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Dietician also helps out

Although Pautz said she gives general nutritional information on matters such as basic carb counting, the different types of fats (choosing mono unsaturated vs. saturated fats), portion sizes, and low sodium referrals are made to a dietician at CMC when certain individuals need a more stringent diet.

A balanced diet is something everyone should be eating, not just the diabetic. So within a family, a special meal should not be cooked for the diabetic and the others. To achieve nutritional meals, Pautz recommends the plate method which governs quantity.

“Portion size is a big problem for many of us. I teach patients easy ways to visualize proper portions by using the palm of their hand as equivalent to three ounces, a tight fist as half a cup, a loose fist as one cup, and cheese the size of one’s thumb . When eating out take home some of it for another meal or use a 10-inch plate at home,” Pautz said.

An occasional treat such as ice cream, a cookie, or dark chocolate allows one to maintain a balanced diet without feeling like a martyr.

Pautz suggests that patients keep a food log, to record the types of things they enjoy eating. She also encourages them to find healthy substitutes. Identifying things that can be swapped with that bag of chips after supper. The log helps one recognize what one is doing well such as giving up soda and eating more fruits and vegetables. Pautz said she individualizes advice as much as she can. If what is suggested is too different from what the patient is accustomed to they will not do it. Questions are asked of the patient such as who does the shopping, what kinds of foods do you like, who prepares the food and what is your usual routine?

It is demonstrated that when healthy foods are kept in the house, children will learn good eating habits. “It does sink in; they do learn it. Involving the children in shopping, in the preparation of the food and setting the table helps them internalize the eating of healthy foods and habits,” she said.

Pautz said perfection is not expected. Patients learn and do their best and make improvements in their diet. When you use up a product at home, next time you go to the grocery store look around for something with more fiber, less salt and sugar. Look at nutrition labels, and in doing that gradually introduce new foods to your family.

Pautz suggests that we not eat the same food all the time. The body can detect the difference between non-saturated fats and saturated fats. Eating a variety of foods, especially those high in fiber, helps bump up your metabolism.

Exercise is a challenge

Pautz said the hardest thing for people, is exercise. On her wish list, Pautz would like a community facility where patients could walk, use exercise equipment and do so safely. One such facility could have hours for women only, offering yoga and Zumba classes. A fitness room at the hospital can only accommodate four persons at a time.

Pautz would also like to see a support group established locally. Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, has a support group that meets once a month. “I would like to see something like that get off the ground here,” Pautz said.

Seminars for diabetics and their family members are helpful, said Pautz who follows up with a second seminar on nutrition. Support from family members helps manage the disease.

A Healthy Living Cooking School put on by Calumet Medical Center at the Engler Center for the Performing Arts (Chilton High School) was held Monday, April 1. A cooking demonstration with Chef Jason took place along with interactive booths, displays and refreshments.

A self-management workshop titled “Living Well with Diabetes” is a six-week program on Wednesdays which started on April 17. It takes place at Fox Valley Technical College and might be repeated in the future.

Hosted by the Chilton Alliance Church, a Women’s Break Away took place at the Engler Center for the Performing Arts (Chilton High School) with a number of seminar topics on Saturday, April 20. One of the presenters was Pautz, who talked on preventing and managing diabetes, including diet and exercise, labwork, weight loss, medication and the prevention of complications.