By: Kara Federonick, MPH, Treasure Valley YMCA
With National Diabetes Awareness Month in full swing, I want to touch on the value, importance and process of journeying towards wellness. Every human walking this earth knows just how challenging change can be, but there is question as to whether everyone knows just how valuable change is- and not only change, but also how important the journey and struggle towards change is. Taking a look at examples in the natural world around us, butterflies would not be able to fly if they did not struggle in breaking out of the cocoon after metamorphosis. Diamonds and pearls would not be formed if not for the immense amount of pressure they endure, and gold not refined if it does not pass through the fire.
Anytime we hear words like diabetes and obesity, there is often an immediate response to run in the opposite direction; they are often considered taboo topics. I ask, however, what has running in the opposite direction from an issue ever helped? When we examine the health landscape of our nation, we see obesity affecting not only our adults, but now our children as well. We see diabetes and prediabetes on the rise and affecting an ever increasing portion of our society with 84 million with prediabetes and over 30 million with diabetes. Change is absolutely essential and crucial to turning the health of our nation around, but what might this journey towards change look like? Here are a few steps on the journey towards wellness:
- Know and recognize the value of the life you have. You bring value to those around you and can make an incredible impact on society, but you need to make that choice. You need to know and realize this, and know you are a gift and your life has a purpose. You are needed but if you do not see this, if you do not pursue to change and grow into the best version of yourself, you rob yourself and others of the gift you have to offer. Your health matters, you matter!
- There is a gap between knowing you need to change and wanting to change and an even greater gap between wanting to change and actually being ready to change and starting to implement change in your life. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself where you are on this journey and what it will take to get you from where you are to the next step in this journey. If you need help processing and identifying where you are, ask for help from a friend, family, or community resource. Asking for help does not mean one is weak, rather it shows how strong someone is for realizing we weren’t meant to journey life alone.
- Once you have identified where you are on the journey towards wellness, get connected with the tools, resources and individuals around you available to help you progress towards the best you. Whether that starts with a friend, health professional, church or community group, or local gym or YMCA, find out where you stand, what you need to change, and get plugged in!
Remember, you are a priceless gift and gem in the making. But first comes the struggle; the struggle is good and has a purpose. Let’s journey together towards wellness and change!
Resources for Diabetes and Prediabetes
- American Diabetes Association
- CDC Physical Activity Guidelines
- Choose My Plate
- Community Support Groups
- Diabetes Risk Assessment
- Diabetes Self-Management
- Idaho DHW Diabetes Prevention Resource Guide
- YMCA Weight Loss and Lifestyle Support