…And a Healthy New Year

December 29, 2017

The new year comes with excitement, anticipation, and promise. For many, it provides an opportunity for positive changes and self-improvement, but setting expectations too high can often lead to frustration rather than success.

Don’t let lofty ambitions overshadow reality and crush your chances of hitting target. This year, resolve to avoid setting your standards too high. Take on the new year with enthusiasm, but be SMART about it.

SMART is an acronym used to set small, achievable goals which will gradually aid in progress toward larger aspirations. Instead of setting general, overstated goals, think about the actions you can take to help yourself get there. Use the parameters below to organize those actions into a more manageable objective.

T is for TIMELY

Let’s use exercise as an example.
1. Be SPECIFIC. Define what you are trying to accomplish. How will you exercise? Where will you do it?
2. Make it MEASURABLE. Set a framework so you will know whether or not you accomplish the goal. How much exercise will you do and how often?
3. Evaluate if this is ATTAINABLE. Remember, setting a goal too high may hinder your success. Can you actually exercise this much?
4. Determine if your idea is REALISTIC. Will you honestly exercise this many days per week with your busy schedule? If not, you may need to start a little smaller.
5. Make it TIMELY. You have now chosen the type of exercise, how much you can do, and how often you will do it. Now, schedule it into your life when it will make the most sense and create a time frame to reevaluate how you are doing.

Goal: I will walk around my neighborhood for at least 30 minutes 3 days per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings for 2 weeks starting next Monday.

TIP: It is a good idea to write down your goal and post it somewhere you will see it every day as a reminder of what you are trying to do.

At the end of your timeline, analyze your results. If you accomplished your goal, set a new one. Maybe you can increase the amount of time or days per week that you are exercising. If you were unsuccessful, determine the cause and address it. Perhaps you couldn’t walk because of a knee injury. Instead, choose a different activity that will not hurt your knee such as seated aerobics and try again.

TIP: Plan for roadblocks. Winter weather may prevent you from going outside to walk. Have a back-up plan. You can pick somewhere indoors to walk such as a local gym or community center or even the mall. Sometimes, the weather can keep you from driving to these places, so you should have a plan for activities you can do at home as well to avoid potential excuses.

Start out 2018 right and resolve to exercise your SMARTs for a healthy new year!


Summer Fun and Food – Don’t Get Burned!

July 6, 2015

by Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL
You can enjoy all of the fun of a summer fun while staying within your healthy eating goals! Summer barbeques and picnics can offer a tempting range of choices that are high in calories and sugar. Don’t get burned! Here are some summertime tips to help you keep your cool and create a well-balanced meal to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible:

Choose lean, grilled meats. Pass on the fried chicken and go for grilled chicken,  turkey or fish.

Veg out. Grill up some veggie burgers, veggie kabobs, or sliced vegetables in foil.  Or, have raw veggies with hummus or other low-fat dip.

 Skip the Mayo. Add flavor to your sandwich with tomato slices, lettuce, bell peppers, or mustard. Mayonnaise adds fat and calories so try to avoid mayo-based dips, salads and sauces.

 Pick a Side. Move away from the chips and dips which draw you in for more than you realize. Choose vinegar-based coleslaw, sweet potatoes, greens, and seasonal vegetables instead.

Consider the Recipe. Barbeque sauce and baked beans can throw off your carb intake. Many of these recipes often contain added sugar. Recipes with cream cheese are often high in fat. If you do choose to indulge, try just a taste or opt for a smaller portion.

Drink water.   Stay hydrated. Avoid soda, fruit juices, lemonade and alcoholic beverages that are high in sugar and calories. For extra flavor, add a wedge of lemon, lime, orange or even a cherry.

Stick to your routine. Skipping meals may make it harder to manage your blood sugar, so don’t try to “save” calories and carbs for that summer party.

Have fun.   Make healthy choices and being good to yourself.

Get regular exerciseGo for a walk on the beach, bring a Frisbee to the picnic, take a hike, play volleyball, jump on a bike, grab a baseball glove and play catch, swim like a fish!

Source: American Association of Diabetes Educators

And one more hot tip: Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen!


51 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

March 18, 2015

by Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL

Put less on your plate, Nate.

  1. Drink a large glass of water 10 minutes before your meal so you feel less hungry.
  2. Keep meat, chicken, turkey, and fish portions to about 3 ounces.
  3. Share one dessert.

Eat a small meal, Lucille.

  1. Use teaspoons, salad forks, or child-size forks, spoons, and knives to help you take smaller bites and eat less.
  2. Make less food look like more by serving your meal on a salad or breakfast plate.
  3. Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that you are full.
  4. Listen to music while you eat instead of watching TV (people tend to eat more watching TV).

Dance it away, Faye.

  1. Show your kids the dances you used to do when you were their age.
  2. Turn up the music and jam while doing household chores.
  3. Work out with a video that shows you how to get active.

Let’s go, Flo.

  1. Deliver a message in person to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail.
  2. Take the stairs to your office
  3. Catch up with friends during a walk instead of by phone.
  4. March in place while you watch TV.
  5. Choose a place to walk that is safe, such as your local mall.
  6. Get off of the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way home or to work during the week if it is safe.

Snack on a veggie, Reggie.

  1. Buy a mix of vegetables when you go food shopping.
  2. Choose veggie toppings like spinach, broccoli, and peppers for your pizza.
  3. Try eating foods from other countries. Many of these dishes have more vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
  4. Buy frozen and low-salt (sodium) canned vegetables if you are on a budget.
  5. Serve your favorite vegetable and a salad with low-fat macaroni and cheese.

Cook with care, Claire.

  1. Stir fry, broil, or bake with non-stick spray or low-salt broth. Cook with less oil and butter.
  2. Try not to snack while cooking or cleaning the kitchen.
  3. Cook with smaller amounts of cured meats (smoked turkey and turkey bacon). They are high in salt.

Cook in style, Kyle.

  1. Cook with a mix of spices instead of salt.
  2. Try different recipes for baking or broiling meat, chicken, and fish.
  3. Choose foods with little or no added sugar to reduce calories.
  4. Choose brown rice instead of white rice.

Eat healthy on the go, Jo.

  1. Have a big vegetable salad with low-calorie salad dressing when eating out. Share your main dish with a friend or have the other half wrapped to go.
  2. Make healthy choices at fast food restaurants. Try grilled chicken (with skin removed) instead of a  cheeseburger.
  3. Skip the fries and chips and choose a salad.
  4. Order a fruit salad instead of ice cream or cake.

Rethink your drink, Linc.

  1. Find a water bottle you really like (from a church or club event, favorite sports team, etc.) and drink water  from it every day.
  2. Peel and eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice.
  3. If you drink whole milk, try changing to 2% milk. It has less fat than whole milk. Once you get used to 2% milk, try 1% or fat-free (skim) milk. This will help you reduce the amount of fat and calories you take in  each day.
  4. Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.

Eat smart, Bart.

  1. Eat foods made from whole grains every day, (whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, and whole grain corn.)
  2. Use whole grain bread for toast and sandwiches.
  3. Keep a healthy snack with you, such as fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, and whole grain crackers.
  4. Slow down at snack time. Eating a bag of low-fat popcorn takes longer than eating a candy bar.
  5. Share a bowl of fruit with family and friends.
  6. Eat a healthy snack or meal before shopping for food. Do not shop on an empty stomach.
  7. Shop at your local farmers market for fresh, local food.

Keep track, Jack.

  1. Make a list of food you need to buy before you go to the store.
  2. Keep a written record of what you eat for a week. It can help you see when you tend to overeat or eat foods  high in fat or calories.

Read the label, Mabel.

  1. Compare food labels on packages.
  2. Choose foods lower in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, calories, salt, and added sugars.

You can exhale, Gail.

  1. Take time to change the way you eat and get active. Try one new food or activity a week.
  2. Find ways to relax. Try deep breathing, taking a walk, or listening to your favorite music.
  3. Pamper yourself. Read a book, take a long bath, or meditate.
  4. Think before you eat. Try not to eat when you are bored, upset, or unhappy.


St. Anthony’s Medical Center is presenting a FREE class on Preventing Type 2 Diabetes. Please join us on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. in the Hyland Education Center Great Room. Registration is required. Call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669). For more information visit http://www.stanthonysmedcenter.com


Source: National Diabetes Education Program

Adding to your Physical Activity

March 2, 2015

By:  Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL Diabetes Educator

Aerobic exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming, and cycling are part of the focus in managing blood sugar for all diabetics.  However, there is also much to gain from other forms of exercise such as resistance, balance, flexibility and strength training.   These muscular fitness activities can slow the age-related loss of muscle mass and improve mobility, endurance and function.  Resistance training exercises include weight machines, resistance bands, or the use of one’s own body weight as seen with pushups and squats.  Because some of the main tissues in the body that are sensitive to insulin are the skeletal muscles; by increasing the amount and sensitivity of skeletal muscles with resistance exercise, many diabetics can better manage their blood glucose levels and weight by adding resistance training.

Performing resistance training two to three times per week and incorporating it with aerobics is most beneficial for type 2 diabetics.  The combination of the two improves blood glucose control and reduces cardiovascular risk factors more than either type of exercise alone.

Those diabetics with balance issues have a higher risk of falling due to slower reaction times, and an unsteady gait.  Diabetic related complications such as neuropathy, vision problems, and side effects from certain medications (lightheadedness for example) may contribute to the risk of falling.  Many people who are at risk of falling develop a fear of falling, which further limits their activity level!   These individuals can benefit from balance training, which can improve their gait and reduce their risk of falling.  Tai Chi and Yoga exercise programs involve varies combinations of flexibility, balance, and resistance training.   Lower-body and core strengthening exercises will also improve balance.

Flexibility is the ability to move our joints through a complete range of motion.  Certain activities of daily living will require more flexibility than other ones.  People with diabetes are more prone to develop changes in their joints that can limit movement.  Stretching exercises help to increase flexibility, and it may be included as part of a physical activity program.  It should not be used as a substitute for other training as its beneficial impact on blood sugar is unclear.  Flexibility training combined with resistance training increases joint range of motion, and when combined with balance training can reduce the risk of falls.  Remember though – time spent on flexibility does not count toward meeting the aerobic activity time guidelines of 30 minutes/day or 150 minutes/week.

Exercise is a vital component in managing diabetes.  Ultimately, diabetics should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week, together with activities that build muscular strength two to three times per week.  It is important to find activities that you enjoy and that you are able to perform safely.  If you are unsure, check with your physician.  St. Anthony’s Medical Center offers a variety of fitness classes Monday through Saturday at the Body, Mind, and Spirit Center in the Medical Plaza building.  For more information on these classes visit stanthonysmedcenter.com



Diabetes Spectrum

St. Anthony’s Get Fit



Step Out Walks to Stop Diabetes

March 30, 2014

Remember that goal to increase activity that many of us made for a New Year’s resolution? You’re in luck! There are several American Diabetes Association (ADA; http://www.diabetes.org;) fundraising events in the bi-state area planned for 2014.

A Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes event is next weekend, April 5th, , at Livestock Pavilion, Lions Lake, in Washington, MO/Franklin County; registration time is 9am & the Walk starts at 10am. Their website posts the following information: “the power of one makes a world of difference! Lace up your walking shoes, bring your friends, family, and co-workers and join us for the 11th Annual Franklin County Step Out Walk. Enjoy a light breakfast, health and wellness fair, live music, raffles and then walk around beautiful Lions Lake! All registered Franklin County Step Out Walk participants raising $100 will receive a commemorative Step Out event t-shirt on the day of the event. Celebrate those who live with diabetes everyday and help us find a cure! For more information, contact: Michael Marek at mmarek@diabetes.org | 314-822-5490 x 6826.

Future events include: May 31, 2014; the St Louis Tour de Cure bike ride is at the Alton Riverfront Amphitheater, 1 Riverfront Dr; Alton, Il. Registration Fee: $25.00; Fundraising Minimum: 200 Route Distances: 10, 30, 50, 100; there are staggered check-in & start times for the various route lengths. Routes will take you on the scenic Great River Road along the Mississippi River. A great variety of easy to challenging courses to test your endurance and push you to new heights! After you ride stay for the amazing finish line party with lunch, live music and FREE admission to Raging Rivers WaterPark! Contact Shawn Martin, at smartin@diabetes.org or 314-822-5490 x 6824

A Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes is October 4, 2014; SIU-E, Edwardsville, Il; 62026. For more information contact Rawnie Berry at 314-822-5490 x 6829 or rberry@diabetes.org.  Another Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes is October 11, 2014; at Creve Coeur Park; contact Michael Marek at mmarek@diabetes.org or 314-822-5490 x 6826.

So with the Mother Nature teasing us with warmer weather, start preparing for a more active lifestyle!



Caring for diabetes is an Olympic event!

February 16, 2014

The current Olympic Games provide exciting and inspiring stories of hard work and perseverance. Preparing for an Olympic event can be similar to caring for any chronic disease. It involves continuous planning and evaluation of various aspects of activities and choices that can impact your performance. Education about diabetes, eating healthier, exercising at the proper time, testing blood glucose,  maintaining a healthy stress level, keeping  medical/lab appointments, and if appropriate, taking medications on a consistent basis can  help you achieve the most important medal of all…..improved health! Olympian cross-country skier, Kris Freeman, is representing the USA, in Sochi, Russia. His story is featured in an article of the February, 2014 issue of Diabetes Forecast by Tracy Neithercott. Kris was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19. By that time, he had competed in skiing, at the Junior World Championships for the third time.He is the current 50 kilometer national Champion of cross-country skiing. Kris’ training is about 900 hours per year, in aerobic exercise, including running, swimming, kayaking, and roller skiing. Aerobic exercise is sustained activity that utilizes oxygen to fuel the muscles, stimulating and strengthening the heart and lungs. Freeman tests his blood glucose 3 to 4 times a day, uses a patch-style insulin pump delivery system, and a continuous glucose monitor. His diligence helps him to adjust his insulin dosing to match his body’s requirements. Tracy notes that Kris’ views on nutrition are simple; he doesn’t take in more fuel than he burns/utilizes….a good lesson for all of us!

For me, the most striking sentence in the article is when Tracy reports that Freeman stated: ” The way to not be terrified was to learn as much as I could about [diabetes]”.  As a Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator (CDE), I often hear how frightened people are with a first-time diagnosis of diabetes. Frequently, their fears are due to many misconceptions of the disease as a result of the media, the internet, various health care Providers (HCP), well-meaning  friends, neighbors, and family members. While there is a lot about diabetes that pertains to most people with diabetes, there is information that is pertinent to your situation. There are several medical conditions, syndromes, and diseases that you can’t do much to change, there is a lot you can do to improve your diabetes health. Arm yourself with knowledge of the disease and your own body, develop confidence in your blood glucose control, and establish a good support team and hopefully, you can say “thank goodness, it’s just diabetes”! The Education Staff of St Anthony’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education Services is composed of Certified Diabetes Nurse Educators and Certified Dietitian Educators and additional clinical support Staff. With a Physician’s order, they are prepared to partner with you and your health care Team to provide you with the tools and tips needed to help you achieve your best level of diabetes health. Call 314-525-4508, option 2, or access stanthonysmedcenter.com/diabetes; for more information.



The “Big Game” is this weekend!

January 29, 2014


It seems as if we finally get the holiday treats out of the house and now another reason to have a big celebration! The “Big Game” is this weekend and if that means hosting a game-viewing party or attending one, make plans ahead of time to make healthier food choices and care for your diabetes. The American Association of Diabetes Educators has issued their version of a “Healthy Eating GAME Plan” that provides tips and recipes to help control blood glucose levels. Chair/leg exercises can be incorporated while watching the half-time show or those special commercials; and exercise is free! Enjoy the game!

Download the AADE_Game_Day strategies handout recipes.

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