When you have Type 2 diabetes eating can be tricky. I still struggle with what I eat, because everything I eat has limitations. I’ve seen a nutritionist, an education specialist, I belong to a group for Type 2, and yet I still struggle to find balance when eating.
Changing the Way You Think About Food
How do you change your mindset when thinking about eating the right foods. I don’t eat out much, and 75% of what I eat is home cooked because clean eating allows you to control what goes into your food. My problem wasn’t necessarily what I was eating [ok some of was] but how I was eating.
When I was first diagnosed grocery shopping became stressful. It was everything I wanted but couldn’t have. I remember crying over my first few dinners because my food was tasteless, and I thought I had to cut out everything. What I knew at that time was very little, and what I didn’t know, took all the pleasure out of cooking and eating.
Changing the mindset was and still is challenging and I’ve learned to never deny myself something when I want it as long as it’s in moderation. If you start a habit of associating food that’s good for you with regret, you’re not going to want to eat better.
Portions are key when you’re trying to eat healthier. because your plate should be divided so that veggies take up half [1/2] your plate, your protein is [1/4], and your starch is [1/4].
This is really all you need, and it’s your brain that telling your stomach that you need more when you actually don’t need it. If you eat until your just satisfied, but not stuffed … you get to have some light dessert after your meal.
Eating will always be one of those things that I have to constantly re-think because it’s learned behavior. My nutritionist always says … swap that cookie for an apple. That’s easier said than done.
My brain knows the apple is better for me, but it also knows that I’ll get the most satisfaction from that cookie. This tells me that learning to change that receptor in my brain is the greatest challenge. I know if I have that apple as a snack that I ‘ll be full, and my carb count will be lower.
Some swaps are easy … when I want ice cream. I’ll opt for the So Delicious Coconut Milk Sandwich or an almond milk ice cream bar. All of these things work in my favor, but once again I have invite change.
Before I started with a nutrition program, I used [and still do] an app called My Plate to help track my meals and count carbs. This really lets me see how many carbs are in a bag of chips, cookies, or that baked potato.
There is no magic website or book that’s all-knowing, to tell you how many carbs you should be consuming in a day. This number depends on your gender, age, and body type. My doctor says that I should stay under 165 carbs per day. Which means 30-40 carbs per meal, and snacks should be no more than 15 cabs.
I had to look at grocery shopping in a whole new light. For instance, all the healthy items are either where you can’t reach them or on the bottom shelf. All the bad crap is eye level. At least now … grocery stores have a “gluten-free” or “healthy snacks” isle to make things easier to navigate.
I also read A LOT of nutrition labels. If an item has more than 5 ingredients [ok maybe 6], or if a snack has more than 20 grams of carbs, I move on. It’s daunting [not gonna lie] and I’ve gone from enjoying grocery shopping to dreading it. I know in the long-run that a healthier, cleaner lifestyle is best but it’s not easy. It’s also really expensive.
I have cut down cost in other ways because I don’t eat any microwave meals. On holidays and special occasions, I will have a small piece of cake or half a serving of something sweet. During this process, I’ve also looked into Plated, Hello Fresh, and Thrive Market which has great alternatives and healthy options. You can customize the dinners to your dietary needs.
I know that my outlook may seem daunting, but I’m learning to have a better handle on my eating habits. Having type 2 diabetes is not a death sentence. It’s taught me to appreciate food in ways I never thought I would.
I can still have the foods I like and enjoy what I want to eat but I have to make sure that I’m always making better choices about what goes into my body. I know this only scratches the surface but I hope it’s helpful for someone out there who may be struggling.
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header Photo by … Jonathan Borba
portions photo #1 by … Libby Penner
portions photo #2 by … Heather Ford
Swapping Photo #1 by … Libby Penner
Swapping Photo #2 by … Heather Ford
Grocery Photo by … Jakub Kapusnak
Counting Carbs Photo by … Pixabay