How many times have you had a goal to be healthier, only to realize something or someone has gotten in the way of meeting your goal? There are all kinds of barriers to making healthy changes such as lack of time, bad weather, lifelong habits, and resistance from those around us. But lifestyle changes do not have to be impossible. Learning behavior change strategies can make all the difference.

Preventing or controlling diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a goal most people have. Every year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus! In our present day of processed food and energy-saving conveniences, healthy habits do not come naturally. In fact, you will need knowledge and strategies to successfully overcome these hurdles.

Any transformation in our lives will almost always trigger resistance in the people around us. You see, no one likes an alteration in the way they live their life. It is not that your family does not want you to be healthy. They merely dread any change in what they consider normal. For example, if you cut down on the desserts you are eating, Aunt Janet may feel hurt and unappreciated. Or, if time spent exercising cuts into the time you spend watching television with a spouse, you will probably hear about it. Making changes slowly can help lessen the shock to yourself and others. Finding family or friends who have similar goals or are willing to learn about being healthy, is often the difference between success and defeat.

Everything we do has ripple effects in the environment around us. If our activities are mainly centered on food, a small coup may arise when we try to change that. You may request that a weekly pizza date be transformed into bike riding or walking together. But if your family is not open to this, there could be conflict. This is why it is key to find people in your life who have the same goals for health. A weekly chat with someone who is on the same journey that you are will be invaluable.

Gaining knowledge about the benefits of making change in your life can increase your success. We often need to know the “why”. Knowing the benefits of exercise can bolster your efforts and give you perseverance in the face of opposition. Exercise lowers glucose, weight, stress, blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, insulin resistance, risks of heart attack and kidney disease. It increases your HDL (good) cholesterol, your lung and heart strength, energy level, and sleep effectiveness. Lastly, it prevents and may reverse any high glucose damage that has begun in your nerves and the blood vessels in your heart, kidneys, eyes and feet.

Want to learn more?

Contact WellSpan Endocrinology’s Gettysburg practice, located in the WellSpan Adams Health Center at 40 V-Twin Drive, by calling (717)339-2790. WellSpan Endocrinology works as your partner in diagnosing and treating diabetes and other hormonal disorders. WellSpan Endocrinology also offers diabetes education and nutritional counseling, even to patients outside the practice.

You can also make plans to attend the upcoming WellSpan Diabetes Fair, titled “Making Lasting Lifestyle Changes,” on Thursday, Nov. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. The free fair will be held at HACC-Gettysburg’s Robert C. Hoffman Community Room. A keynote presentation will be given by Ryan Silverman, Psy.D., an expert in behavior change. The fair will also feature a cooking demonstration, light refreshments, health screenings, and community resource tables including a diabetes technology table. There is no cost to attend the fair, but registration is required by calling (800) 840-5905.

Christy Rohrbaugh is a diabetes educator for WellSpan Endocrinology in Gettysburg. She can be contacted at (717) 339-2776.

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