Caring Currents

Medications vs. Lifestyle Changes: What's the Best Way to Tackle Type 2 Diabetes?

Last updated: Mar 20, 2008

Fruits and veggies.jpg

A recent commentary in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, makes the case for weight loss and lifestyle changes as a more effective treatment than intensive insulin therapy for people who are overweight and have poorly controlled, insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes.

And yet change is hard – at any age. Think about it: What resolutions have you made to improve your life that have fallen by the wayside? Eating better, getting exercise, losing weight…change is easier said than done, right?

So how might you help your parent make these behavioral shifts? If you’ve had some success helping your parent make changes, please share it here. For now, below are a few tips to help get folks started:

  • Keep a record

It’s easier to find patterns – like that 3 p.m. craving for something sweet – when there’s a written record of everything consumed in the course of a day. Your parent should carry a food notebook so she can easily track what she eats and figure out what unhealthy habit she wants to confront first.

  • Look for small ways to break big (unhealthy) habits

Your parent’s diet may need a major makeover. That’s not going to happen overnight. Fnd one thing he might be willing to do to eat better and start there. Perhaps he’ll agree to add green vegetables to his dinner or cut down on carbs at each meal.

  • Reward success – no matter how small

Everyone needs encouragement so identify ways your parent can treat herself when she reaches a goal. Anything healthy that makes your parent happy will work. Maybe it’s a trip to the movies after a week of walking every day. Or perhaps it’s a new outfit after shedding 5-10 excess pounds. Even small rewards for modest daily goals can help keep your parent motivated.

Image by Flickr user Ali Karimian used under the Creative Commons attribution license.