• Fresh Views

    Flipping the Paradigm: Applying a Solution-Focused Approach to Being Active

    Remember that any exercise is better than no exercise. – Anonymous


    Pisgah National Forest in the mountains of Western North Carolina. It was a beautiful hike to the falls!

    Welcome to week 2 of our 7-week series on applying a solution-focused approach to the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors for managing diabetes. Last week we shared about taking a solution-focused approach to Healthy Eating – you can read it here.  Today we’re focusing on  Being Active. Being active can take many forms, from simply moving more during the day to intentional bouts of exercise. You can also find ways to incorporate fitness through activities that bring you pleasure or joy (such as our beautiful hike to the falls pictured above).  

    As a refresher, the AADE7 is a framework for organizing diabetes self-management education and support, as well as for identifying key areas for behavior change to manage diabetes. The 7 core behaviors are:

    Our series is focusing on “flipping” the conversation from a “problem focused” (traditional medical) approach to a solution-focused conversation. 

    AADE7 Self Care Behavior #2: Being Active

    “I hate to exercise” may be a familiar comment heard by many diabetes care and education specialists (DCES). (In fact, it’s the title of a great book too, The I Hate to Exercise Book for People with Diabetes) For those who are challenged to fit physical activity into their day we feel empathy and understanding because some days it’s a challenge for us too! Life happens! 

    Some people are born athletes. And physical activity may always be a priority them. If you fall into that category, you might find it hard to understand the challenges other people face with being active. If you can relate, try to take a step back, and think of something that is really challenging for you to engage in. Then try to keep that frame of reference when you’re talking about being active with your clients.

    Beyond lack of enjoyment in exercise, finding time to fit physical activity into a busy, challenging day, can also be hard. As DCES’s, solutions that we may generate and propose to others, may not always be realistic. Using solution-focused talk, together, we can help clients identify what they like, and what makes sense to them. We can also guide them in identifying things that make them happy, and find existing strengths. From there, we can help them create opportunities to be active.

    It’s important to take care to refrain from “all or nothing” thinking, described by Adam Brown in his book Bright Spots and Landmines (we interviewed Adam here). We need to help clients take small steps towards a more active lifestyle and acknowledge their success, even if it doesn’t align with our thinking of what being active means. Let’s flip the focus of the discussion and help people feel successful and recognize their strengths.

    Deb and Diana (Deb’s daughter) hiking in the Dolomite Mountain Range in Northern Italy

    Instead of focusing on what is not working well or what is “wrong”, here are 3 illustrations of how to flip the conversation:

    Try this: I know how hard it is to have a job where you sit at the computer all day. Tell me more about your office and work setting. Let’s think of some ways you can increase your movement and get you up from your chair. 

    Instead of this:  Did you know sitting is the new smoking, sitting all day is going to kill you. You need to move more.

    Try this: You mentioned you’ve been using the MapMyWalk app on your phone. How has this helped you be more active? What else can you do to be more active?

     Instead of this: You’re using the MapMyWalk app but you still not getting 10,000 steps a day.

    Try this: When you’ve been successful adding physical activity into your schedule, what did that look like? How did you do it? How can you do more of that?

    Instead of this: You’re falling short of the goal of getting 150 minutes of exercise each week..

    Focus most of the time and energy on thinking about and discussing what is already good, effective, and successful.

    During a solution-focused conversation, the DCES’s focus is on discussing and exploring what is already working, is effective, and is successful, then leveraging that to identify solutions, rather than focusing on past problems. 

    When you meet again, here are 3 follow-up questions to try:

    • How were you able to focus on solutions to try to fit fitness into your schedule?
    • What kept you on track toward achieving your activity goal? 
    • What was different about the days you were able to be more active?

    We’ll challenge you each week to try incorporating some flips into your conversations and let us know what impact they have.

    Join us next week as we discuss a solution focused-approach to Healthy Coping!

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

  • Fresh Views

    The Miracle Question Applied to Diabetes at #AADE19

    You had the power all along, my dear – Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz

    River pool at the Marriott shaped like the state of Texas!

    #AADE19 is a wrap! And what an exciting (and scorching) week we had in Houston, TX! The over 100 degree temperatures kept us from venturing outside much, but we enjoyed the view of the Texas shaped lazy river just outside our hotel window.

    Change is here!

    It’s difficult to describe the thrill of being immersed in learning through cutting edge, high quality sessions with more than 3000 other people passionate about supporting individuals affected by diabetes to live long and happy lives. And to learn that our specialty (formerly Diabetes Educator) has a new name: Diabetes Care and Education Specialist! This repositioning and new title fully acknowledges us as trusted experts of the integrated care team that provide collaborative, comprehensive, and person-centered care and education to people with and at risk for diabetes. Woohoo! More to come!

    Taking a solution-focused approach to managing diabetes

    A description of our presentation “Applying the Miracle Question in Diabetes” at #AADE19 can be found in the online conference planner. We were honored to be one of the over 130 sessions attendees could choose from. Can you see the joy in our faces below at the crowd filling the room (late on a Friday afternoon nonetheless) to learn about taking a solution focused approach to managing diabetes rather than a “traditional problem-focused” approach? 

    Tami and Deb getting ready to present at #AADE19

    In quick illustration, here’s a comparison from one of our slides showing how a solution-focused approach differs from a traditional counseling approach. The traditional counseling approach tends to focus on what’s “wrong” and identifying how to “fix” it, whereas a solution focused approach focuses on those times when things are going well, and leveraging those past successes to do more of what’s going well. 

    What is the Miracle Question?

    The Miracle Question applied to diabetes is one tool or technique, if you will, that can be implemented as part of a solution-focused approach to help clients envision a future that is more problem-free. You can learn more about the Miracle Question applied to diabetes in a previous blog post here. The Miracle Question has powerful impact. It is creative, bold, healing, a bit mysterious sounding (and has a cool name!). It allows a person to step out of their current problem story to a time when the problem occurs less. It helps people identify “exceptions” or times when the problem doesn’t occur, but could have.  We think of exceptions as similar to “Bright Spots” (From Adam Brown’s Bright Spots and Landmines) or times and choices that work well for people. The Miracle Question challenges a person to look past their obstacles and feelings of hopelessness to focus on possibilities, opportunities and a vision for the future. (Hmmm sounds like the Mission of @AFreshPOVforYou!). The goal is to help one identify what they’ve actually known all along, and that they have the power to make choices and changes that can move them forward. 

    We value the voice of those that live with diabetes every day and listen intently to inform our work. We have some intriguing findings from a study we conducted that will be presented in September at an international diabetes conference, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, in Barcelona, Spain. And other insightful learnings to guide our work from focus groups, surveys, and interviews we’ve conducted. Many have asked if we’ll share that information. Stay tuned!  We will soon reveal more through three peer-reviewed publications – one of those being an international publication.  

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, we invite you to subscribe to our blog, and we will send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

    Disclaimer: A Fresh POV for You is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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