Welcome to DiabetesCare.net - 30 Years of Listening
By Sharon Howard

It is with great excitement and pleasure that I begin my relationship with you through this new website, DiabetesCare.net. As I thought about my inaugural article, I have been reflecting on my 30 years as a dietitian in nutrition counseling. What have I learned from my clients? What makes some very successful, and others fall away? Is there one diet plan, one ultimate way, to help clients control blood sugars, lose weight, improve their health? What wisdom could I pass on?

As we begin a New Year, a common personal theme is to lose weight. Many people with type 2 diabetes do need to lose weight-the closer to a healthy BMI (body mass index) the better. Weight management is a primary treatment for diabetes. We also try to make commitments to exercise regularly - as evidenced by the crowded gyms in January and the workout equipment as holiday gifts.
I asked myself - do my readers really need another article on “top ten tips for weight loss” or “how to get fit in five minutes a day?” What can I offer you that might be less sophomoric and more profound? My reflections have unveiled the following three concepts that successful clients embody. As you embark on your personal New Year renewal, no matter how you go about making changes, consider these core issues:
Focus
What you focus on will happen. You certainly can’t make personal changes by wishing you did not have diabetes or coveting size 8 clothes, or occasionally thinking about taking a walk. What is it you are wanting? What will it take to achieve this? Is this goal of a high priority in your life right now? What plans do you need to make? What support do you need? Can you make changes that are sustainable? You need to see yourself and your challenges clearly, and deal with the issues realistically.  
When one of my clients makes regular appointments with me to work on his or her health, the mere connection of the commitment highlights, or focuses, the clients’ goals, intentions, plans and actions. DiabetesCare.net strives to provide a connection - albeit through the wonders of internet technology - that will help you focus on your health goals.
Confidence
You need to have confidence in your support team and yourself. You must feel you are receiving competent medical care from your doctor, and the support people, such as your dietitian or diabetes nurse, and be secure that they are all knowledgeable and talented to help you stay focused on your own health. People you trust can inspire you. You also need to have confidence in yourself - no matter how many times you have tried to lose weight, stop smoking, or lower your A1C. Each time you set forth on this personal improvement journey, you have the history of what doesn’t work well for you, and the hope that this time you have confidence in yourself and those around you to succeed. DiabetesCare.net offers Forums and Blogs to ask questions, find support, and hear others inspiring stories
Self
You are unique, you are powerful, and you are worthy. You must matter so much to yourself that you get up 30 minutes earlier to walk on the treadmill, or you pass up that brownie in the break room, even when no one is looking. It takes self-love to care enough to prick you finger a couple of times a day to monitor your blood sugar, keep your prescriptions filled, and not take second helpings. You are the only one who can control your own behavior - you are responsible for you. As you truly believe you are capable - you will take better care of yourself and reap the rewards.  By now, you probably know enough about the basics to lose weight, but you haven’t put that knowledge to work for you. Once you feel the confidence and get focused - it is all possible. DiabetsCare.net can be the place where you build your own personal health record, such as tracking your blood sugars or exercise sessions.
(Coming Next Week: Sharon will help you get started with “the basic ground rules.”)
Sharon O`Melia Howard, who serves as a member of DiabetesCare.net’s Healthcare Advisory Board, is also a registered dietitian with more than 25 years experience counseling individuals with nutrition issues including diabetes, weight loss, eating disorders, lipid disorders, celiac disease, renal disease, and bariatric nutrition. Sharon is also a charter Fellow of the American Dietetic Association and a Certified Diabetes Educator. Read Sharon’s DiabetesCare.net blog.