You Can’t Change What You Don’t Acknowledge

Little girl covering her eyes

When my kids were small, I looked forward to my one hour a day with Dr. Phil. No, I didn’t spend time with him personally but I tuned in to his daily TV show.

You remember him, don’t you? A southern drawl, pop psychology phrases, and a quick “let’s wrap the problem up in one hour” formula and then credits rolled with Dr. Phil trotting off stage with his lovely, perfectly dressed wife, Robin. He made life with crazy in-laws, or out of control neighbors next door seem more manageable and solvable in 60 minutes or less.

I honestly don’t remember much about what went on or what else was said during the years I watched the show (sorry Dr. Phil), but what I do remember is one phrase that he often repeated:

“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”

That was the takeaway phrase for me: 4 years of almost daily watching of Dr. Phil. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. It resonated with me. When you really consider it, there’s a lot in that one little phrase.

First: Acknowledge

This means really looking at your life and owning it.  All of it: the good the bad and the ugly……..confirm that for right here and right now, that’s where you are truly at. For diabetes, this is completely true.  

Another way to think about it is this: if I were talking to my child about health, and they were living the way I am living, would I suggest that they make some changes? Have I put on weight? What is your gym routine? Have I not exercised since PE in 9th grade? Am I eating out 4 nights a week because of baseball/soccer/dance/school? Is my stress out of control?

“Yep, that’s me.” Own it. Acknowledge it.

Then: Consider Change

That can be scary. Maybe it means just taking a diabetes risk assessment and figuring out where you stand. This might mean getting a physical, finding a new doctor, or getting your blood pressure or your A1C (a specialized blood test for diabetes assessment)  checked. Maybe it means connecting with Heritage Health Education, taking some classes, and finding out how to lower your risk of diabetes or pre-diabetes. In my health education classes, we talk about how your body is your Maserati.

Are you treating your body like a broken down Yugo?


With diabetes, the tricky part is often you don’t feel like anything is wrong until you start having problems.  Currently, over 8.1 million (yes, million!) people don’t know they are living with diabetes. That’s almost one in three people and there is a good chance you or someone you love needs to acknowledge where they stand with diabetes.

In this season of giving thanks for the things and people we are grateful for, why not take a minute to give yourself a gift of health and gratitude.  Take a minute to acknowledge where you are at in relationship to diabetes by taking a risk assessment test. Then find out how and what to change.


Rebekah Curtis

Rebekah Curtis is the head of Health Education at Heritage. She is also a mother of two high school students and one college graduate. As a registered nurse and member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Rebekah conducts regular training and classes. She is available for one-on-one consultations in a private setting for any other condition not provided by training or classes. Read her full bio here.