It’s Not Just What You Eat, But How You Eat That Matters
Old habits die hard. You may have a healthy meal plan, a fridge full of healthy foods, and a new exercise program in place. It may seem like you are on the road to success in getting your weight and diabetes under control.But just one stressful day could make you reach for the ice cream. Eating habits can be hard to change, and can get in the way of healthy progress if you are not careful.
Follow the tips below to learn how to be in tune with what and how you eat:
- Think about your bad eating habits:The first step in changing your bad habits is to become more aware of what those habits are. Once you know what they are, you can change them into healthier habits.Try using a notebook to record each food and drink you consume for 3 days. Include time of day, portion sizes, and where you consumed each meal or snack. It would also be helpful to write down the reason you ate certain foods; were you hungry or just stressed? Were you at an event that had lots of food? Were you bored? Be honest with yourself when logging your food so you can get a clear picture of your bad habits. After the three days are over, take a look at your log and create a plan to change those bad habits.
- Think about where you eat:Where you eat can have a big impact on how you eat.Many of us eat in stressful or distracting areas, like in the office, in our car, or in front of the TV at home. If you eat while your eyes are focused on other things, like a TV, your brain may not register the feeling of fullness after a meal, which could lead to overeating.Try to eat your meals and snacks in low-stress places such as on a park bench, on your patio, or in a more calm and pleasant space in the house. The best place to eat is your kitchen or dining room table. Whether alone or with loved ones, eating at a table meant for meals can allow you to focus on your hunger cues.If you notice immediately when you are full, you can stop overeating.
- Enjoy non-food related hobbies:Start a new hobby or learn a new skill that engages your creative sideand distracts you from food triggers. Sewing, knitting, gardening, playing a musical instrument, scrap booking, or playing a board game are just a few ways you can keep your mind busy so that you don’teat when you aren’t hungry.
Managing your diabetes and weight is not just about numbers. It involves being aware of the bad habits that can affect how, where, and why you eat.
Janice Baker, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, certified nutrition support clinician and Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management in San Diego, has worked extensively with people living with diabetes, weight management and other health issues.
Revised by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN