Mindful Eating With Diabetes

Learning to be more mindful can allow us to pause and think through a situation rather than be reactive.  Here are the principles of mindfulness and considerations that may help with diabetes self- care.

Food is easily available and often used as a way of coping with stress and difficult situations.  Many people who struggle with diabetes have unresolved food related issues.   When people are diagnosed with diabetes, the relationship with food gets further strained with added pressure to change eating behavior for managing diabetes.  This pressure creates the perfect storm for mindless eating decisions and overeating. 

Mindful Eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom. 
  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.   
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.
  • Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

Someone Who Eats Mindfully:

  • Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
  • Accepts that their eating experiences are unique.
  • Is an individual who by choice, directs their attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis.
  • Gains awareness of how they can make choices that support health and wellbeing.
  • Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of their food choices on those systems.
  • If you want to get started in the process of mindful eating consider seeking out a Registered Dietitian to find a registered dietitian in your area click eatright.org. 

Here are a few strategies for increasing awareness

  • Sit down to eat as often as possible.  
  • Eat without distractions such as television, reading, working, using your computer
  • Give yourself enough time to enjoy the dining experience.  Start with 15 min devoted to eating your meal

Principles of Mindfulness:

  • Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally, in the present moment.
  • Mindfulness encompasses both internal processes and external environments.
  • Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in the present moment.
  • With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
  • Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is.

Mindful eating or eating with intention and attention can be a helpful strategy to better manage your food intake and enhance your overall diabetes management.  By paying attention to the decisions made around food, it can have significant impact on making healthier food decisions, increase satisfaction with food choices, and even assist with eating less food overall which, are often challenges for those with diabetes.

Check out some other helpful content for managing diabetes here!

Most recent update: 10/16/2017

Sources:

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/women/eating-disorders.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/,  http://www.joslin.org/info/Eating_Disorders_Diabulimia_in_Type_1_Diabetes.htmlhttp://www.diabetesforecast.org/2013/mar/hope-in-the-world-of-eating-disorders-and-diabetes.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/, American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, www.eatright.orghttp://www.springer.com/medicine/psychiatry/journal/40519

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