Diabetes Management | By Dr. Sugandh Goel

7 Expert mind tricks to stick to your diet plan for diabetes

December 2021

Sticking to a diet plan is sometimes easier said than done. And, we all know the feeling. More so, if you have diabetes, maintaining a healthy diabetes diet can have its fair share of difficulties day in and day out.

Although there isn’t a universal diabetes diet plan that works for everybody, a diabetes diet means eating the healthiest foods in the right amounts and sticking to regular mealtimes. So a typical diabetes diet plan includes three meals a day with one or two high-protein or high-fibre snacks that help keep your blood sugars stable.

Understandably, it can be a challenge to stick to a healthy diabetes diet for a long time, especially when you are on holiday, when there’s a family party, when you dine out with friends, during festivals, and the list goes on. Undoubtedly, there are umpteen ways by which you can get off your diabetes diet.

To help you stick to your diet plan, we reached out to our in-house expert – Ms Neha Verma, Clinical Psychologist and Head of the Psychology Department at Fitterfly, with 15+ years of experience in patient care. She is a gold medalist in Clinical Psychology and specializes in allied interventions like Mindfulness.

So let’s dive in!

Expert mind tricks to stick to a diabetes diet plan.

So here are 7 expert mind tricks that will help you succeed and stick to your diabetes diet plan:

  1. Know your motivation: Find a powerful motivation to help you stick to the diet plan and remind you what choice you’re making whenever you face temptation. Knowing your motivation will keep you persistent with your goal. For example, I have a friend, Aman, who is getting his diabetes in control so that he’ll be healthy to see his 3-year-old son grow up. When he gets tempted by nasty junk food, he asks himself whether he’d rather eat the sweets or see his son grow up.
  2. Get accompanied, if possible: If there is someone who can join you in following the diabetes-friendly lifestyle, things can become much easier for you. You will have a constant exercise buddy, an accountable friend, someone who keeps a check on you, keeps you motivated and gives you company. The chances of getting deviated from your diabetes diet are less if you do it with someone. And if you’re following your diabetes diet plan with your partner, it may seem like a no-brainer. Since you both will be working towards your individual goals but together.
  3. Out of sight, out of mind: If you have junk food in your kitchen, you’re more likely to give in at some point and eat it. But if you clear your home of these foods and instead replace them with healthy foods like eggs, paneer, tofu, roasted chana, fresh fruits & vegetables, buttermilk etc., you won’t have that temptation. So, clear your fridge and cabinets of candy, chips, cookies, cheese, fried food items, chocolates, sugary drinks, baked sweets, foods made with refined flour, and so on.
  4. Try mindful eating: It is one of the best ways to have good portion control. To practice mindful eating, you should focus all your attention on your food and the experience of eating. Here is how you can practice mindful eating:
             1. Eat your food slowly and take 20-30 mins to finish your meal.
             2. Avoid distractions like T.V., phone, laptop and a tablet while having your meal.
             3. You should chew every bite at least 15-20 times and feel the food’s shape, colour, texture, and flavour.
             4. Keep the spoon down 5-6 times between 3-4 bites.

    Try the technique of mindful eating with a small piece of your favourite chocolate. Eat a small piece of chocolate for 30 mins by paying all your attention to it. You will realize, even a tiny piece of chocolate will also give you the same satisfaction as a full bar of chocolate. Amazing, isn’t it?Similarly, as you are following your diabetes diet plan, by practising mindful eating, you will feel full after having 1 chapati only, whereas, in the past, you might be having 2-3 chapatis. The feeling of satiety is more psychological than physical. This is because it takes longer for the signal to reach your brains that you are full and no longer hungry.
  5. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals to achieve your health goals: If you want to achieve something in life that you are very serious about, like in this case, getting your diabetes in control, you must first define the path that will lead you to your goal. Otherwise, achieving that particular goal can become very difficult. Your path should be planned appropriately, and raw materials like healthy meals, snacks etc., should be arranged on time. So that you are well-organized and then sticking to your diet plan won’t be a problem. Additionally, you should be able to track your goal and monitor it. 

    You can fill in your food diary in the Fitterfly Wellness App to track your daily calorie and nutrient intake.  Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals can help you define that path clearly and realistically, thereby making your goals more achievable. For example, if your goal is to get your diabetes in control, your SMART goal should be something like this – I want to get my HBA1c levels down from 10.4 to 7 within 3 months by enrolling in a diabetes care program.

  6. Have tasty substitutes for your weaknesses: You can do this by reforming your favourite foods and making them healthier. Like you can make a healthy pizza on high fiber whole wheat tortillas and top it with nutritious veggies. Here is a lip-smacking pizza recipe packed with antioxidants and micronutrients.
  7. Don’t be harsh on yourself: Slowly adapt to your new lifestyle and diabetes diet. Do not try to overhaul your diabetes diet overnight. Taking small steps will make it much easier to stick with a healthy diabetes diet. 

As we all know, breaking old habits is not as easy as it sounds. It takes time to form new habits, especially when it comes to foods you’ve been eating for your whole life.

But don’t worry! You’re not alone in this journey. Our expert Diabefly Coaches will handhold you as you slowly make changes in your diet, exercise, sleep and stress patterns. 

Our behaviour change specialist, Clinical Psychologist, can help you break old habits and form new ones. Similarly, our Certified Nutritionist will help you design a customized diabetes diet plan that works best for you according to your daily nutrient needs, presence of other health conditions, weight, meal preferences and other factors. Additionally, our Certified Physiotherapist can give you exercise and injury-free fitness direction. 

Try Diabefly to get 360-degree care with our team of 3 expert Coaches consisting of a Psychologist, a Nutritionist, and a Physiotherapist. To know more, call us at 022 48971077 Ext 1 or check us out here

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