There is a well-known response from any Texas A&M University Aggie when the final score leaves them on the short end – “We didn’t lose, the game just ended too soon!” This probably goes for most sports teams too.
Sometimes life is like a game and I’m glad to be playing. At times I step off the field, regroup, rest and even enlist some expert training. Sometimes I’m playing defense, just trying to survive and sometimes I am out front scoring and setting the pace.
I suggest that any of us playing the game of life with a chronic disease like diabetes can benefit by viewing themselves as both the athlete in the game and the coach directing each step the team will take to reach its goals.
What are your goals? The American Association of Diabetes Educators, (AADE) has identified seven self-care behaviors that are essential for a person with or at risk for diabetes to manage their disease.
The self-care behaviors are(1) :
- Healthy eating
- Being active
- Taking medications
- Problem solving
- Healthy coping
- Reducing risks.
A coach determines what the team strengths and weaknesses are. As the coach and owner of your team you need to assess your knowledge and skills in each of these self-care behaviors.
For each of the self-care behaviors a Diabetes Educator is equipped to collaborate with you and your team, empowering you to know what to do, how to do it, want to do it and finally so that you can do it. (2) A Registered Dietitian provides Medical Nutrition Therapy, which is the nutritional diagnostic, therapy, and counseling services for the purpose of disease management, which are furnished according to established protocol. (3)
If you have diabetes or are at risk of diabetes you can benefit from learning and improving on your own self-care behaviors. Recruit an expert to get started and then use your team members to learn and improve your use of these essential self-care behavior skills. Even though your life game includes a disease like diabetes you can be out front scoring and setting the pace in your life.
Barbara Herrman, RD, LD lives in College Station, TX home of “The Fighting Texas Aggies” Texas A&M University. She can be contacted regarding this article at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. AADE 7TM Self-Care Behaviors The Diabetes Educator May 1, 2008 34:445-449
2. Standards for Outcomes Measurement of Diabetes Self-Management Education, The Diabetes Educator Volume 29, Number 5 September/October 2003.
3. American Dietetic Association Revised 2008 Standards of Practice for Registered Dietitians in Nutrition Care; Standards of Professional Performance for Registered Dietitians; Standards of Practice for Dietetic Technicians, Registered, in Nutrition Care; and Standards of Professional Performance for Dietetic Technicians, Registered The American Dietetic Association Quality Management Committee Journal of the American Dietetic Association September 2008 (Vol. 108, Issue 9, Pages 1538-1542.e9)