This Valentine's Day, take some time to love yourself by recommitting to your health. Here are some tips from diabetes educator Timika Chambers to help. 

We are more than a month past the beginning of this new year and renewed commitments to be a healthier version of ourselves. If you are one of the 75% of people who struggle with staying committed to new year goals, let Valentine's Day be the day you recommit your love not only to others but to yourself. I am not just talking about buying yourself some chocolates or making your favorite chocolate treat. How about thinking of ways you can show love to yourself for the rest of the month and years to come? 

Many people, including people with diabetes (PWD), have a love-hate relationship with food. When we are angry, sad, or need a pick me up, we often go to a bag of chips, cookies, cakes, ice cream and devour way more than one serving size of that product. Often, food is the go-to when we want to cope with stress. We may think we are hungry for food when, in fact, we may be hungry to express our emotions. I remember a time when I just grabbed what I wanted to eat and paid no attention to the serving sizes. Many of us let our eyes guide us and fill our stomachs until we experience discomfort or the urge to lay down and take a nap. 

Many PWD have expressed to me that someone told them to stop eating certain foods like bread, rice, cakes, cookies, fruits, and others. Others have said they chose to give up many of their favorite foods. Anger, regret, and resentment take up residence in their minds. I have seen and heard many sighs of relief after discussing the option of being a detective or student of their health. 

When you think of all the cards, chocolate, and candy that you might buy over the next several days, remember that you are the common denominator of all that you give. No one can express your love the way you do. 

4 ways you can re-commit to yourself this Valentine's Day.

  1. Find something to express gratitude daily, and as soon as you can. In every complaint, there is a reason to express gratefulness. You may be grateful for having your fingers to test your blood sugar or being able to afford your testing supplies. The more grateful we are of things, the more we tend to take care of it. 

  2. Assess the last 30 days of your health goal. What can you fine-tune or change to have more consistent behaviors? What do you need to learn? What limitations have you placed on yourself, and why?

  3. When you feel the desire to eat something sugary, sit down with a paper, pencil, and a glass of water, and write your thoughts down. If you prefer drawing or painting, do so. Instead of stuffing food in, aim for an outward expression of yourself. Your thoughts and words are valuable. 

  4. Understand the link between your experiences and emotions. If you choose to write your thoughts, ask an open-ended question to dig deeper into what is going on.

    1. What emotions am I feeling?

    2. Why do I feel the way I do?

    3. How can I safely express what I am feeling?

    4. How did I contribute to how I am feeling? 

  5. Reclaim your goal to be healthy in 2020. The year just started.

How are you staying committed to your 2020 health goals?

To Your Best Health & Life. 

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