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Patricia Daiker

Living with diabetes means a  LOT more stuff to do.  Period.  End of story.  Nothing to dispute.

More appointments, thoughts about food, measurement of carbs, checking of glucose levels, purchasing supplies, being mindful of your every choice, worry about other’s judgment and a billion other thoughts, tasks and emotions.  It can end up being quite the load to bear which can easily spiral downward to fatigue, give-up, and burnout.  We all reach that point sometime or another.  Unfortunately, when diabetes takes a back seat, we suffer the long and short-term consequences.

Better with Less

It seems counter-intuitive, but we can actually do MORE for our diabetes management, by doing less.  Here is a short list of things you can STOP doing that is guaranteed to improve your attitude, your outlook, your energy level, your ability to cope, and ultimately your ability to keep your BGs in check.  Want to know?  Here you go.  STOP doing these things:

  • Striving for perfection – it’s impossible anyway.  Just do your best each day.
  • Pleasing others – again impossible.  Keep some of that energy to do some nice things YOU enjoy!  The “others” will still be there and always want more.
  • Hustling for approval – what are you saying Yes to, but you really mean No?  How much time could you get back?
  • Wallowing in shame, regret, and guilt – have you messed up in the past?  Yep, me too.  We all have.  And there is absolutely nothing you can do to go back and fix it.  But you CAN make now, this day better than the day you feel so bad about.  Use that energy to say sorry, build a bridge, or forgive.  Each of these is very healing.
  • Worrying about the future – being curious and mindful about how today’s actions may impact your tomorrow is a wise and good thing to do, but keep it in check and don’t let it mess up today.  If you worry and it comes true – you suffer twice.  If you worry and it doesn’t come true – you suffered unnecessarily.
  • Blaming anyone or anything for how things are – even if it’s true, it doesn’t lighten your load or correct the problem.  All that angst towards the person or event hurts you much more than them anyway.  Let go.  Move on.  Be free!
  • Wishing it were different – what is true right now, is true right now.  If you don’t like it, use that uncomfortableness to propel you to make some changes.  If it isn’t something you can change, then grieve the loss.  Dive into it.  Process what you have lost.  Get angry.  Scream. Cry.  Be sad.  And after some appropriate time, crawl back out into the world and find someone or something that calls to you.  Acceptance does not mean that you like it.  It means that you honor the truth of the situation.  Truth is a solid foundation for your next step.

Fine, but how?

Each one of those bullet points could be a college credit if we pursued each one deeply. There is a LOT of stuff most of us drag around unnecessarily.  So I have a quick coaching exercise to help you get started.  Grab a paper and pen.   Do each step before moving to the next (I added some scroll space, in case you were tempted to peek ahead!)

1 – Make a list of all the things you SHOULD do.

 

 

 

 

2 – Next to each item in your list, write down who benefits.  (you, a person, work, church, the world, neighbor, boss, etc.)

 

 

 

 

3. – Cross off any item where YOU are not the beneficiary.  (Don’t panic – it doesn’t mean you won’t ever do them”.)

 

 

 

 

4 – Add the things you WANT to do.  (What you should do and what you want to do are often very far apart).

 

 

 

 

5 – Rank from 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.   You can rank from easiest to hardest,  most fun to least fun, least expensive to most expensive, silliest to more serious – whatever seems to make sense).

 

 

 

 

6 – Cross off all but #1.  That is where you start. If it is too much to do in one step, then modify it to something fun and easy you are willing to do.

 

Seem crazy?  Consider what you need to let go of, so you can begin #1?  How do you get rid of unnecessary baggage, so you get MORE of what your life needs?   Get rid of some of the crap that consumes you and doesn’t bring you joy, and you will find more time to take better care of you!

And all that extra energy you get back?  That is where you find better diabetes with more energy to do what you love, more time to cook or shop, more focus on what really matters, and heaps more belief in yourself and your abilities.

Mic drop.

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

Mention this blog post when you purchase my online course for a FREE one-on-one session!

The post Better Diabetes With LESS! appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

(Not in the mood to read? Listen HERE)

Changing how you navigate your life is a must for people who live with diabetes.  Even if you have the perfect regimen for nutrition, exercise, and managing stress, when diabetes enters the picture you need to change how you think about yourself nearly every moment.  Gone are the carefree days of leaving the house without glucose or some bit of technology.  No longer is food solely a thing of pleasure and connection.  You will never have another day where thoughts of  glucose levels don’t linger somewhere in your mind.  Most of us enter a mental tug-of-war between what we “want” to do and what we “should” do.

Doctors are a wealth of information on the “should” part.  A foundational principle of good healthcare is patient education.  You are taught the mechanics of how diabetes works, so you can make the changes to live your healthiest life.  The expectation is that if you know all the information, you will change.  Makes sense.  Right?

But change doesn’t happen that way.  There are a LOT of other distractions –  wants, needs and beliefs get in the way.  Heck – life gets in the way and often you change in a direction you don’t want to go!  As a species we seem to be resistant to change, or so we think!

Change is Always Happening

The truth is you change every day by default.  You aren’t the same as you were 5 years ago, 5 months ago, 5 minutes ago,  or 5 seconds ago – before you started reading this.  Every experience you have shapes you in small ways that add up over time.  These experiences are the well you draw from to make decisions. What you have learned, seen, tasted, heard, felt, smelled, and lived is the lens through which you decide what to do next.  As you move through life, you constantly and unconsciously adapt and adjust.

Some changes require a LOT of mental energy and focus (like diabetes), but most of them just occur on autopilot.  Which sock you put on first, how you like your toast, which finger you will stick for your glucose check, or what activities fill your day.  It’s these little, seemingly inconsequential decisions that can have a BIG impact on your life.

It’s like the difference between running a marathon (lot’s of planning, training, and effort) versus walking around your house to get ready.  Both get you “somewhere”.  The marathon a momentous occasion and achievement, while the steps at home just navigate you around your life.

Most lasting changes don’t happen in big leaps, as you tend to fall back into old habits when things get tough.  You might undertake an amazing new diet plan, but if your dog dies you may find it really difficult to avoid binging on some comfort food.  Conversely, it’s those small baby steps you make each day without thinking that create the habits you fall back on in tough times.

Another way to think about it, is that you can’t jump to the top of the mountain, but you must climb it one step at a time.  Each of those small steps ultimately get you where you are going.  And each step requires some decisions about where you put your foot next.  Along the way, you pick up some new patterns of behavior without realizing it.

Guiding your change

Leveraging this concept of small steps and small decisions is a proven strategy for lasting change.  You just need to be a bit more aware of what is influencing each step so you can guide the direction you are going.  From a holistic perspective, your body, mind and spirit all play a part.

  • Your body has instincts, urges, and needs that will impact your direction.  Very simply, it needs to be fed, watered, and safe. (oh and to recreate!)
  • Your mind is constantly generating thoughts and ideas based on your experiences and environment.  It offers many options for you to ponder.
  • Your spirit pulls you towards your purpose and passions with a strong and steady influence.  It can be an anchor in the chaos.

Your body, mind, and spirit continuously compete to guide your life.    With diabetes, your body may want 14 cupcakes when your sugar is low, but your mind and spirit can keep your hand from reaching for one more.  Your spirit wants you to pursue a lifelong dream, but your mind will likely chime in with all the reasons you should wait.   And your mind might sign you up for a half marathon training knowing the benefits, but your knees may be singing another song.

The sum total of all your little decisions – consciously and unconsciously – orchestrate your path.   They are the changes that stick.

There is a pivotal factor that determines what you choose to do.  And that is your willingness to do it. Your willingness is a hodgepodge of what you body, mind, and spirit can agree to – or not!  On some level you agree to turn right instead of left, to go for a walk or not, or to pay attention to your diabetes, or not.  Focusing on what you are willing to do is how you make changes that last.

Making it happen

Of all the possible things you can and should do, focus on the ones you are willing to entertain.  Start there.  If you are willing to do a fingerstick instead of a continuous glucose monitor – do that.  If you are willing to cut back on carbs, except for Mexican night – do that.  If you are willing to see a nurse practitioner in town, but not the endocrinologist 30 miles away – do that.  If you are willing to watch an educational video, but not read the book on diabetes – do that.  If you are willing to write a note to your family member about something you need, instead of having a face to face conversation – do that.

You get the idea.   It’s more important to do small things that make sense because you won’t resist them.  If you are willing, it’s easier to move in that direction and take that action.   Easy things happen more often and before you know it, it’s become second nature – and viola!  You have changed!

To get started, think about where you want to go.  Know that your body, mind and spirit will be pulling you in many directions. Then see what you are willing to do today that gets you closer to where you want to be.  And do that thing.  Tomorrow will likely be different. And you will be willing (or not) to do different things.  As you face life’s decisions – big or small – focus on finding something you are willing to do – and do that!

Cheers to your willingness!

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

Need help?  Click HERE

The post Diabetes Changes That Last appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Diabetes is a hardship – no doubt about that.  But can your genes and your mind make it seem worse than it really is?  The answer is YES, and it has to do with something called the “Negativity Bias”.  The Negativity Bias is a hardwired phenomenon in your brain that makes you remember bad/dangerous/painful things more than your pleasant experiences.  And if you aren’t aware that this is happening, it will make your diabetes management much harder.    Let’s take a look and see why.

Negativity Bias Defined

Rick Hanson, Ph.D is a psychologist at UC Berkeley who specializes in how our brains work.  Personally, I follow him and enjoy his podcasts.  He states that the negative experiences we have stick to us like Velcro while positive experiences slide off like Teflon.   We hold on to the bad stuff.   A simple definition on Wikipedia states “even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things”.  There is ample research that we all have a negativity bias,  but what does it really mean?

Unpacking the Definition

If we investigate each piece of the definition it begins to make sense and we can see why negativity sticks to us like Velcro.  First, “even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature have a greater effect”.  Negative events tip the scales unfairly and seem worse than they are.  We are hard-wired from a survival standpoint, to remember and pay attention to the plants that will kill you, the beasts that can harm you, and other potential threats.

Potential predator?  You want to remember him next time and your brain “hangs on” to that information very tightly.  Meanwhile it pays very little attention to the majority of your day where you ate a nourishing meal, were protected from the weather, and felt connected to your community.  The random bad stuff takes front stage while the good and more prevalent stuff fades to the background.

As if inflating our bad experiences wasn’t enough, there is more!  The negativity bias creates a “greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things”.  So a small negative event will seem bigger and affect you more.  It can dampen your mood, create more worry, cause greater fear, and in general cloud your view of the world!  Literally the negativity bias means you are programmed by nature to see things are worse than they really are.  It’s like you are looking through a dirty window.

That’s a blessing and a curse.  It has kept us alive over the millenia, but also paints a pretty bleak picture of your reality.

Your view of YOUR Diabetes

As we have noted, the negativity bias is a real phenomenon and it ABSOLUTELY impacts your diabetes if you don’t know it is happening.  Consider these statements: “Nothing I do makes any difference”, “I will never be able to figure this out”, “My blood sugars are always bad”, “My doctor only points out my bad blood sugars”, “No one understands”, “I totally blew it this week”, “My sugars are always bad”.  Sound familiar?

The negativity bias makes our ability to manage our diabetes seem worse than it actually is. If unchecked these feelings of despair, frustration, and overwhelm can leave to “give up”. You know, where it seems like the effort isn’t paying off, so why bother.? (Doctor’s call this non-compliance, but it has nothing to do with complying.)

We all have these moments, but it is likely the negativity bias as work if you see words like “nothing”, “never”, “always”, “only”, No one”, “totally”, etc.  All these words express absolutes and there are very few absolutes in life.  Life tends to ebb and flow, peak and valley, and constantly change.  When you use absolutes, you are making one piece of the pie bigger than it is.  Heck, absolutes make it the whole pie!   You are also limiting possibility.   You may not have possibility in all things, but you can always (and I used that word on purpose), find possibility in our thoughts.

One of the few places you do have some absolutes is in our thought world.   You 100% can choose what you want to focus on – or not.  No one but you, chooses what goes on in your head and you can literally clean your “dirty window”!  And sure, it takes some effort, but the payoffs are pretty amazing!

Keep Negativity in Perspective

White it’s true you don’t have choice in many aspects of diabetes, you always have the opportunity to change your perspective.  Luckily, it’s free, comes in unlimited supply and you don’t have to tell a single sole about it – unless you want to.   Purposefully changing your perspective is the best way to combat your negativity bias and bring some balance and positivity into your life.  And who doesn’t want more free, good stuff????  Here are some practical things you can do to self-check the negativity.

  1. Pay attention to your self-talk:  We all have a voice in our head commenting on our life.  Notice what yours is telling you.  Reflect on your day and listen to what YOU are saying to YOU!
  2. Challenge the absolutes:  If your self-talk contains a lot of absolutes (never, always, only, etc.), challenge yourself to see if they are TRUE.   Perhaps the negativity bias is making you forget the good stuff?  Spend 10 minutes where you won’t be disturbed and just “notice” what you are thinking about.  Where does your brain want to take you?
  3. Acknowledge the “voice in your head“: That voice in your head that is always talking and criticizing has a purpose.  Just like your negativity bias, it is there to keep you safe and point out all the pitfalls.  When the voice is making mountains out of molehills, try talking back to it.  “I know you are pointing out all the potential problems and thank you for your endless work, BUT you are making it worse, and it isn’t true.  I hear you and understand your concern, but I GOT THIS”.
  4. Sprinkle positivity in frequently and often: if unchecked, negativity is going to push out the good stuff, you must be intentional about focusing on the good stuff.  Lots of ways to do this.  See if any of these feel right to you and then DO IT!
    1. Develop a mantra to drown out the negative:  “I am OK.  I have choices.  All is well”, or any other simple phrase.  Scriptures and quotes can be good sources.
    2. Surround yourself with Inspiration:  Sticky notes work – having visual reminders of the good stuff brings it to the forefront of your mind every time you see it.
    3. Create a list of the positives:   Reflect on what went well, what worked, or the times you made a choice you liked.  Putting it on paper gives it more weight and influence.  Just the act of moving it from a nebulous idea to a real, physical thing you can see tilts the scales back in your favor.

Diabetes is hard.  No doubt about it.  You need all the motivation, energy and support you can muster to face it each day.  Now that you know the negativity bias exists, you can’t help but notice when it happens.  Just by reading this article, you have a made a shift in your world.  You can never “unknow” this fact.  Use it to create your better diabetes life.

Have fun catching yourself in the act, slaying the Negativity Bias. and rocking your diabetes world.

Be well my diabuddies,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

PS – I recently did a talk and meditation on Insight Timer on Negativity Bias – Listen and learn HERE.  Join me Monday evenings at 7pm CT each week for a LIVE session!

The post How BAD is Your Diabetes? appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Do you ever feel like you and your diabetes providers are on different planets, playing two totally different games?  You hear them speaking, but the words fall short.  They are saying things that “should” be helpful, but somehow it misses the mark.  It feels off.  Could it be that what they want for you gets lost in translation?  It’s a great question to explore.

The Standard – Patient Compliance

In the clinical world, if you don’t follow your doctor’s orders you are said to be ‘non-compliant“.  Meaning you did not comply with the prescribed plan of care.  It can feel like “Bad Patient”.  Not a label anyone wants. You are a loser by implication.

So, it stands to reason, that doing what your doctor wants you to do will get you flagged as “compliant”, a “Good patient”.  You get the gold star!  They’ll keep writing your prescriptions!  You are a winner!

But are you?  There is an assumed expectation that being compliant is desired, good, and what you “should” do.  However, compliance has its own dark lining.

Compliance is an external measure of your behavior or your actions.  Did you do the thing – yes or no?  It’s a judgement of your performance.  It’s a very black and white assessment with little wiggle room.  Compliance needs perfection.  To be measured, all the variables must be clearly defined.  And that means limited choices.  Without choices, you may feel trapped, frustrated, and hopeless.  It’s a very narrow path.

Then, when diabetes throws you a curveball at you (and it will),  you are stuck empty handed on this narrow lane with an empty bag of tricks. And when you fail to meet the mark (and you will), shame and guilt rear their ugly heads dashing your self-confidence.  And you sit in your provider’s office thinking “They have no idea what this is like.  This isn’t helping!”

Is that really what your diabetes providers have in mind for you?  Goodness let’s hope not!

An Alternative – Resilient People with Diabetes

Here is my take (and a few other smart diabetes researchers 123 ).  Resilience is the key to an optimized diabetes plan of care.  It’s the OPPOSITE of compliance in my humble opinion.

First, resilience is an inner state.  It is a way to “be” not something to “do”.  It’s all about possibility and options, unlike the rigidity of compliance.  It’s a world view that helps you navigate the unexpected things life will throw at you.   It is anything but judgement, and fosters a “get back up and try again” mentality.

Whereas compliance requires a belief in another’s rules and expectations, resilience only requires YOUR permission to become curious, modify an approach, find a new perspective, or decide that your last “failure” taught you a valuable lesson for next time. It’s an inside out perspective that is empowering and compounds with time.

I have failed to be compliant numerous times.  But when I set my sights on being resilient instead of perfect, the game changed. And my diabetes improved dramatically.  I may not have perfect blood sugars, eat perfectly, remember every fingerstick or bolus exactly when I should.  Nope.  Not at all.  But I have a resilient outlook that allows me to be nimble, to adjust, to modify, to find grace in my failures, to not beat myself up, to keep on going, to be curious and to love myself enough to do the work.

The Question

So, I know my answer, but I will pose this question to all Diabetes Providers, “Do you want patients who are more compliant or patients who are more resilient?”

Chime in!  Tell me your thoughts.  What is your experience? What is the path to improved outcomes and better health? Compliance or Resilience?

It’s a conversation we need to have!

Warmly,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

BetterDiabetesLife.com

The post Question for Diabetes Providers: What do you really want? appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Just do it?

If you have lived with diabetes for a day…. or a lifetime, you have been told all the things you need to “do”.  Eat this. Don’t eat that.  Exercise. Count carbs.  Take meds. Test your blood sugar.  See your doctor.  Correct anything that doesn’t produce glucose levels in range.  Do it better. Do it more.  Do it perfectly……or else all sorts of bad things will happen!!  Does that really motivate you?  Or just scare you silly?

If you answered “scared”, then you have flipped into rescue mode, known in medical speak as your “Sympathetic Nervous System“.  It’s the automatic part of your brain and nerves that sounds the alarm when there is danger.  It diverts your energy and resources away from “maintenance projects” (like healing, immunity, and growth) and unleashes your emergency centers.  These centers prepare to deal with this imminent danger by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure, unleashing glucose stores from your liver, and releasing  waves of stress hormones that shunt blood and energy to your extremities (away from your organs).

The price you pay

When your mind experiences fear – real or imagined – these systems kick into place.  When your body thinks it needs to fight, it shuts down the healing parts.  Since we live with diabetes, we have need for a lot of repair and restoration to combat the effects of our weird glucose levels.  It helps to prevent complications.  Our bodies know how to heal –  but they need time and resources to do it.

If you spend a lot of your day worrying, regretting, feeling judged (or judging), preparing for the worst, feeling ashamed, suffering, or pretty much any other negative emotion internally your body thinks there is a a constant crisis.  Living in a constant state of 911 drains your energy and makes it more difficult to sleep, digest, and maintain metabolic balances…..yep that means glucose control!

Getting better = feeling better

Luckily, all hope is not lost!  Your body has a built in system to counterbalance the effects of your 911 system (sympathetic nervous system).  It’s called your “Parasympathetic Nervous System” – and it is dreamy!  Literally!  It feels a bit like waking up, a meditation, a nap, a warm bath, watching a movie on a lazy afternoon, lying on a quilt looking at the clouds, floating on an air mattress in the water or an intentional deep breath where you relax and let go.   Simple – right?  It feels sooooo goood!!!  We crave it all the time.

So why don’t we do it more?  A few common reasons: we add it to our “to do” list so it becomes “one more thing”, we think down time is “lazy” (US culture is not helpful), we (wrongly) believe it doesn’t serve any purpose (um, healing and restoration – I’ll take more of that), or we don’t have “time”  (ha! – but you have HOURS for Facebook or if they were giving our freebies at 7-11 you would find some “extra” minutes).  It feels like it will be too hard.  What if we can make it feel easy!  Winner!!

The voice in your head

Your biggest obstacle to finding more parasympathetic goodness and feeling better is YOU!   It’s that voice in your head that spounts off all the words of judgement, punishment, guilt-trips and warnings that have your brain thinking there really is a bear chasing you and you can’t rest. By the way – when you are being chased by a bear – in real life or just in your mind, you will make snap judgements.   Fleeing from a bear? The comfort of apple pie is worth it!   Sky is falling?  Not the time to go for a stroll.  Judge bringing down a hammer?  Unlikely you will act in your best interest.

So it obviously requires some change on your part.  Let’s start with something easy and simple –  that is always the best way – right?  So the voice in your head has a VERY hard time competing with images.  When your brain is imagining a sandy beach, the voice in your head gets distracted “oooh, that sunset it beautiful”.  We can use this to our advantage!  In just two simple steps.

Step 1: Notice you are in 911

When you are feeling stressed, your shoulders are up around your ears and it seems like there is no way out.  Stop. Take a deep breath.  Look around and see if there are any bears, cliffs, oncoming cars or other physical threats.  If not, pay attention to your thoughts. What is the voice in your head telling you?  Stop a minute and listen.

Not too hard to do that – right?  Just pay a bit of attention.  If you notice a ball roll into the street and see a child you stop your car.  Not a lot of effort to prepare for that.  If you notice the weather change, you grab a sweater or switch to shorts.  Again – no PhD required.  If you notice your 911 system in full force, mentally pull over to the side of the road and let it pass. Do not, I repeat do not, hop on the ambulance!!!!

Step 2: Pick a picture

Since the voice in your head loves words, no sense in piling any more into the mix.  It will just stress you out more.  Instead use one of these 6 cues and take a little mental vacation.  Just picture it in your head and feel it with your senses.   Your mind won’t know the difference and it will believe you are in the best place to rebuild, relax, restore and rejuvenate.  Just take a few deep breaths, give yourself permission (because this is GOOD for you), and let your senses feel what’s in your mind’s eye.  It can be from a previous experience or something you imagine in your future.  See it, smell it, taste it, sense it, hear it, experience it.  Again – your brain doesn’t know the difference and your body gets the benefit.

  1. Love – imagine being held by someone who is safe, enjoy the security, the warmth and the acceptance
  2. Joy – imagine when you were ultimately surprised and excited, when it just happened out of the blue and you had no time to consider the why or how
  3. Peace – imagine when you  were relaxed, secure and calm – perhaps holding a baby or a pet – perhaps a moment in nature
  4. Happiness – imagine a time when life was effortless and everything was going your way – you were in the flow – allow a smile to grace your lips
  5. Health – imagine and remember how your body felt when you were a child, or another time when you felt stable and able
  6. Belief – imagine all the possibilities, the truest and wisest part of your self that is hidden under obligations, expectations and fears.  Be inspired by them on your mind’s movie screen

 

Enjoy and Allow

All that stands between you and feeling a WHOLE LOT BETTER is your permission to do this.  When you spend some time in a parasympathetic state you will gift yourself with calm, better decisions, better choices, more energy, more tolerance, more patience, more creativity, more possibility, and more freedom.  It’s free.  It feels good.  It’s totally within your control.  It gets easier the more you do it.

Actually just by reading this blog post, something inside you has shifted and you will be a just a bit more aware the next time you slip into 911 mode.  When you are just a bit more aware, you notice a bit more.  When you notice a bit more, you see things more clearly.  When you see things more clearly, you make new choices.  Choices made from clarity are always better than choices made in haste or out of fear.

What do you know?  You have already started!  Take a deep breath and imagine a big “High 5” from me!  Feel it?  Way to go!  ?

You got this!  Let me know how you enjoyed your mental vacation!

Aloha diabuddy!

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

 

Need more?  It’s all in my 5 Step Program – just watch the video and learn the lessons!  Mention this blog and I’ll throw in a free zoom coaching session when you purchase the 5 Step Program!

The post Want Better Diabetes? Try these 6 things! appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Go Red for Heart Month

In February we turn our attention to our heart health.  Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans and diabetes increases your risk.  In keeping with my holistic view of how the body works, I thought I would frame the heart into the three parts of the self – body, mind and spirit.  Both the heart and the color red have meanings in all three realms.  Let’s take a look.

Red Heart of the Body

In our physical body the color red represents two very opposing concepts.  1) The red of healthy, well-oxygenated blood flowing through blood vessels bringing life giving oxygen, nutrition and immunity to all cells in the body.  The heart is the central organ insuring that blood flows to each and every cell in  your body.  The physical body has a rosy glow when it is happy, well-fed and well-oxygenated.

Red is also the color of inflammation.  Tissues that are injured, irritated or infected appear reddened and swollen.   It is a chronic inflammatory state of our cardiovascular system that is a precursor to heart disease.  Inflammation in the blood vessels disrupts blood flow, roughens up the lining of blood vessels and creates conditions where blockages become more prevalent.   When blood flow is impaired the tissues and organs supplied by the damaged vessels suffer as a result.

Red Heart of the Mind

In our mental self, red again has two opposing meanings.  We have the red of love, flowing from the heart, connecting individuals and creating feelings of acceptance, safety and kindness.  It’s no coincidence that Heart Month is in the same month as Valentines Day.  It’s the time to celebrate our connections to those we love and build bridges where love may be absent.  There is no greater healer than to feel loved and accepted just as you are.

But if you have watched the movie Inside Out, you might recall that red is also the color of Anger.  We use the color to describe different levels of anger or danger; “red hot”, “seeing red”, “red flag” or “red alert”. Much like inflammation of the mind, anger is an inflammatory state of your internal world.

Psychologist Tara Brock states that anger is always about an unmet inner need.  Things like a need to feel safe, a need to be seen, a need to belong or a need to be respected. If you feel a person or situation is preventing you from meeting a need, anger will show up.  Anger creates and uses a LOT of energy.  It can motivate you to action or drain you when not satisfied.

When your inner red of love isn’t met, the result is often the outer red of anger.

Red Heart of the Spirit

When I speak of spirit,  it is the most pure essence of your uniqueness,  and it is the vast connectedness of the universe.   The red of your spirit can be thought of as your passions, the pull that moves your towards your destiny and the creativity that burns in the deepest parts of you.  Who knows from where your passions come, but they give you power and vitality.  They allow you to be free to create and move into the unknown and supply you with unlimited energy that burns from within.

Not surprisingly there is a contrasting red of the spirit.  It is your root chakra represented by the color red and located at the base of your torso and spine.  The energy of the root chakra keeps you grounded, connects you deeply to mother earth and is solid and stable.   It represents safety, your basic needs and your sense of trust. It is

Red of Diabetes

Each of these aspects of self describe the dichotomy and opposing forces of diabetes.  The desire to have a healthy body, with the reality that our imperfect blood sugar control puts us at risk for cardiac disease.  The desire for love and acceptance, in a world where we can feel cheated, misunderstood and afraid.  The desire to pursue your dreams and passions, tempered by the necessity of safety and stability of your food, medicine and technology.

If we take a lesson from nature, we are reminded that these conditions can exist in balance. Each of these states have purpose, there is a rhythm and a flow from one to the next.  The key is to allow the transition, notice when we get too fixed in any single stage and move through it.  You body will have periods of health and illness.  Your emotions will flow from love to anger.  Your spirit may soar to great heights or root deeply at its core.

Diabetes is woven into the fabric of ourselves and our lives.  Not just our bodies, but our minds (emotions, thoughts and feelings) and our spirits (passion, purpose, beliefs).  Each part of our “self” plays a vital role and a “Better Diabetes Life” requires attention to each part of us.   We are more than just glucose readings.

As I send this post on Valentine’s Day, I hope each of your safe passage through whatever season this finds your in.  Notice which red heart of your body/mind/spirit is beating and tend to it accordingly.   It is in this self-care that you will find true healing.

Be Well,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

PS – Not sure how to get started?  My 5 Step Program can help you improve how you care for your diabetes and your “self”.

The post Red for Heart Month – 3 Lessons from the Color Red appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Happy New Year!

Great to connect with you as always! I hope you enjoyed your holidays.  If you are like me, they looked a bit different this year.  I assume 2021 might be a bit different as well, so I want to offer you some new some strategies that offer a New Way for the New Year!

Several years ago, I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions.  It seemed all the big changes I wanted to do never came to fruition and I “failed” within a few weeks.  Failed to be this perfect version of myself – thinner, better, happier, and more accomplished.  This method of vowing to change my behavior seemed self-defeating and wasn’t really helpful in making changes stick.

Luckily, I found a better alternative.  I started on focusing on how I wanted to “BE” instead of what I wanted to “DO”.  That mindset influenced many aspects of my day – not just the end result of a specific goal.  It was ever-present throughout my endeavors.  A new thing I was striving for, that didn’t have a set “end point’, so I could constantly change in the direction I wanted to go.

Through my coaches training, I have learned that lasting changes start within. When you change your inner dialog and beliefs, changes in the outer stuff (actions) are a natural consequence.  The way you are inside, shows up in your behaviors, choices, and actions – the things you “do”.  There is much more success to be found in moving towards how you want to be (can always improve) versus something you want to do (single point of failure).

Previous words

Looking back, I see the impact of these words on my life and what actually happened. And they stayed with me well beyond February of each year and to some extent still are playing out each day. (click the words to see my previous posts)

  • Authentic – 2018 was the first full year of building my company, my platform, and my brand.  Focusing on being my most authentic self helped me to stay grounded and in line with my gifts and talents.  It also made doubt take a back seat – if you are really being an authentic version of you, you can’t be wrong – right?
  • Intentional – in 2019 I was in studio recording my 5 Step Program and it was waaaaay out of my comfort zone.  Being intentional about each step in the process created a framework that allowed me to focus on the plan I had laid out.  Since I made the plan, I was in charge –  which spurred me onwards!  It reminds me of Dory in Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming!”
  • Receptive – 2020 was a wheels off year to be sure!  My goal with being receptive was to unashamedly accept all that God had for me.   I hoped it would help me with a belief of lack I sometimes create for myself, but what it gave me was challenges I had to overcome.  Life is ironic that way.  It gives you lessons through hardship.  What I received was the gift of clarity about who was (and wasn’t) in my corner and illuminated some things I needed to resolve.

My Word for 2021

My word for 2021 is “diligent”  (adjective) “constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything”.  A bit more searching shows its root is in the Old French word “diligens” from Latin which can mean tolove, take delight in’.

To me, it represents not only being intentional (doing something on purpose) but ratchets it up a notch by adding constant effort – relentless pursuit. And if we add in its Latin root, we get a healthy dose of fun!

So, for 2021 – I want to add a layer of dedication, determination, and fun to my year.  I like how that sounds (and feels on the inside!)

How to Really Make Changes

I would be remiss to not speak a bit about change in this New Year’s Blog.  That’s what we all want – right?  Change.  Something new and better than what we have right now.   Fortunately, change is not as random as we think.  It’s a well-defined process, but we are often too anxious to get to the “doing” part which is how we mess it all up!

James Prochaska is an American Psychologist who has done extensive work in change theory.   He’s a smart guy and has great insights!  He defined 6 steps that a person experiences when considering a change. You may not even realize you are doing most of these steps so, but they all actually happen.

Without doing a dissertation on his concepts, let me point out a few key ideas:

  • If you don’t even know you want to change or have no intention of changing, you won’t.  You are stuck in Stage 1.  Figure this out before you try anything.
  • Thinking about it  – Stage 2 –  should consume most of your time/energy. This is the part where you consider your options.  Determine what you are and aren’t willing to do.  Figure out what else needs to change if you add/remove something from your life.  Don’t leave a void.  Don’t proceed until you have clarity
  • When you are clear, then prepare for it –Stage 3Get everything ready without the fear of actually doing it.  Prep work is less scary!
  • Doing the actual thing you want to change happens in the 4th StageIf you jump straight into action without thinking and preparing, your chances of success go way down.  But once you are clear in your head and all the “to dos” are out of the way, you only need to be willing to do the first thing.
  • Stage 5 – Expect that you will have ups and downs and need to go back to other stages and rethink, reprepare and redo things.   This WILL happen.  When it does, congratulate yourself on being so smart and prepared.
  • Don’t worry about the last step – when/if you get there the change part is over.  (Spoiler alert – this is hard to come by with diabetes.  It could be a cure, but it can also be acceptance that this process is engrained in your life and you see the benefit)

New Way for a New Year

The big take away?  Change doesn’t happen in the “doing”, it happens in the thinking and getting ready and that takes EFFORT!    Your mindset is crucial.  That is why focusing on how you want to “be” is so helpful.  Your state of “being” is an internal state, that you can choose.  Yup – it takes work, but the payoffs are much greater.

When it comes to diabetes goals, perhaps you can

  • choose to be inquisitive -look for patterns and trends with your glucose levels
  • or maybe you choose to be attentive – pay attention to what your body needs (activity, nourishment)
  • or perhaps chose to be open to try something new (technology, food choice, coaching?!)
  • or to bold and ask unashamedly for what you need or want.

If you get a bit quiet, you have a word trying to bubble up and be heard.  Listen for it.  Don’t ignore it.  Write it down when you hear it.

And choose to “BE” that in 2021.  The results will amaze you!

Here’s to health and more fun in 2021!

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

Are you ready to make some changes?  Let me show you how.  One on one or with my self-paced program – both pathways will provide you with incredible coaching strategies that make change less of a struggle so you can do the things you want to!

Sign up for a free phone session HERE or check out my online 5 Step Program HERE

The post A New Way for the New Year appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

It’s National Diabetes Awareness Month!  A time to highlight the realities of living with diabetes and promote new and better ways to live long, healthy lives.  In the past year, I have seen coaching emerge as a key talking point in the diabetes arena, so I thought I would share some insights with you.

Diabetes Self Management

Diabetes self management continues to be a priority to better outcomes. The CDC promotes the use of evidenced based diabetes programs such as “Diabetes Self Management Education and Services” (DSMES).  These programs believe that individuals achieve far superior outcomes and health benefits when they are empowered with relevant diabetes information, support and tools.  There is ample research to prove self management works, but it’s also logical.  When you are better able to care for yourself, your “self” is better!

Most people living with diabetes spend very little time with a provider.   If we assume 4 doctor visits a year (30 minutes each) and 2 appointments with an educator (1 hour), you get about 4 hours of diabetes help each year.  The remaining 8754 hours we are doing diabetes on our own.  Making choices all day long, such as when to take meds, when to check blood sugar, when to be active, how much sleep to get, how much water to drink, what foods to buy and prepare, what to spend your money on (test strips or your kids trumpet lessons), is it safe to drive, is the red spot on your foot something to be concerned about, who to share your worries with, and on and on.

The CDC states that “Since on average a person with diabetes spends less than 1% of their life with their healthcare team accessing services12, the focus of DSMES is to help “the person with diabetes develop problem-solving skills and attain ongoing decision-making support necessary to self-manage diabetes.”11

The Realities of Diabetes Care

I think it’s important to note that it’s new life skills that improve diabetes management, not more doctor visits.   The truth is, you, are the only one who can feel what is going on inside you, know what you are willing to do (or not), and make decisions.   Those three little concepts add up to how well you manage your diabetes.

Unfortunately, research also shows that very few have the skills and support necessary to achieve their goals. This CDC report states that less than 6.8% of newly diagnosed people with diabetes get adequate DSMES.   Providers and educators tend to focus on the tactical aspects of managing diabetes (lab tests, medication, use of equipment & technology) and how food affects glucose levels.  This is mission critical information, but then the individual is left to their own existing coping skills to figure it all out.

Coaching is the next big thing

Industry reports and insurance agencies are looking to coaches as the conduit to effect lasting changes in the home.   This Harvard Health Blog states “Unlike health fads that come and go, health coaching has strong evidence behind it backing its effectiveness for improving health and well-being.”   It understands that traditional medicine looks for something that is “wrong” to fix, while coaching seeks to harness and leverage your personal strengths and address very specific-personal barriers.

Coaching is uniquely positioned to improve Diabetes Self Management because the goals are the same.  Working with individuals to understand what they need and implement personal strategies for lasting change.  Coaching turns “doctor’s orders” into healthy habits that are agreeable to the individual.  That “agreement” part is critical because it will take enormous effort to do things you don’t believe in or want to do.

Not everyone struggles with the same issues and coaching focuses on the most prominent barriers.  Just like sports coaching,  you must understand the talents and challenges of the player, agree on what areas they want to improve and then help the player improve his game – one swing or pitch or tackle at a time.  Then repeat.  You can never do it all at once or in a 15 minute visit.

Nurse coaching doubly effective

While health coaches and life coaches can be excellent resources to help individuals achieve specific goals, adding a nursing degree to the mix and a focus on Whole Person Care, take Diabetes Self Management to new levels.  Nurse coaching is a relatively new role in diabetes.  It seeks to promote optimal wellness for every person, not just “fixing” the diseased parts of a person.   With this approach, diabetes management becomes a system of identifying and understanding the needs of each individual and includes many facets of a person’s life.  Things like competing priorities (people deal with more than diabetes), financial limitations, support systems, educational needs, debilitating feelings such a shame, failure, and fear, pursuing passions, family obligations, career influences and so much more.  Diabetes is just one of your needs that “needs” attention.

Nurse coaching understands that people are people first and any path to wellness must start there.  Sure, we need to understand the medical side of diabetes, but it goes faaaarrrrr beyond diet and exercise.  Your lifestyle choices are the result of how you feel – about yourself, your options, your goals, your beliefs, your motivation, and your sense of possibilities.  Often, we need to start with what we believe is possible and then make a plan to get there.  Spoiler alert – what you believe is possible changes each time you achieve a new goal!!!

The bottom line is this: if your diabetes isn’t where you want it to be, perhaps it’s time to stop focusing on trying to be a better sick person and start focusing on ways to live your best life.  The latter always leads to more energy and wellness. And doesn’t that sound good?  If you aren’t sure how to get started – a nurse coach is a great person to help you find your way.

Peace and smiles always,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

PS – I offered a free 15 minute for people who downloaded my new eBook.  Since I already sent the book to you, I want to extend this offer to you as well.  Sessions are limited, so book your call now.  CLICK HERE  Let’s chat!

The post It’s a fact! Coaching is the next generation of diabetes care. appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

The answer to the question “Why can’t I change and do diabetes better?” is quite simple.  You are stuck in a rut and your approach is wrong.  (Don’t freak out!  It’s not that bad and I have some help! Take a deep breath and keep reading!)

Stuck in a Rut

“Well what does that even mean?”, you ask.  Simply, it means that you have forgotten your options.  You are doing the same things you have always done, sticking with what’s familiar, and telling yourself the same stories about why it’s impossible.  That doesn’t make you a bad person.  Quite the contrary, it makes you normal.  We all like comfortable and cozy.

But when what you have been doing is making you sick, sad or miserable, the truth is you really aren’t comfortable and cozy.  When you are sick, sad and miserable, you likely want anything that feels “better”.  Better mood, better luck, better circumstances, better blood sugars, better mojo…..better anything.

Finding Better

I have some good news and bad news.   Good news – something better is always possible.  Bad news it requires change and effort.   But it isn’t actually such bad news because being sick, sad and miserable also requires effort.  If you are going to put forth effort and struggle with something, I invite you to consider struggling with a change that lands you in the land of “Better”.

It’s likely you anticipate and expect enormous work to make a change.  It “feels” really big and difficult.  The truth is  you are changing every second of every day whether you mean to or not. Every social post you read changes you a bit.  Every success or failure changes you a bit.  Every relationship you have changes you a bit.  Every meal  you eat changes you a bit.  Every walk you take changes you a bit.  Every book you read changes you a bit.  Every conversation you have changes you a bit.

The Process of Change

Since you are already changing without thinking about it, consider what would happen if you think about it a little bit (not even a big bit).  You influence the change.  Think thoughts of how bad it is and you will find some bad news to live up to your expectations.  Conversely, some intentional thoughts about what you desire, also influence the direction of your change. Consider some new possibilities and churn up a bit of hope, and you might find some “better”.  Sounds stupidly easy.  Why can’t you “Just Do It!” like the Nike commercial says??

The reason it’s so hard is because you have been misguided.  Our medical modal is all about “action”.  Do this.  Change that.  Take this.  Lose that. Every doctor visit wraps up with a list of changes you “should” make – whether you agree, understand, know how or are ready.     Because your doctor “said so”, is the supposed reason to make the change.  Unfortunately this is THE WRONG way to make lasting changes.   People change when they are ready to change.

A Bit About Change

James Prochaska, a renowned American psychologist, introduced a model for change in the 70s.  It has been studied, refined and utilized very successfully to help people break addictions and adopt healthier behaviors.  It is a step-wise approach that allows people to make little, small adjustments in their thinking, warm up to the benefits of the change, begin to want the change, plan for a change they can agree to and then successfully make it happen – when they are ready.

The actual “action” or “doing” the thing, doesn’t happen until you have figured out A LOT. It’s not where you start!   The model helps individuals make small changes they agree with and find value in doing, so the effort doesn’t feel so daunting and the changes don’t feel so foreign.  It’s about getting your mind and your spirit ready, so your body becomes willing.

Stages of Change

So if you don’t start right away with “doing” something, where do you start? Glad you asked!  It starts with your beliefs, thoughts, ideas and perspectives  Here is how Prochaska’s model works (in my terms) with a diabetes spin.

  • Precontemplation (“not ready”).  I am fine how I am.  It’s not worth my time or effort to take care of diabetes.  If I die sooner, then that is how it is.
  • Contemplation (“getting ready”) – I know I should do better, but I don’t know where to start.  I feel like I am missing something, there has to be more than this.
  • Preparation (“ready”) – I need to make a doctor appointment.  I am looking online to see what other people are doing.  I will stock up on supplies and check my blood sugar more often.
  • Action – (“doing it”) – I am checking my blood sugar and keeping a journal.  I signed up for a class to learn how to count carbs.  I enrolled in an online coaching course.
  • Maintenance – (“almost a habit”) – It doesn’t seem like such an effort now.  I am getting the hang of this.  I see the benefits of my actions.  Oops forgot to test, need to get back on track.
  • Termination – (“why did I ever think this was hard?”)  I could never imagine not checking my blood sugar every day.  I count carbs without even thinking about it.  This behavior is now my normal.

If you are in Step 1 (Precontemplation) and your doctor tells you to change your diet (Step 4), it makes sense that you aren’t ready and it will be HARD!.  It’s likely it will take some time and a few tricks to get you moving through these stages.

A Tip to Get Started

I have found the fastest and easiest way to get out of a rut, is to tap into your curiosity.  Curiosity is wonderful because there is no commitment, no right or wrong, and no judgement.  You get to just “wonder” and see what comes to mind.  If you are not even thinking about change (stage1)  but wonder “what’s possible?” – you might pick up your phone and google something.  And in doing so get some new info that resonates with you.   If you are thinking about change (stage 2) and wonder “what are other people doing” – you might get on a FB group or ask a friend.  And so it goes.

If you are curious and not finding anything that peaks your interest, there are other strategies that can help.   But what I want you to take away from this post is that it’s a process you must work through to make changes.   And just being told to do something, isn’t enough.  It’s a recipe for failure.  There is work to do – mostly in your own mind – that will make your effort towards change pay off.  What stage are you in???  Let me know!   You can comment here or email me at patricia@betterdiabeteslife.com

Take care my diabuddies!  I am here for you.

Peace and blessings,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

The post Question: Why Can’t I Change and Do Diabetes Better? appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker
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Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by your health issues?   Do you feel like your doctor just doesn't understand YOU and what you must deal with?  Would you like some direction and clarity about how to manage it all?

I CAN HELP!

I am a registered nurse and board certified nurse coach. What does that mean?  I can help you untangle the confusion of your medical care AND help you find ways to manage it all!

I am offering 50 minute sessions on zoom or telephone to help you work through something that is really bugging you.   In one hour everything can change!

Life always has options, but often you need fresh set of eyes and a little expertise to help you get moving.

 

You can schedule your session by clicking this LINK!

 

Take a breath, think about it and then do something good for yourself!   You deserve it!

Want to learn more about me?  Visit my website: BetterDiabetesLife.com