Eleven Great New Year Goals
Some motivating New Year tips for eating healthy, exercising, and losing weight.
Over the years I've counseled many people with diabetes on nutrition and diabetes. I've seen people angry, sad, devastated, and determined. After our sessions I have heard people say, "This is not going to be as bad as I thought." They are very grateful for diabetes education, and I can often see a more relaxed demeanor after receiving their new knowledge. What I've come to realize is that these people have hope.
I don't think I was originally aware of how hopeless some people feel after getting a diabetes diagnosis. The definition of hopeless is "having no expectation of good or success." I always tell people no one wants diabetes, but controlling it should be your number-one goal. Research has proven that having good blood glucose control— with a hemoglobin A1C less than 7 percent — can decrease a person's risk for complications. Blood glucose levels are best controlled with healthy eating, exercise, medications (when necessary) and weight loss, if needed. We can control diabetes much better now than in years past. This is due primarily to scientific advancements: new medications, including oral pills and different types of insulin; glucose meters that accurately and quickly give blood glucose results; and ongoing research, continually clarifying and improving our understanding of the best targets for people with diabetes.
January is the month of the year that everyone is motivated to eat healthy, exercise and lose weight. But, controlling diabetes is important every month and not just in January. Remember, to be realistic with your goals and small changes can add up to a big change. Here are some examples of some healthy eating goals to work on for the New Year. You don't have to do them all at once, but set a couple as yourself for the week or month and then move on to the next. Don't forget to reward yourself (not with food!), when you reach a goal.
1. Eat brown rice in place of white rice.
2. Change to a whole-grain cereal such as oatmeal for breakfast.
3. Always eat a minimum of two servings of vegetables every day (serving size = 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw).
4. Eliminate any sweetened beverages from your diet. (Eat calories, don't drink them.)
5. Choose foods with no less than 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
6. Eat fish (baked, broiled or grilled) two times per week.
7. Space meals four to five hours apart.
8. Don't skip meals — eat three meals (or five mini-meals) every day.
9. When you don't have healthy food, try a meal substitute such as Glucerna shakes or meal bars, in place of skipping a meal.
10. Choose healthy snacks such as small handful nuts, light yogurt or fruit.
11. Measure portion sizes on cereal, rice and pasta, since most people overeat these foods.
For help with number six, try this easy and delicious salmon recipe.
I'm not Muslim, but an increasing number of my customers are — and many of those customers fit the ethnic profile for increased risk for (and occurrence of) type 2 diabetes. Fasting with type 2 can be as simple as a one-day change in diet and in medication schedule, or it can be as frought and tempestuous as someone with type 1 and highly-variable blood glucose trying to manage the month-long feast-and-famine cycle that is Ramadan. As a Jewish person with diabetes, I have...