• Fresh Views

    Flipping the Paradigm: Applying a Solution-Focused Approach to Healthy Eating

    Problem talk creates problems, Solution talk creates solutions. – Steve de Shazer

    Tasty, healthy grilled mussels in garlic and lemon

    We are excited to launch into a 7-week series on applying a solution-focused approach to the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors for managing diabetes. As you probably know, the AADE7 is a framework for organizing diabetes self-management education and support and for identifying key areas that may require behavioral changes to manage diabetes.  The 7 categories are:

    For those of you that follow our blog, you know that we are passionate about flipping the conversation from a “problem focused” (traditional medical) approach to a solution-focused conversation. We are advocates for the use of person-first, empowering language when speaking with and in reference to people with diabetes. #LanguageMatters in diabetes care and education; problem centered talk can make speaking about and managing diabetes more challenging.

    Each of the next seven weeks, we will focus on one of the above self-care behaviors and provide 3 practical illustrations of how to flip the conversation around it to solution-focused talk.

    AADE7 Self Care Behavior #1: Healthy Eating 

    “What can I eat?” is the #1 question asked by people with diabetes when they are diagnosed. Without a doubt it can be a confusing, challenging, and sensitive ongoing area of diabetes management. 

    Often the healthy eating discussion focuses on foods to avoid and “what went wrong” when blood glucose was out of range. The conversation continues with discussion on how to prevent that from happening again. This approach to eating can be painful and result in feelings of blame and shame. A solution-focused approach changes the dynamics of the conversation.  It helps flip the focus to what is working well and building upon existing strengths.

    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 noticed that you are drinking sweet tea or soda only three times a week now instead of every day. How have you been able to do that? 

    Instead of this: Are you still drinking sweet tea and soda? 

    Try this: I hear you saying that you’d like to lose 20 more pounds. I’m noticing you are down 5 pounds since we last met. I’m really proud of you. What do you think helped you lose those 5 pounds? 

    Instead of this: I hear you saying that you’d like to 20 more pounds. I see you’ve only lost 5 pounds. What have you been eating?

    Try this: We’ve been talking about trying to work in more non starchy vegetables at dinner to help fill you up without raising your blood glucose. How many days a week do you think it’s reasonable to start with? On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is not all and 10 is I can definitely do this, where would you rate yourself? 

    Instead of this: We’ve talked about trying to work in more non starchy vegetables to help fill you up. I want you to eat one at lunch and dinner every day. 

    Be a think partner

    During a solution focused conversation, the diabetes care and education specialist acts as the “think partner” in developing solutions by asking questions and helping the person with diabetes to use their own personal strengths to create solutions that work for them. 

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

    • What’s been better since our last session?
    • What skills did you draw upon to make changes?
    • What do you know about yourself that lets you know you can achieve what you want?

    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 Being Active!

    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

    Hello world! A Fresh POV may change your life

    We started our blog in November 2018, just a couple of months ago, and thought we would re-share our first post in the new year for those of you who might not know who we are. Please subscribe to our email list and we’ll let you know when new blogs are published!

    Deb and Tami in Italy enjoying the view!

    Thanks for checking out our new blog “A Fresh POV for You”!  Join us as we focus on Possibilities, Opportunities and creating a Vision (POV) for the future, based on strengths and leveraging positive learnings from past experiences.

    Who are we?

    We are healthcare professionals and diabetes specialists passionate about positivity and empowering people with diabetes to live life to the fullest! Deborah is a nurse. Tami is a dietitian. We both have spent our entire careers partnering with those living with diabetes to leave a positive imprint.

    We are also speakers, authors, wives, moms, adventurers, and avid travelers always in search of the next fresh and magnificent view. (You see one of those stunning views in this photo, looking out over a vineyard in Italy). You’ll learn more about us and some of our adventures over time.

    What is our focus?

    Simply put, our goal is to inspire those living with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes to design a life that has a personal sense of balance, is realistic and fun. A life that works for them. It goes without saying that managing diabetes is complex and burdensome. The constant focus on problems can make it even harder. We are passionate about turning the focus to abilities and possibilities. What will be different and new instead of what will NOT happen anymore?  What is desired instead of what is NOT wanted? Let’s learn from each other!  

    Why did we start this blog?

    Since November is Diabetes Awareness month there’s no better time than now to let you in on our new adventure in diabetes that’s been in the works behind the scenes for some time.  

    Getting to know us personally, beyond professionally is important. We believe in the concept of a “therapeutic alliance”- which means that the relationship between health care professionals and people with diabetes is the most important component.  

    Awhile back, we discovered an approach called Solutions Focused Brief Therapy. It resonated with us because of the focus on possibilities, opportunities, and creating a vision for the future.  How about applying this to diabetes?  We  look forward to sharing with you as we learn more!

    Then we joined together to craft content for two recently released brief videos focusing on the use of empowering language in diabetes. Language that puts the person with diabetes, their needs and their values first, thus moving away from language that judges, blames and shames. These videos are based on the language position paper published by the American Diabetes Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators. (You can check out the paper and the videos here and on our blog homepage). Over the months that we worked on the video project we had many soul searching discussions about how diabetes care and education needs to evolve and innovate.

    And thus was born A Fresh POV for You! If you are someone who feels challenged and overwhelmed with aspects of life with diabetes – or someone who just wants to learn more about our creative approach – follow our blog as we begin to share more about our exciting new adventure over the next few months. We have lots of creative ideas and ways we hope to engage in innovative diabetes services! Our goal is to create programs and services that resonate and make sense for people living with diabetes.

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou.  

  • Fresh Views

    Make New Year’s Solutions rather than Resolutions

    With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts – Eleanor Roosevelt

    New Year’s Eve Fireworks

    With the start of the new year, many find themselves reflecting on the past year, re-evaluating life, and pondering what “resolutions” they will set for the new year.  New year’s resolutions often focus on “stopping” doing certain things and starting to make changes. Many resolutions revolve around trying to be healthier in some way.  Yet evidence shows that about 80% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions longer than six weeks.  That means by the time the Valentine’s Day rolls around, many have abandoned their desire to change. Often resolutions are attempts to find ways to solve problems.

    What if, instead of making New Year’s Resolutions which require change and “fixing”  problems (and change is hard!) – you focus instead on making New Year’s Solutions?

    Who doesn’t like a solution after all? One way to identify solutions is to focus on things that have gone well in the past, and pinpoint how you can do more of that (rather than trying to change).

    As you reflect on the past year, here are 5 questions to ask yourself and guide your thinking:

    • What went well for you in 2018?
    • What did you feel happy about?
    • What behaviors helped you feel successful and were doable?
    • How can you do more that?
    • Instead of thinking about “problems”, how can you reframe your thinking into positive “opportunities” and solutions? (Reframing a situation, idea, or belief can bring a fresh perspective. You can read more about this in our January 2, 2019 post.)

    Here’s an example from Deb…

    I am  a fan of Starbucks Mochas. As 2018 opened, I was getting a Mocha most every day. I also like Starbucks lattes. And the latte has fewer calories. So I started ordering the latte more often. I also discovered I didn’t really need a grande but was satisfied with a tall, so I now order a tall most days. When you add up the calories over the course of a year, that’s a significant savings! (Now on some days when I  really need a pick me up I may decide on a Mocha or splurge on a grande, but it’s no longer the routine). I leveraged something that was going well, and did more of it. It was doable. I closed out 2018 happy about this solution.

    Here’s an example from Tami…

    One of my favorite ways to get physical activity is to walk in the neighborhood after a long work day. I especially like this in the fall and during the holidays with all of the decorations and twinkling lights providing a fresh view to take in while meeting my step goal and unwinding from the day. The past few months I’ve battled a foot injury that has made walking my usual routes impossible some days. Rather than focusing on the “I can’t”,  I’ve turned and focused on what I CAN do. By reframing my thoughts, I find myself thinking, “ I can do this. I am not lazy. I am rebuilding my endurance step by step. I am grateful I am able to do half of my usual walk, it’s better than none.” And I’m really grateful for the days I’ve been able to complete my routine route! I’ve focused on keeping the habit going. Focusing on what I CAN DO and what is going well, rather than fixating on what I can’t accomplish. By reframing the situation, my resulting emotions are feeling confident, in control, and hopeful.

    So as we look with excitement to 2019, join us in making New Year’s Solutions and resolving to do more of  things that we do well!

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

  • Fresh Views

    Do you need a “secret drawer”? A strategy to reduce stress and identify solutions

    “Solitude is where one discovers one is not alone.” –Marty Rubin

    Puma in her secret drawer

    We love animals, and believe in the therapy pets can provide. We also believe we can learn from them.  

    One of Deb’s cats has a secret drawer where she hides when life gets a little too stressful.  She’ll use that alone time to calm down, and when she’s ready, she’ll come out and face the world again. Her resource to foster her strengths is a secret drawer. It’s her stress management.

    Do you ever feel like you need a “secret drawer”, where you can think about things and reframe your focus on things that are going well?  (Check out our January 2, 2019 post for more thoughts on reframing).

    Are you someone who re-energizes by taking some alone time? Or by spending time in a group?  If you’ve ever completed a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Personality Test you understand this concept. In Myers-Briggs, an introvert replenishes their energy with much needed alone time, because their energy is drained when with a group (which differs from the common thought that introverts are simply quiet and shy). An extrovert, however, needs to be around others to “fill their tank” and recharge. 

    When employing a solution focused approach to help others create solutions, it’s key to understand how people re-energize. To help flush this out, we can explore where they get their strength from? How they have coped in the past? How they have managed?  When they answer these questions, it’s then possible to identify the type of solution they have engaged in, and encourage them to engage in these helpful behaviors more often. Keep in mind, when using a solution focused approach, the solutions do not have to be directly related to any identified problem. The focus is on what the desired future for the individual is, and pinpointing how to move in that direction.  So when things are going well, we want to encourage engaging in behaviors from that time, more often.

    What resources can you pull from when you need a secret drawer? If a little down time helps reduce stress or gives your mind the bandwidth to think and identify solutions, then take a secret drawer break. Or, maybe going out with people is what you need. Maybe you need a little of both, depending on the day.

    A secret drawer may help you focus on and identify your solutions.

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