What are the first steps to take after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?

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In my last blog post, I shared one of the common questions I get from patients when they are first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, “How did I get diabetes?”.

One of the reasons I became so passionate about teaching patients and clients to live healthy lives with type 2 diabetes was because of the reaction I got when I told a patient they had type 2 diabetes.

Naturally, a lot of my patients expressed their dismay. However, what I noticed was some people instantly focused on the complications they could get from diabetes, instead of how they could go on living healthy lives. I realized this may have been because this was the only side of diabetes they had ever seen. Perhaps it those people with the complications had been their friends, colleagues, relatives, people in their community etc.

And so, I made it my mission to create a shift in the beliefs people had around being diagnosed with diabetes. With time, I found that I was able to engaged my patients in focusing on how to live healthy lives.

I was excited to see this. I also realized I was sharing the same kind of information that was getting my patients motivated. 

And so that is what motivated me to write my award-winning book, “Dr. Eno’s A-to-Z Guide to Thriving with Type 2 Diabetes”.

Maybe you are like one of my patients and your healthcare provider has just diagnosed you with type 2 diabetes and sent you on your way. You are feeling overwhelmed and you have no idea where to start.

Here are some steps you can take:

Step 1- Normalize your emotions

Yes, it’s important to not let your emotions run wild. Being diagnosed with diabetes or any other chronic illness can be a life altering experience. But you do not need to let it overwhelm you. First, take a step back and deal with the overwhelm. In an earlier blog article, I went into detail about how to deal with overwhelm so that it does not become overpowering. Click here to read the full article.

Step 2- Focus on the ABCs

Once we get over the shock of a life altering diagnosis, most of us want to try to want to fix it right away. In other words, we want to get straight into action. But if we want to be successful, we need to focus on what I call the ABCs of living with any chronic illness.

The ABCs is an acronym which stands for

  1. Acceptance
  2. Belief
  3. Commitment to change.

It is important that you are aware of your ABCs before you start to get into action.

Do you accept that you have type 2 diabetes? I mean face on?  Do you know have limiting beliefs around living with a chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes? Are you like a lot of my patients who instantly went from diagnosis to complications? Perhaps you know you need to make changes, but do you know there are several stages of change? Do you know what stage of change you are and what you need to do to move forward?

Click on this link to download for FREE, the first three chapters of my award-winning book.

Step 3- Focus on taking simple small steps

You’ve gotten past the initial shock and overwhelm. You’re familiar with your ABCs and the role they will play as you set out to make healthy lifestyle choices. Now you’re going to get into action. There’s one thing you need to be aware of though. We are creatures of habit. And if we try to offset the status quo, this new change sends an alarm signal to an area in the brain called the amygdala.

The amygdala is part of our primitive brain. That’s the part of the brain that is not involved in intellectual functions such as language formation, creativity or thinking. The primitive brain functions on actions related to the survival of our species and dates back to pre-historic time. The amygdala can get stimulated by fear. So, when we decide we are going to make HUGE changes, the amygdala gets triggered and it makes us stop that new thing and go back to what is familiar.

Think about a time you’ve made a major decision that involved some change. Was it easy? Or did you have a feeling of uncertainty and found yourself going back and forth about whether or not to proceed with the change? That was probably your amygdala getting fired off.

The same thing when it comes to making changes to your lifestyle when living with diabetes. You do not want to make too many changes all at once.

Start with simple small changes that are barely noticeable.

Work with someone in your support or buddy system. Create a list of say three simple things you would like to change. Notice the small number we started with.

For example, rather than say you are going to cut out all soda drinks immediately, how about working on decreasing the amount of soda you drink by say one serving every 1-3 days?

If you are not accustomed to exercise, start by for example walking for only 5 minutes. And that may also mean walking in place.

Now the great thing about simple small steps is you can build on your success. In time you’ll look back and realize you have taken large steps.

Step 4- Build in accountability team

Being held accountable for the changes you commit to helps to create results. Remember that in order to THRIVE with type 2 diabetes or any other chronic illness, over time you are going to do a lot of things differently. The reality is that it’s not always going to be smooth sailing. We may encounter bumps on the road that may challenge our resolve and even our belief in ourselves.  Building in an accountability team can help keep you on track.

Your team does not have to be complicated. But the members of your team must be people willing to support you in making those lifestyle changes.

For instance, you could have an accountability partner you check in with to make sure you have reached your weekly exercise and movement goals. Another one who helps you make sure you’re planning your meals. Another who helps you track your blood sugars etc.

Your accountability team needs to fit your needs.

Step 5- Consider joining a group coaching program

I believe that there is a lot of power in groups. Groups bring people who have things in common together and helps them move forward toward a common goal. Groups help people to produce powerful results.

By joining a group coaching program, you will not only be held accountable, but you will also get to work through different aspects of diabetes care. Group coaching programs will help you become more empowered around the choices you make.

If you have ever wondered about how a diabetes group could help you, I invite you to join my THRIVE group coaching program.

To get started, simply send me an email at info@doctoreno.com and we will be glad to send you a link to schedule a FREE no-obligation 20 minute consultation which will help us determine if this is a fit for you.

If you would like to learn about our services, please click here.

To your health and wellbeing,