Bob Greene: Find Your Motivation With Diabetes

Oprah’s personal trainer shares how to overcome the emotional and physical stumbling blocks that stand between you and getting a tight grip on your diabetes.

Bonnie Siegler with Stephanie Guzowski
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Get real. There’s a reason it’s hard to ditch bad-for-you favorites overnight: “We’re naturally wired to avoid discomfort and seek pleasure,” says Bob. So, give yourself a break. Instead of radically changing your entire diet, try phasing in healthier foods a little at a time. And don’t pin all your success on seeing major pounds drop: Celebrate if you can add a half mile to your walks, or add 10 more pounds to your dumbbell or tighten your belt another notch. Those short-term wins will add up to huge victories over time.

Keep your eye on the prize(s).
Identify and focus on your ultimate targets. Draw a circle and divide it into at least six sections, listing important areas in your life: Friends, family, career, health, fitness, romance, finance, relationships, etc. Next, be brutally honest with how things are going in each area. What steps can you take to improve? “Make a commitment to change because you care about yourself,” says Bob, “not to lose 15 pounds.”

Stay off the scale. You may be eager to see your progress, but “stay off the scale for the first month to six weeks,” suggests Bob. That’s because the scale can give you an inaccurate idea of what’s happening: You may have lost only water weight, or you might become discouraged that you haven’t lost as much as you’d hoped. Need feedback? Focus on how your clothes fit, or your increased strength and endurance. Instead of setting out to lose 20 or 30 pounds, approach your workouts by saying, “I want a better life and I’m going to make this investment in myself every day.”

Find your perfect exercise. Forcing yourself to stick with an activity you dread is a guaranteed motivation killer, so try different workouts until you find the right one for you, even if it’s something you don’t normally think of as exercise, like dancing. And to really take your workout to the next level, add some aerobics: People with type 2 diabetes who do both resistance and aerobic exercises achieve better blood sugar control than folks who do only one, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

April 2013