Kenny Walter is an editor with HCPLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2019, he worked as a digital reporter covering nanotechnology, life sciences, material science and more with R&D Magazine. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Temple University in 2008 and began his career as a local reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers based on the Jersey shore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach and enjoying the shore in the summer and watching North Carolina Tar Heel basketball in the winter.
By allocating 1% of their day to exercise, patients can turn an unhealthy lifestyle into a healthy lifestyle.
With more than 100 million in the US living with diabetes or prediabetes, how do individuals eliminate some of their unhealthy habits to prevent the disease? What hurdles must patients overcome?
In an interview with MD Magazine® during the 2nd Annual Advanced Practice Collaborative on September 7, Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BS, senior faculty at the Advanced Practice Education Associates, explained the steps patients need to take to turn their lives around.
MD Mag: How does the constant flow of new studies and information of the dietary impact on diabetes influence patient behavior and care providers?
Secor: One of the big problems that patients have I believe today is that they're very confused there's so much information at them between intermittent fasting and keto and low carb high fat. We know a confused mind does nothing so that's often where we find our patients. We need to help them simplify and figure out a way that's going to help them in their journey through decisions that kind of cut through all of that confusion.
MD Mag: What are some of the most common misconceptions among diabetes patients in regard to living a healthy lifestyle?
Secor: I think some of the greatest confusion that patients really buy into is that small changes won't make a difference and what I often say to my patients is do you have 1% of your day when you could commit to exercise. And they'll say 1% sure, 1% percent I can do that. And then I'll translate that to 15 minutes and I'll say to them do you have 15 minutes to start moving and being more active in your life. And they might even balk at that and then I ask them, do you have 5 minutes would you be able to walk around your house or dance to Ellen or a hula-hoop or take your dog for a walk for just a few minutes to establish the habit?
And they often will react more positively to that. Often, I think they think that they've got to go to the gym and spend 2 hours in order for their exercise program to really be effective. And the same with eating they think they've got to reconstruct their entire eating plan their entire diet. Although I hate that term diet, I think it's die with the T on the end and I really encourage them to select foods that are healthy, but that they also like and that they kind of phase into a healthier eating plan.
MD Mag: Some studies have suggested we are losing serious ground in the fight against diabetes, what is your take?
Secor: Well, we know the statistics and we certainly know that more and more patients even young patient’s teenagers children are developing diabetes at unprecedentedly young ages. So, we feel like sometimes we are losing the battle, but also when we look at our clinical practice if we're able to bring healthy changes to our patients through active coaching and through good counseling and support and community resources we can turn everything around. We can turn around our patients lives and they can then help turn around their families lives and their communities lives. So, I think it's a ripple effect I haven't lost hope but I know the statistics are overwhelmingly not in our favor.
MD Mag: What are the first steps patients must take when trying to transform their unhealthy lifestyle into a healthier one?
Secor: I believe the first steps in changing from a less healthy life to a healthier life is really looking at our minds and dealing with mindset and thinking about am I worth it? Am I willing to really commit to myself? I often ask patience on a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to making changes in your life and if they are 3, I ask them why is that what do you have to do to get yourself to a 10, there's only 1 of you and bring up the snowflake theory, there's only 1 of you.
I also believe that if we start very small with just incremental changes in our lives and get the habits established that that is a great way to make change over time and small changes lead to huge transformation over time if they're consistent so I believe patients can kind of tackle anything if it's really, really a small change.