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Don’t nag…Motivate

PaulaBy Paula Bowers-Sanchez

Recently, I read an article on diabetes which stated that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes.

And studies have shown that the diabetes death rate for American Indians is estimated to be three times the rate for non-Hispanic whites. Studies have also shown that individuals with Type 2 diabetes who take medication to control blood sugar levels would benefit from lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, heart-healthy eating, limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking.

This all sounds kind of “easier said than done,” right? Well, the first step is to make the decision that this disease is not going to control your life, but rather you are going to take back control and start living a healthier way. Don’t let it drag on because if you do, the damage to your organs may be irreparable.

After having said that, sometimes I feel like I’m nagging someone about living a healthier lifestyle, rather than motivating them. There’s a fine line between the two: As a mother, wife, friend, relative, I feel that may be the biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining the health of people I care about. But when in doubt, I remember “honesty is the best policy” and remind my loved ones that my motivation is my concern for their well-being. I voice my fears for their quality of life and ask for suggestions as to how I can be more helpful.

Here are some ways to feel more like a motivator than a nag:

Be a good role model: It’s a great idea to “model” good, healthy eating habits and make physical activity a priority. They are watching you. Then, all you have to do is make a friendly invitation to join you. It may take some time, but don’t give up.

Create a motivating environment: Look to see if changes can be made in that individual’s surroundings that may help motivate them.

Listen: Sometimes all they need to get on the right track is a good listener to hear their concerns, their fears, their expectations.

Have fun: Don’t view physical activity as a chore. Make it a fun time. And try not to talk about food as good or bad. I usually refer to food choices as healthy and nutritious. I often ask my son if he thinks something is what his heart needs to be healthy.

The bottom line is we get one body with one heart, so let’s take care and make the most of our life here on Earth.

Get out there and motivate!

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