Native American Diabetes Project

Meeting 4: Together We Can

It's great to have you here! You and your family are so important to us. As we usually do, let's take a few minutes to review our last time together.

So far we've talked a lot about exercise, fat, and sugar. We said healthy exercise is:


At least 20 minutes, all at one time.
3-4 times per week.
Your heart beats faster.
You sweat a little.
You breathe a little harder than usual.
You feel you are working a little.
It's easy enough to talk to someone
       while you're exercising, and
It's fun!

Exercise can prevent diabetes!

Eat less
We said eating less fat is important. Ways you could eat less fat are:

Cook with less butter and lard.
Buy leaner cuts of meat.
Rinse and drain cooked ground beef with hot water.
Trim the fat off of meat and chicken and throw
       it away before cooking.
Skim fat off soup and stews.
Bake, broil, and boil meat instead of frying.
Drink low fat or nonfat milk instead of regular whole milk.

Eating less
And we said there are five easy ways to eat less sugar.

Eat sugar-free Jell-O and sugar-free pudding.
Use a sugar substitute.
Drink sugar-free soft drinks, punch, and Kool-aid.
Eat fewer sweets like cakes, pies, cookies and
       sweet snacks and eat them less often.
Use less sugar in everything you eat!

As we
on our
Sit back and relax as we continue our journey,
Through the Eyes of the Eagle!

As we continue on our journey with the Eagle, the Eagle sees his Native People are getting out and around. Slowly the people come out by one's, then two's, to work and enjoy the riches and beauty that Mother Earth gives. The people are walking and beginning to run, slowly getting stronger as their blood sugars come down.

As others see them getting stronger, they too want to be stronger, so they join in until everyone is exercising, and eating less fat and sugar. People are talking, sharing their ideas of what they can do to continue to grow healthier.

Strong in
Body and
Soon the children and grandchildren know exercise and eating healthful foods are necessary for good health and strength. Through learning and examples taught by the parents and grandparents, the children have the wisdom of knowing that exercise, and healthful eating will keep their blood sugars down and may prevent diabetes.

can feel
Strong in
Body and

Like times of old, the Eagle sees people walking and doing all kinds of exercise. He sees the women preparing delicious foods that are low in fat and low in sugar.

He sees people eating out, and choosing foods that are healthful for their bodies. The Eagle sees people learning from each other and giving support and encouragement to others as they make healthy changes in their exercise and eating habits. The Eagle sees this sharing of knowledge and giving support as helping everone feel Strong in Body in Spirit!

We've learned that exercise and eating foods that are low in fat and low in sugar are good for everyone. We also learned that more exercise may prevent or postpone diabetes in the people you care about. Just think about that! Through your example, you may prevent diabetes in your children and grandchildren.

So now you are on your way to exercising and eating healthy foods! And you want to make these changes for the rest of your life. After all, you're doing this for you, and your family!

What is

Today you will be learning how to ask for and give support.

Think about your garden for a minute. The plants are tall and strong. The roots and the soil keep the plants strong, through the sunny days, as well as the stormy days. Our families and friends are like the roots and soil of the corn plants in our gardens, giving us support through the good and bad times. This is what we mean by the word "support".

Yet you may still wonder how to get support from your family and friends? The best way to get support is to ask for it.

5 easy ways
to ask for
Ask in a way that gives respect to the person you are talking to. Here are some ideas about how to do this:
1. Choose
the right
1. Choose the right time. Choose a time when you and your family or friend are rested and in a positive mood. Don't ask for something if you or the other person is tired, busy, angry, hungry, grumpy, or worried about something else.
2. Introduce
the idea.
2.Introduce your idea. Don't beat around the bush or your family and friends won't know that this is important to you.
3. Say why
you need
3. Say why you need their help. It helps if your family and friends know you have a reason for asking. It lets them know their help is important.
4. Say what
you need.
4. Say exactly what you need. Unless your family and friends know exactly what it is you need, they can't really help in the best way possible. Speak calmly - dont' shout. Speak clearly - don't demand. Stay positive - don't accuse.
5. Thank
your family
and friends.
5. Thank your family and friends for their help. Let them know you appreciate their help and support.

don't shout.



Let's take a few minutes and watch a video about a Hollywood comedian who has diabetes.

The film is pretty funny. It's called "Diabetes: A Positive Approach to Life, Love, and Financial Success" (well, life anyway). It's from the American Diabetes Association. Let's watch it.

How did Tom deal with his diabetes?

How did Tom ask his family and friends
       for support?

What did Tom's family and friends do to
       support him with his diabetes?

Help each
other make
So how can you use your new ideas to get you and your family and friends to help each other to get more exercise and eat foods low in fat and sugar?

Let's pretend we are listening to a woman and her husband. She is asking for his support in making healthy changes. Let's try this role playing scene together!

Let's pretend that a woman named Marie has decided to make some changes in her life by exercising more and eating low fat and low sugar foods. She would like to ask her husband, Mike, for his support with these changes, but wonders what he will say.

Marie chooses a time when the kids have gone to bed and the dishes are done.

1. Choose
the right
Marie: You know I went to the doctor today, and my blood sugar is doing better, but it still isn't great.

Mike: Hmm.

2. Introduce
the idea.
Marie: My doctor said that keeping my blood sugar under very good control can help me prevent complications. And I really don't want to end up on dialysis like Mom did.

Mike: Yeah, I don't want that to happen to you either.

3. Say why
you need
Marie: You know the doctor said the best way to keep my blood sugar down is if I would get more exercise and eat foods that are low in fat and low in sugar.

Mike: Really? Well, I guess that means no more good food, huh?

Marie: Well, I don't know. I saw the dietitian today, too. She told me about some ways to eat less fat and less sugar and still have foods that taste good! So, I'm thinking about trying out some of her ideas, so all of us can eat less fat and sugar and be healthier. But I need your help to do this.

Mike: You're going to change our food? What if it's not any good? All of those "diet" foods cost more, and we don't have a lot of money to waste.

Marie: Yeah, I always thought it would cost more too, but I found out it doesn't have to. Actually eating less fat and less sugar can save money. I want to try cooking some foods the low fat and low sugar way and make them healthier for all of us. I've tried some chicken posole, and sugar free Jell-O and they tasted great!

Oh, and did you know that exercise and eating less fat and less sugar can actually prevent or delay diabetes?!

Mike: Really? You mean by doing these things our kids might not get diabetes?

4. Say what
you need.
Marie: Yeah! Exercise and eating low fat and low sugar foods can really help! I sure don't want the kids to get diabetes when they get older! So if we exercise and eat healthy foods together, we can still help each other. I want you and the kids to be healthy, because I love you. So, what do you think? Will you help?

Mike: That's incredible! Yeah, we'd better get started on this. It's important for the whole family.

Marie: I promise I'll try to make good tasting low fat and low sugar food if you will give this a try. Can we plan to go for a walk tomorrow night, too?

Mike: Sure, as soon as we get home from work. Let's take the kid's too!

5. Thank
your family
and friends.
Marie: Thank you! You know, you're a great guy! I'm sure glad I married you.

Now, you
try it!
How would you deal with this problem?

Linda has diabetes and has just made the switch to diet pop. Linda has gone to Mary's house where they are going to work on pottery together. Mary doesn't have diabetes herself and doesn't know that Linda does. Mary offers Linda a regular Coke. Linda knows that whenever she drinks regular Coke, her blood sugar goes very high and she really doesn't want this to happen.

In what ways can Linda handle this situation?

1. Choose
the right


3. Say that
you need

4. Say what
you need.

5. Thank

What difficult situations have you or your family or friends had? Let's list some.

--How can I ask my friend for a sugar substitute instead of sugar?

--How do I tell my family I need to eat at a set time because
    of my medication?

--How can I say I need to eat right away because my blood sugar
    is dropping?

--How do I handle it when I can't find anything to eat or drink
    when I attend a gathering?

Now let's go through and think of ways to handle each situation. Remember to use the five easy ways to ask for support.

Don't give
Asking for help and support takes practice. At first it may seem awkward and strange. It might not even work the first time around. Your family and friends need to know that diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed through exercise and eating low fat and low sugar foods. And they need to know that eating low fat and low sugar foods can prevent or postpone diabetes!!

on our

Keep these helpful hints in mind:
Choose the right time to talk to your family or friend.

Introduce your idea.

Say why you need help.

Say what you need.

Thank your family or friend for his/her help.

Keep practicing. It will get easier!

Like the roots of the plants in our gardens, our families and friends are our support. Our family and friends give us help and encouragement. And, we in turn give our family and friends help and encouragement, too.

Plan to ask
for and give
Just like with your garden, your exercise, and eating low fat and low sugar foods, you have to plan how you will ask for and give support. Take a few minutes and think about some ways you can plan to ask for support and give support this week.

This week, in order to ask for support, I will


(ask my wife to help me make changes in my eating and exercising).

This week, in order to give support, I will


(help shop for low fat and low sugar foods).

My reward at the end of the week is


(I will go for a walk with my family)

I promise to do the best I can.

A new vision
for you!
Be proud like the eagle and spread your wings. You have much knowledge to share with your family and friends. Not only are you wiser, but healthier too, as you reach each goal with your family or friend. Your community is also healthier because of you. Each important step that you have taken now becomes a part of a brighter tomorrow.

Thank you, Great Spirit, for our family and friends. May we continue to grow as one community for a healthier tomorrow through supporting and sharing in time of need and joy.

And thank you, Great Spirit, for each and every day that we can enjoy your blessings that you have given us.

What do
you think?
Before we finish, take a few minutes and tell us what you think about this meeting. Be as honest as you can, we want to know what you really think. This information will be used to make our program better.

What did you like best about today's session?

What didn't you like about today's session?

What would you add to this session to make it better?

Remeber to bring your notebooks and calendars to the next meeting. Thank you for coming to the meeting.

  |Native Diabetes Project |Back to Top of the Page|
|Meeting 1: Exercise More! |Meeting 2: Eat Less Fat|
|Meeting 3: Eat Less Sugar |Meeting 4: Together We Can|
|Meeting 5: Staying on the Path!|

Copyright January 1995, First Edition, University of New Mexico, School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM 87131.