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  • Diabetes: Coping With Your Feelings About Your Diet

Diabetes: Coping With Your Feelings About Your Diet

Introduction

Our emotions influence what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat. So negative feelings can interfere with your ability to follow your diet for diabetes.

  • If you feel that certain foods, such as chocolate cake, are "bad," you may feel guilty after eating a piece.
  • If you are angry because you think you can't eat the foods you like, you may feel resentful.
  • If you are afraid that you may gain weight or develop other problems, you may not eat enough food.

After you accept your negative feelings about diabetes and your diet, you will be more likely to let go of these feelings. Then you can more easily learn and successfully follow a healthy diet.

Your feelings can also help you follow your diet for diabetes. If you feel like you are doing something good for your health, you may feel motivated. Then you may feel even better about your diet and yourself.

To deal with your feelings effectively:

  • Learn about your diet for diabetes. You will be surprised to learn that you can have all the types of foods you like. All you need to do is fit them into your meal or snack plan.
  • Talk with other people who successfully follow the diet for diabetes. Find out what foods they like and how they have worked them into their meals.
  • Try new foods and new recipes to put some variety into your meals so you will not feel deprived.
 

Feelings can be positive or negative. Feelings affect how we think and behave. Dealing with a negative feeling means:

  • Recognizing it. Name the feeling, whether it is anger, sadness, resentment, fear, or something else. For instance, some pregnant women are afraid that their baby might be harmed by diabetes.
  • Accepting it. Feelings are not right or wrong. You are not a "bad" person because you have certain feelings. It is what you do with your feelings that matters.
  • Letting go of it. After you have named and accepted your feeling, you can release its hold on you.

Test Your Knowledge

There are no right or wrong feelings, and you are not a "bad" person for having negative feelings.

  • True
    This answer is correct.

    There are no right or wrong feelings, and you are not a "bad" person for having negative feelings. You can deal with them by recognizing them as feelings, accepting them, and letting go of them.

  • False
    This answer is incorrect.

    There are no right or wrong feelings, and you are not a "bad" person for having negative feelings. You can deal with them by recognizing them as feelings, accepting them, and letting go of them.

  •  

Recognizing anger and resentment toward the diet for diabetes is the first step in dealing with those feelings.

  • True
    This answer is correct.

    Recognizing anger and resentment toward following the diet for diabetes is the first step in dealing with those feelings.

  • False
    This answer is incorrect.

    Recognizing anger and resentment toward following the diet for diabetes is the first step in dealing with those feelings.

  •  

Continue to Why?

 

Negative feelings can get in the way of your ability to learn about and follow your diet that is very important for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range.

  • Feeling deprived of your favorite foods may cause you to eat more of those foods, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
  • Feeling afraid of complications from diabetes may cause you to eat too little food, resulting in low blood sugar emergencies.
  • Feeling angry or resentful about having to follow a special diet may cause you to resist learning about the diet, which will affect your ability to carry out your treatment.

Test Your Knowledge

Negative feelings do not interfere with your ability to follow a balanced diet.

  • True
    This answer is incorrect.

    Negative feelings can interfere with your ability to follow a balanced diet. They may cause you to resist learning about and following the diet.

  • False
    This answer is correct.

    Negative feelings can interfere with your ability to follow a balanced diet. They may cause you to resist learning about and following the diet.

  •  

Continue to How?

 

Give yourself permission

People often think that following a diet for diabetes means giving up foods they like and having to eat foods they don't like. If you think a diet for diabetes means you can't eat any of the foods you like, try the following exercise:

  1. As completely as you can, fill in the four lists of foods on the food list cardfood list card(What is a PDF document?).
  2. Examine your lists. Is your "bad for me" list very similar to your "foods I like" list? Is your "good for me" list similar to your "foods I dislike" list? If you think a diet for diabetes has only foods you don't like, consider this.
    • There are no "good" or "bad" foods. All foods can fit into a diet for diabetes.
    • You don't have to give up the foods you like. You can learn how to fit them into a balanced diet.
  3. Cross out the foods in the "foods I dislike" list. You don't have to eat them. You can eat any of the foods in the other three lists. You may need to eat some of the foods (high-sugar foods) in the "foods I like" list in smaller amounts and less frequently to prevent high blood sugar.

Recognize your feelings

From the list below, check all the feelings you have about a diet for diabetes. Add any other negative feelings you have about following the diet.

___ Confused
___ Afraid
___ Angry
___ Deprived or resentful
___ Resistant
___ Other___________________________________

Identify what you may be afraid of, angry about, or resistant to in the feelings diaryfeelings diary(What is a PDF document?).

Don't judge yourself by your feelings. It is what you do with them that matters.

Let go of your negative feelings

Just identifying why you have a negative feeling is not enough to rid you of it—you will need to do something to let go of it. Complete the section of the feelings diary about how you plan to deal with each negative feeling.

You can let go of negative feelings by:

  • Writing about what you feel and reading aloud to yourself what you have written.
  • Talking with your family, a friend, or your diabetes specialist. You may learn that your negative feeling is based on something that is not true.
  • Joining a diabetes support group. Most people with diabetes have had negative feelings and are willing to share how they dealt with those feelings. Call your local affiliate of the American Diabetes Association to find support groups in your area.
  • Getting counseling. If a feeling continues to get in your way of taking care of yourself, talk with a health professional about counseling.

Test Your Knowledge

To deal with your negative feelings, you need to:

  • Just forget about your feelings.
    This answer is incorrect.

    You cannot just forget about your feelings. Any negative feelings that you have can affect your ability to follow your diet. Accept your feelings without judging them. The first step is to recognize them. Then, you can deal with them in a healthy way so they don't interfere with your ability to care for yourself.

  • Eat only foods on your "dislike" list.
    This answer is incorrect.

    You don't have to eat any food that you don't like. Accept your feelings without judging them. First, recognize them, then accept them. Next, you can deal with them in a healthy way so they don't interfere with your ability to care for yourself.

  • Accept your feelings.
    This answer is correct.

    You need to accept your feelings without judging them. First, recognize them, then accept them. Next, you can deal with them in a healthy way so they don't interfere with your ability to care for yourself.

  • Talk yourself out of eating "bad" foods.
    This answer is incorrect.

    There are no bad foods. All kinds of foods can be eaten on a diet for diabetes. Accept your feelings without judging them. First, recognize them, then accept them. Next, you can deal with them in a healthy way so they don't interfere with your ability to care for yourself.

  •  

Continue to Where?

 

Now that you have read this information, you may be ready to deal with your negative feelings about a diet for diabetes. You know that positive feelings about yourself and your diet can also help motivate you to stay on your diet for diabetes.

Talk with your diabetes specialist (doctor, registered dietitian, or certified diabetes educator).

If you have questions or have identified areas that you need help with, review them when you visit your diabetes specialist.

If you would like more information on dealing with your feelings about diabetes, the following resources are available:

Organization

American Diabetes Association (ADA)
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA  22311
Phone: 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383)
Email: AskADA@diabetes.org
Web Address: www.diabetes.org
 

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a national organization for health professionals and consumers. Almost every state has a local office. ADA sets the standards for the care of people with diabetes. Its focus is on research for the prevention and treatment of all types of diabetes. ADA provides patient and professional education mainly through its publications, which include the monthly magazine Diabetes Forecast, books, brochures, cookbooks and meal planning guides, and pamphlets. ADA also provides information for parents about caring for a child with diabetes.


Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last Revised October 24, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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