August 13, 2014

Stop Your Diabetes Self-Sabotage

This must be human nature or it wouldn't happen with such regularity. We all know what to do and do it right, but this self-defeating, self-sabotaging behavior wouldn't happen or happen so often. It’s important to recognize the early signs of self-sabotage: procrastination, self-defeating behavior, fear, and perfectionism. If you do, you can pick yourself up and put yourself on the right behavior before doing any damage, right?

Yet, about once a week, I do receive an email from someone that is in denial, has allowed themselves a holiday, and are having problems getting back on the correct management path.

Procrastination This bad behavior seems to rear its ugly head quite frequently, even for me. I catch myself wanting to put something off for another day or two when I know better. No, this does not happen with my medications, but mainly with poor eating habits.

Mine happens after days I want to treat myself for something that has been going great, but the treat is still there and I want to have it the second day and a few more days. I have eliminated the cake that I make myself from scratch, but when rhubarb is in season, I have a crustless rhubarb pie that I have loved over the years and I love the taste. I have tried making it with stevia and other sweeteners, but the taste is not the same as using sugar. Watermelon is the other treat and I am not talking the tasteless seed free variety.

Self-Defeating Behaviors If you are feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of your battles with diabetes, you may find yourself overeating or skipping you exercise. Many of us encounter mild depression and burnout from our daily diabetes duties. This is when we can fall to unhealthy behaviors and sabotaging good diabetes management.

When this happens, we need to force ourselves to make healthier choices. Since I don't drink coffee, I have no temptations there. I love my water and diet caffeine free coke, but there are times that regular coke would taste good. I don't keep that around just to eliminate that temptation.

That is why it is necessary to purchase watermelon halves instead of a full watermelon. This is one time that I do love eating and I have to be very careful and keep the quantity within reason. And with good watermelon, the temptation is there.

Fear Don't let nagging doubts build as they create more serious health problems if these doubts go unrecognized, they can get in the way of action. When we start to consistently doubt ourselves, this is not a good thing. We need to acknowledge our fears and how they hold us back from acting in a positive manner.

This is a good time for us to reach out to people we know will be supportive. A simple text, email, or phone call can distract us from our negative feelings. The person can be a member of a support group – this helps me and we all support each other. We know they will be there for us when we need the positive support.

Another tactic is positive self-talk. At the end of the day (or in a particularly bad moment) remind yourself of recent accomplishments -- then give yourself a pat on the back. All you need is to remove your focus long enough for your fear to fade.

Perfectionism This is my worst enemy and I do get very frustrated when I don't achieve my goals as fast as I want. According to the article, this can contribute very easily to self-sabotaging behaviors.

A team of experts at Joslin Diabetes Center claim the best strategy is to have long-term goals so realistic that failure is erased. Biting off bigger goals that are difficult to achieve is not realistic. Practicing patience is better than setting unachievable goals. Working with your health care team setting out small, attainable goals is desirable. After success with one goal, move to the next. This method leads to building one success on top of another.

Now for the positive side. This is not an easy task, but in general, it has served me in most situations and definitely has reduced the self-sabotage for me. This is developing a positive attitude and practicing this on a daily basis. This does not mean that there is no place for anger if it is directed properly and then when the anger is over, get back into the positive.

1 comment:

Denise @ Do you have that in my size??? said...

Great post, Bob - I can relate to every single item you mentioned, particularly the "if a little splurge of this thing is good then why not keep eating it" thinking. One ounce of dark chocolate is OK for an occasional treat but it became a nightly ritual for me and that has been part of my recent weight regain, so I'm addressing it now. The final point about getting angry and then letting the anger go in favor of making positive changes in response definitely resonates with me today, so thanks for sharing!