat the same meals,” Karmally said.

Charleta Mason, of Arlington, Va., knows just how important support is.

“I had to step away from some of my friends who weren’t supportive. They’d say ‘Oh, a little piece of cake isn’t going to hurt you.’ But when 10 people are telling you that, it presents a problem. I also had a problem with cooking dinner because my boyfriend liked one style of cooking and I couldn’t eat like that anymore. At first I was cooking one meal for him and a different one for me. Finally, he said, ‘This is ridiculous. I could stand to eat healthier, too.’ It made all the difference,” said Mason, who was diagnosed with diabetes 18 months ago at age 34.

“Research shows the single best predictor of managing diabetes in the long run is how supportive the people the patient lives with are,” Zrebiec said.

“The complications may motivate you for awhile, but to stay motivated you must have support – from family, friends, support groups,” said Zrebiec, who moderates an online discussion board for diabetics.

And, he continued, “You have to make the kinds of changes that are going to add something to your life that’s important to you. Maybe that means you’ll realize you have more energy at work or with the kids, you feel better about yourself after losing weight or you’re playing better golf. Whatever it is, it gives you a reason, other than simply running from the complications, to stay on track.”

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