Listen to Episode 30 of The Diabetic Toolbox Podcast: The Courage to Start Again: Four Tips to Help You Restart Your Wellness Journey
Sometimes, we forget that our wellness journey is a marathon, not a sprint. We can be so hard on ourselves when we mess up. What if we decide to love our body just as it is today? What if we forgave ourselves for all the times, we did not follow through with the plan we created to get healthy? What if we permit ourselves to add the gift of joy into our lives? Being diagnosed with a chronic illness like diabetes can make us very anxious to get fit as quickly as possible, not to mention that many of us grew up in a diet culture that touted unhealthy weight loss schemes to help us look great for an upcoming high school reunion or vacation.
Our goal not to lose weight for a special occasion but to get fit and stay that way, for life. But, after trying and failing to lose weight and keep it off while trying to balance your blood sugar and live your life, you might be a little leery about trying again. So today, I want to give you four tips to help you get restarted. Because, my friend, you must begin again for your family, friends, and community, all of whom depend upon you getting well. But, the most crucial reason you must start again is for yourself because you are too important to lose.
Re-examine your “why”; I know from experience that a chronic illness is not always enough to keep you going. In the beginning, you were determined to get through this as quickly as possible, did all the research, and tried all the diets, but now you are tired of taking your medication, tired of trying to figure out what food to eat, what food combinations will not raise your blood sugar. This is an excellent time to reconnect with “why” you need to get healthy now. Is it your family? Is it that you want to look and feel better? Are you afraid that you won’t be able to control diabetes? Or do you want to rediscover your passion and create the life you want to live? Sit for a few minutes or longer if you need and ask yourself why it is important for me to get healthy right now. Then ask yourself what three simple tools you can incorporate to help you reach your goal. Your why will keep you going when things get tough.
That leads us to our second tip, set mindful and realistic goals. Setting a big goal is admirable, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful; start with a small plan, and your success will give you the fuel you need to keep going. For example, after more than a year of trying new diets and exercise plans, I set a goal to walk 30 minutes daily for 90 days. After I completed that goal, I felt accomplished. I had lost enough weight to feel comfortable lifting weights and adding yoga. Doing one task at a time helped to reduce my stress and stay on track. So, what is the one thing you can do today to move towards your wellness goal? Is it taking your lunch to work every day? Walking 30 minutes after dinner? Or, taking five minutes each morning for quiet meditation? You get to decide, and you can determine the timeline, ten days, 30 days, or 90 days. Whatever you decide, your next step is to eliminate the barriers to success.
Getting well is not a stand-alone goal; it touches every area of our lives, and those that need to be checked can create barriers to our success. For example, it was watching my news shows in the evening; interfered with my ability to get up early and walk. I am not an afternoon or evening workout person. My chances of succeeding are much better if I work out in the morning. So, I had to cut off my TV and go to bed at a reasonable time to get up in the morning and walk.
Ask yourself, what got in the way of my success in the past? Be honest with yourself; you might have to curb family obligations, say no to volunteering in the community, and stop staying late at work. I had a client who changed her work schedule because, like me, she needed to work out in the morning, so instead of going in at 8 am, she asked her supervisor if she could come in at 10 am. The point is that you have to create an environment where your success is evitable. I am not saying that you must cut everything out forever but explain to your family and friends that you must focus on your health right and ask for their support.
Finally, remember how important it is to have support. You can choose natural support like family or friends or professional support like a coach, therapist, or medical team. Or, a combination of both, hiring my coach was one of the best decisions I ever made; she helped me to begin the physical and emotional work I needed to lose weight and keep it off.
I know this is hard; I am six years in and still have weekly meetings with my coach. But a quote says you will fail every opportunity you do not take. I do not know who said it, but it is true. So, please do not give up on yourself; you can find the courage to start again somewhere inside you. And, if you still need help, you can borrow some courage from me; I am only a DM or email away.
With Peace & Love
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