Is it Possible to Maintain The Pleasure of Eating When Dieting?

Learn How to Find Joy in Healthy Eating

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One of the most important components of diabetes education and management is what you eat. Healthy eating can help you to meet blood sugar goals, lose weight, and prevent complications of diabetes. The best diet plans are those that are individualized to meet a person's likes, dislikes, culture, schedule, and, most importantly, to improve overall health. It sounds easy, but often isn't. Changing your diet can require additional planning.

Often, following a set meal plan can get you jump started, but following a strict diet that eliminates certain food groups or the pleasure of eating will likely be short lived, and you'll find yourself reverting back to old eating habits. Instead, being consistent and adopting a new way of eating can change your life for good. You are more likely to stick to a plan if you actually enjoy it.  

The American Diabetes Association recommends the following goals for nutrition therapy: 

  • Maintain the pleasure of eating by creating positive images about food choices and limiting food choices only when supported by scientific evidence 
  • Use practical tools for day-to-day meal planning rather than focusing on individual macronutrients, micronutrients or single foods 

It might sound like it's impossible to change your eating habits and still find pleasure in eating, but there are ways to do this. In fact, healthy food is delicious.

And when you are in a routine of eating healthfully, it becomes a habit, a new way of life rather than a quick diet fad. Here's how to get started: 

Find Joy in Meal Planning and Preparing: 

If you've never cooked a meal in your life, odds are you won't become an expert chef overnight and you may not love doing it.

To get excited, start with the basics and learn how to put simple ingredients together. Tidy up your refrigerator so that you have an idea of what you are working with - being organized will help you meal plan. And there is nothing better than eating something that you've prepared at home, especially when it's nutritious and delicious. Get started with this: 

When Possible Plan Ahead: 

Try to become enthusiastic about eating by planning your meals ahead of time. If you know you are going to a work lunch, look at the menu before hand so that you know what you'll order before you arrive. Or if you know your are going to have a hectic day on-the-go pack your snacks the night before. Odds are that if you have healthy options on hand your are more likely to eat them. You will feel accomplished and energized.

And the better your feel the happier you'll be. 

Start by preparing vegetables in bulk so that you may incorporate them into meals. Non starchy vegetables are probably the only food group you can eat without worrying about gaining weight. Other ideas for meal planning: 

5 Simply Delicious and Nutritious Lower Carbohydrate Breakfast Choices 

5 Lunch Choices You Must Try 

All About Snacking with Type 2 Diabetes 

Be Kind to Yourself: 

We all get cravings. It is okay to have a treat from time to time - that is part of making eating enjoyable. But, if you slip up and overindulge, accept it and move on. Tomorrow is a new day. Beating yourself up can leave you feeling down and defeated. Instead, find a way to decide to let it go and start fresh again at the next meal, snack or day. Learn how to make your treats worth your while and prevent yourself from overeating:

Top Dietitian Approved Treats for Dark Chocolate Lovers 

Festive Fruity Desserts 

Sugar Free Does Not Mean Carbohydrate Free 

Kick the Late Night Eating Habit Today 

Sources: 

American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2015. Diabetes Care. 2015 Jan; 38 (Suppl 1): S1-90.

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