It is one thing to attempt lifestyle changes when you have been given a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and you live alone. Then there is no one to blame but yourself if you do not lower your blood sugar levels and lose weight: the burden rests solely on your shoulders. If you have a family, your situation is going to be different. If you are the only one looking to change your lifestyle, you are going to be on your own. But the influence of those around you is still key.
Perhaps you are dealing with Type 2 diabetes. You may just want to lose weight. Or you are trying to restore your blood cholesterol back to a healthy range. These are all goals you may have and have nothing to do with your spouse or children. Regardless, it helps to think of lifestyle changes as a group family effort. You will be doing the majority of the work, and the responsibility for the state of your health will be yours. But it helps to prepare your family for the planned changes, even if they are not directly involved. After all, they are your support group, and no doubt you would be happy to support them in a similar endeavor. Think of it as you doing 80% of the work, and your family providing the remaining 20% through their support.
If, however, you have family members also wanting to make lifestyle changes as they too need to lose weight, then it becomes more of a group effort. When the family joins in, everyone can benefit. In this regard, several things immediately come to mind. Starting to cook healthy meals should go without saying.
The quality of your food choices makes a difference. If you are eating processed or takeaway meals, you are likely depriving yourself of good nutrition. To make cooking easier, start cooking larger batches and alternate kitchen responsibilities with your spouse or another family member. A group effort has the potential to bring about strong results.
The same idea can be applied to physical activity. It is easier to commit to exercise when it is a group effort. The benefits extend beyond you and apply to your loved ones as well. So if you are feeling too lazy to go to the gym together or out for a walk, you are depriving more than yourself of the benefits.
If there is one thing you should keep in mind as you prepare your family for a lifestyle change, is…
- it should be a gradual process.
- there is no such thing as failure for anyone in the group.
And do not abandon anyone’s goals just because of a few mistakes or indiscretions. Just get back on track.
And if you are the only one taking part in lifestyle changes, aim to do it right. Perhaps you will serve as an example to the rest of your family, whose health too could benefit from specific changes.
Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.