By Hope Warshaw, RD, CDE, BC-ADM
With the New Year upon us, you may be contemplating making lifestyle changes to live healthier and take better care of your type 2 diabetes. That’s terrific – however, as you choose the changes you want to make in the year ahead don’t try to change too much too quickly. That can be overwhelming and feel like a lot of work. Instead, focus on one step at a time to ensure the changes you make will stick long term.
As you know all too well, changing your eating habits and food choices is challenging, and so is trying to increase your physical activity. Add in taking care of type 2 diabetes and there’s even greater complexity. There’s a lot you have to manage – making sure you have the right types of foods on hand, preparing wholesome meals, fitting exercise into your daily routine, taking medications, and monitoring blood glucose levels just to name a few. And that’s all in addition to your regularly scheduled life! As a Diabetes Educator, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to take a slow and steady approach to making lifestyle changes. This approach typically wins out.
AstraZeneca’s Fit2Me™ diet and lifestyle support program may be just the tool to put into action to help you be successful with your New Year’s resolutions. Fit2Me is a free, online program that allows you to create a customized plan, personalized based on your likes and dislikes, focused on four key areas: food, activity, support team and treatment support. Check out these five ways Fit2Me can support your resolutions for this year and beyond:
1. Take time to preplan. Fit2Me helps you take steps to do the all-important preplanning, which is key to making successful lifestyle changes. Put Fit2Me to work for you to help plan your meals and activities, all based on your own personal preferences. Once you create your weekly plan in the tool, Fit2Me will even give you options to make “trade-offs” between the activities you need to do based on the number of calories in the foods you select for the weekly plan.
2. Experiment in the kitchen. Trying new foods can seem overwhelming, but with 10,000+ recipes you’re sure to find something you’ll love. Use Fit2Me to select the ingredients you like in order to find countless healthy meals you can make and look forward to eating. Eating more healthfully doesn’t mean you have to give up the types of foods you love – it’s all about eating more of this and less of that.
3. Challenge yourself to new and fun activities. Starting a new routine can be hard, but when you discover new activities that you enjoy, you may even look forward to exercising. Soon enough being active will become a habit that you enjoy incorporating into your daily routine. The trick is finding something fun – let Fit2Me help you. Explore the 500+ activities to find the right ones for you.
4. Build your support system. Build a team of family, friends and healthcare providers around you that can help support your efforts to solidify new healthy behaviors. Team up with a friend or family member looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Share your goals with them – the more you loop them in, the more opportunities they’ll have to encourage you. For additional support work with one of the Fit2Me digital coaches to help keep you on track and celebrate your successes along the way.
5. Track to stay focused. Working toward health goals while balancing the demands of type 2 diabetes can be challenging. To help you stay focused and motivated in the year ahead, use Fit2Me for tracking. It allows you to track your personal health goals, the results of your tests and checks, like your A1C, and to set reminders of your medical appointments – all in one place.
Step by step, one by one, give these five tips a try and let Fit2Me help you along the way. No matter what your specific goals are for the New Year, the key to success is to start off with small and steady changes. Strive to create habits around choosing healthier foods, eating smaller portions of less healthy foods and larger portions of healthier foods (yes, fruit and vegetables!). Plus, be more active. Over time – and with repeated practice – your new, healthier behaviors will become automatic. You’ll reach a point where making the healthier choice WILL be the easier choice.
About Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE
Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, is a dietitian, diabetes educator and freelance writer based in Northern Virginia. Warshaw is the author of numerous books published by American Diabetes Association including Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy and Eat Out Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant.