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Are you someone who is always trying to lose weight because your doctor or nurse says you should saying it will help your Diabetes? Even if you haven’t got anything wrong with you they might have told you to lose weight because you might get diabetes.
Having said that what if by going on a diet it leads to disordered eating and feelings of guilt and shame. Perhaps you don’t want to attend your doctor because, you are worried that, they will concentrate on your failing to lose weight or you only go to appointments when you are on your diet to lose weight which isn’t a lot of the time. Does this ring any bells? Are you to blame because you haven’t the will power to succeed. Does this make you an unworthy person one who has to try harder?
If you are someone who has thought like this, there is another way one where you can look after your health including your diabetes care. It is the non-diet approach. Now, when I say non-diet I mean not dieting to lose weight. There are dietary changes you can consider to help your health, which includes diabetes care, that are not about losing weight. Some people when they make these changes may lose weight others will not and some may even gain but there health is likely to improve.
At the heart of the non-diet approach to health is self-acceptance, self-compassion and mindfulness. When you follow this approach and you start to eat mainly in response to hunger and fullness and accept that there are no bad foods. Food is just food. You start to let go of the guilt surrounding your body and your food. This frees you up to start looking at the real questions about your diabetes care. These might include how does high or low blood glucose levels make me feel. How do I feel when I eat in a certain way? What foods or combination of foods do I enjoy and make me feel good, and perhaps how does this affect my blood glucose level.
This approach also frees you to look at other areas of your life that may affect your diabetes health. Are you aware that stress can adversely affect your blood glucose level? Perhaps you have not thought about this because you have been concentrating on weight loss being the answer. Another area to consider is physical activity. Are you someone who when you are ‘being good’ exercises a lot, not necessarily for pleasure or fun, but because it will help you lose weight and stops exercising when the dieting stops. When people gain the freedom of the non-diet approach they will often start exercising for pure pleasure and how it makes them feel. When trying to diet you might feel it’s not worth going for a 10 minute walk but when you are following this new path you might go for a 10 minute walk to enjoy the fresh air or to take a breather from whatever you are doing and get your head showered.
So don’t think I can’t do the non-diet approach for health because I have diabetes but, rather maybe I should consider this approach as I have been trying to diet for years with little success at keeping weight off. If this is an approach you wish to try please consider talking to a dietitian who has experience with the non-diet approach and with diabetes care as they will help you deal with not only this approach but this will be done in conjunction with discussion about your diabetes health, maybe looking at how you may need to take any medication you are on for diabetes into consideration and help you understand your diabetes better.