The Sandwich GenerationI was rushing to finish a typing job and quickly munching my way through a box of sugar-free cookies. At the same time, I was trying frantically to cut down on interruptions from my grandchildren, Jett, 5, and Melody, 6, so I could make my doctor's appointment. It wasn't easy.
During the doctor's visit, I was shocked to find out that my diabetes medications were not doing the job they used to do. I guess I thought that all I had to do was pop a few pills and all would be fine. But in this visit, my doctor talked to me about my last A1c of 8.9 percent. He said that unless I committed to making lifestyle changes, I would need to start taking insulin injections soon. I asked what I could do. He referred me to a diabetes educator to work on a plan for my diabetes self-care.
Some days I feel like the bologna in a generational sandwich. My 81-year-old mother has needs and I'm helping to care for my grandchildren. Whoever calls these the "golden years" hasn't walked in my shoes. I feel tired morning, noon and night. I don't take the time to think about what I eat, and I avoid checking my blood glucose because I don't like the numbers I see. But that day I wondered: If I don't take care of myself, who will?
The diabetes educator suggested that I start with a few simple changes. We also discussed how all of this was impacting my grandchildren. Not only do I want to be around for them, I want them to be healthy, too! Visions of chomping on the entire box of sugar-free cookies — and teaching my grandchildren bad habits — made me cringe.
Exercise? Not much recently, except picking up toys. But what I learned that day made me want to change. I plan to enjoy Jett and Melody for a long time.
Some of you may identify with Fran and her barriers to being active and eating more nutritiously. She wanted to do things differently. This is the first important step of a new journey for Fran — and for you.
Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (for people with diabetes)
How About You?
Why are you participating in The Heart of Diabetes Reach Your Goals Guide? Write down the benefits of being physically active and eating healthfully. Is having more energy one of them? List the major reasons you haven't become more physically active. If you're unsure, take another look at Fran's story.
Benefits that are most important to me:
Barriers that are holding me back:
What helped you in the past?
Think back to a time when you felt better, had more energy or achieved something important to you. What did you do to achieve your goal? What choices did you make that helped you succeed? List a few of the success strategies that helped you achieve your goals.
My success strategies – what worked in the past:
Break your barriers!
Now, go back to your benefits and barriers list. Choose one or two of the success strategies that worked in the past. Use them this week to overcome barriers that have kept you from reaching your goals. Which ones will you try?
My success strategies to reach my goal:
Your activity log at the end of each chapter is your personal feedback tool. It will help you stay accountable. Look at it every day and write down or check off what you've done. People who record their activity are more likely to reach their goals.
At the end of the week, review your accomplishments. Get ready to feel good about yourself!
Start Date _____________________
This content was last reviewed on 7/5/2012.