Making changes to your health or the health of a loved one can present a number of barriers. You or your loved one may encounter roadblocks to reaching a weight management goal or adopting a new eating regimen for diabetes. Here are 4 common barriers, as well as strategies to overcome them.
- You are told you need to make a change. Find something positive from the change. We often times hear everything happens for a reason. What is something positive that can be drawn from a change in your health or the health of a loved one? Can this health change be a driver to increase motivation in an area where you or your loved one have become stagnant? Will this change help you grow as an individual? Once we view the change as positive, we are more likely to be successful in seeing positive change occur in managing a newly diagnosed disease or reaching our new weight management goal. Offer positive support to loved ones instead of a negative lecture in all the reasons change is important. Look internally and determine what makes this change most important to you or discuss with your loved one what makes the change most important to them.
- You are not sure where to begin with all the information out there. Do your own research after speaking with a qualified health professional. Discuss with your primary care doctor or a qualified health professional where and how to find evidence-based information. Once you have completed your own research, set up a time to develop and review your own customized plan that will work best for you. Consider expanding your health care team to include a Registered Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist, Endocrinologist, or another qualified health professional to make this change successful.
- You are not sure how to begin. Break up your change into more manageable steps. Often times a change can feel overwhelming at first, but by breaking up each step change becomes easier and more realistic. You are the expert in yourself, so determine what changes sound most intriguing to you. Find something you look forward to or already know you enjoy. Change is much more manageable when it is something you look forward to. Consider making new meals with friends, signing up for a cooking class, researching new ways to prepare some of your favorite meals, moving for 15 minutes in your own neighborhood or home, or looking up one new area to change once a week.
- You or your loved one does not feel heard. Be there and be present. Whether you are providing support to a loved one or overcoming your own obstacle, be an involved member. Attend a support group or join a loved one at a support group or doctor appointment. Make a list of questions ahead of time for appointments. Be observant to changes in your body and really in tune with if those changes you are making are right changes for you. It is ok to adjust your plan once you have started if something is not working right for you. You may find exercising four times a week is not realistic or the time you selected your work out is resulting in too many low blood sugar readings. Make changes by adjusting how often and when you move.
Key factors in providing quality support and addressing barriers are focusing on the positive, research evidence-based information with the assistance of a qualified health professional, create your own customized plan, break change up into manageable steps, and be present in your or your own loved one’s care.