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4 steps to better diabetes control in Colorado

JUL 10, 2017
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When it comes to managing your diabetes, keeping track of your numbers, lifestyle habits, and medication may feel overwhelming sometimes. If you ever find that you’re hard on yourself when things don’t go perfectly, you’re not alone. To help ease this struggle, Anna Cosyleon, MD, a Kaiser Permanente physician lead for diabetes and hypertension, says that balance is key.


“With diabetes,” says Dr. Cosyleon, “People have a lot of self-blame. I try to take away the blame.”


How 4 steps add up to a powerful approach


Dr. Cosyleon’s approach is to teach patients these 4 basic steps. When applied together, she says the steps complement each other like the ingredients in a recipe.


“You don’t make soup with just potatoes,” says Dr. Cosyleon. “Expecting too much out of one ingredient results in an imbalanced product.”


When you combine these steps, you get an empowering strategy that can make managing your diabetes much easier — and sometimes even fun.


1. Know your numbers


“If people know their blood glucose numbers, and what controlled blood glucose is, a sense of failure is replaced by a great sense of success when they make improvements,” says Dr. Cosyleon.


2. Add activity


“You don’t have to run a marathon,” says Dr. Cosyleon. “Find something fun and run with it.”


Take up salsa dancing, yoga, martial arts, or water aerobics. Download an activity app to your smartphone and track your progress.


3. Have fun with food


If it’s “crunch” you crave, ditch chips for carrots and apples. If you have a sweet tooth, reach for fruit when it’s time for dessert. Choose water infused with cucumber, mint, or citrus instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.


And try a new seasonal fruit or vegetable every month. It’s a great way to surprise yourself with a new favorite.


4. Adopt a team mentality


Remember that you’re not in this alone. Take a class, join a support group, or meet with a registered dietitian. See your personal physician regularly, and enlist your family to help you achieve your goals.


A story of success


At age 64, Frank La Sala of Longmont, Colorado is proof that a solid strategy can help you live well with diabetes. After joining Kaiser Permanente in 2015, he received an invitation to participate in the Diabetes: Learn to Take Charge class.


“That got me started,” says La Sala. “Then I took the Healthy Connections class.”


Those classes, plus a year-long weight loss program, helped La Sala build a strategy to manage his diabetes. His blood sugar is now under control, he’s lost 20 pounds, and it’s easier for him to get around.


“I’m the kind of person who needs someone to come alongside me and give me a jump-start,” says La Sala. “I’m so glad Kaiser Permanente got me plugged in.”


You can take charge just like Frank La Sala did. To find classes on diabetes, prevention, and nutrition available in your area, visit


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