1. Respond, don’t react. Focus on the space in between when new information comes in, and what you do with it. That’s why taking a deep breath gives you a chance to think about what just happened before you take action. Check out these easy one-minute meditations that can help you get started with something you can do in yes, just 60 seconds.
2. Focus on your journey. Don’t compare yourself to others. Yeah, it’s a drag to watch your family or friends ‘get the fries with that’, or have another glass of wine while your avoiding the extra calories. It’s easy to feel resentful that someone else doesn’t have to – or want to – work at (fill in the blank here) when you used to be in their shoes before, and now you’re working on ‘it’. The anger that often comes up is really grieving the way we were. (Any other baby boomers out there that heard Barbra Streisand go off in your head, “Can it be that it was all so simple then”?)
3. Realize that change is a part of life. We’re all on the continuum of life where we walk the line between health and disease. Our daily choices lead us down one path or the other. When we were younger, most of us had the good fortune to not have to think about it. Others still don’t. Once you accept this new “lifestyle” as a central part of you feeling better (not just in how your clothes fit but your energy and all the lab results), the easier it becomes.
4. Be on the lookout for self-discovery opportunities. How can you try something new that’s healthy and that you might be surprised to find out you enjoy? It’s often through one’s struggle with loss that people learn something about themselves and grow as a result. I really can’t even tell you how many people have said to me, “Getting diagnosed was the best thing that happened to me; it changed my life for the better.” It’s an opportunity for sure. Not to discount that it’s work, and not an easy ride like other conditions where you can pop a daily pill and forget about it.
5. Move towards your goals, realistically. Instead of letting their words rain on your parade, think about what it is that you are doing. What is the behavior, or the one thing that you can accomplish today that will move you in the direction you want to go, for whatever you wish to achieve? Maybe some of the what isn’t working is your mindset. (As mom would say, “Get out of your own way!”) Have you ever found that your ultimate goal becomes so overwhelming that it becomes an obstacle (e.g., “I want to lose 40 pounds”)? What is something you can realistic do regularly enough that will get you closer to it?
6. Find support. When close family or friends care about you and listen to your struggles, it strengthens resilience (that’s also what we hope the SPC community does for you too). When someone is harping on your food or beverage choices, hopefully they are coming from a genuine place of caring. Why not assume so? You can simply respond by thanking them for their concern. If, or rather when they feel at liberty to go on, you can add you really want to just enjoy their company and the conversation without turning it into a medical appointment. You could decide to educate them on what is working or what you find helpful. You can also decide which relationships are no longer resonating with the journey you’re on.
7. Try to maintain a hopeful outlook. If you expect that good things will happen, rather than worrying about what you fear, it helps to put your mind at ease. And a less stressed out mind helps everything, including your blood sugars. Have you ever tried to play on a favorite piece of peppy music or play a favorite comedian when you’re feeling a little down? It can really shift your perspective and if you’re feeling more positive, you’re better able to carry on. Even in the face of the food pushers or the food police!