We see it time and time again in our work — people telling us they can’t make changes to their lives because they don’t have time, resources or energy to devote. When we ask questions to learn more, we see that people often devote more resources to others in their lives rather than themselves. The idea of changing this by spending time and energy on themselves makes them uncomfortable, upset or defensive. They are worried about looking selfish, about making people in their lives angry at this change. In reality, each one of us is the only person who can change our own life — we’re the only ones with the power, responsibility and ability to do that.
Our Diabetes Prevention Program, led by Lifestyle Coach Georgette Jones, spends a lot of time with participants to get them to see the value in thinking about themselves and understanding how important it is to take steps to improve their lives and their health. Often, people are worried about how their family will react to change, but later find that they actually serve as an inspiration for those close to them. Those who support them are typically happy to see them make improvements to their health and sometimes follow their example. Changes to what people eat can often be subtle enough that family members don’t notice or mind, and boosting physical activity translates to less stress and improved moods. Research shows that improving your health has exponential benefits, to both you and the people around you.
“Self-care is self-love,” Jones said. “People need to understand that it’s okay to take care of yourself.”
For those who need guidance on how to do this, Cayuga Community Health Network is launching its spring Diabetes Prevention Program for people who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This lifestyle change program uses a proven curriculum, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to guide people through making changes. These changes in eating habits and physical activity lead to a reduction in risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Specifically, most past participants achieve their goal of losing 5-7 percent of their starting body weight, with many lowering of their A1c level, blood pressure, cholesterol and some reducing medication usage. We’ve even seen some participants report similar changes with their family members because of changes they’ve made at home.
As people give of themselves to their families, coworkers, friends and community members, we encourage people to remember themselves and their needs. Studies show time and time again the value in self-care, including improved physical and emotional health, less stress, better sleep, improved relationships and better productivity. Often people confuse selflessness with the idea of always keeping yourself last.
The Diabetes Prevention Program works with participants on reducing stress and finding the strength to say no to prevent overextending yourself. Chronic stress is a toxic condition with a connection to the development of type 2 diabetes and other health concerns. Although all of us have stress some of the time, chronic stress is not a natural state. This program aims to be interactive, creating a supportive social environment in which people will learn from each other and share their challenges.
The program also explores better eating and physical activity, especially for those who aren’t sure how to make those changes for the better.
Diabetes Prevention Program runs for a total of 26 sessions, with the first 16 sessions happening for one hour weekly, and the sessions reduce down to bi-weekly, then monthly.
Still not sure if it’s for you? People can attend our introductory session to learn more about the program from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at East Hill Family Medical in Auburn. Or, learn more on our website at www.cayugahealthnetwork.org or reach out to Georgette Jones at (315) 252-4212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.