Not Perfect? No Problem
A New Book Offers Realistic Solutions to Diabetes Management
If you're one of the millions of Americans who struggle to manage their diabetes and never achieve perfect results, you're not alone, say Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, and Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, CWOCN, CFCN, coauthors of the new American Diabetes Association book Real-Life Guide to Diabetes. That's why their book stresses realistic goals and encourages people with diabetes to increase their chances of success by rethinking their expectations.
"It'd be nice if everyone followed clinical meal plans, but it just doesn't happen," says Warshaw. While most diabetes books center on the ideal of diabetes management, Warshaw and Pape saw the need for something different. "We don't talk about the ideal—we talk about the real," says Warshaw.
Warshaw and Pape provide practical steps for readers to follow. "[Our book] takes a view of tackling one behavior change at a time," Warshaw says. Those behavior changes include knowing what you can eat at a restaurant and rotating your injection sites on a regular basis. And since even the most motivated people can't make changes unless they understand what they're being told to do, the book includes definitions of medical terminology throughout.
"We wanted something interactive that could reach all people, where you could pick up the book if you were just diagnosed or if you've had [diabetes] for a very long time," Pape says. For instance, one thing many people with diabetes share is confusion over new food products on the market. "Learn to read labels," Pape advises. "Don't just buy something because it has 'diabetes' on the label."
While the authors emphasize being realistic, Pape acknowledges that having goals is also a necessary part of managing your diabetes. "[People ask me] what their blood glucose should be and what their blood pressure should be," Pape says. "They don't know what it should be. You can't hit a target unless you know what it is."
Approaching diabetes management from a realistic standpoint improves chances for success, Warshaw says. "You have to use your attributes and your strengths, as well as your weaknesses, to manage [your diabetes well]."