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Using Mindful Eating Principles for Diabetes Management

Renewing Your Relationship With Food

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Updated February 17, 2011

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Using Mindful Eating Principles for Diabetes Management
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Mindful eating can help people with diabetes build a healthy relationship with food. It requires that you take an honest look at how you currently view food and the process of eating. What you discover might mean making some changes. But the payoff for your diabetes management could be big.

Mindful eating and control

Many people with diabetes have a love/hate relationship with food. They love to eat but hate the task of counting carbohydrates or measuring out food portions every time they eat. Mindful eating is simply a way to become more conscious of how you eat. The more mindful you are about how you plan for, prepare and eat food, the more in control you feel of your eating habits. In contrast, the less conscious you are of these daily interactions with food, the more out-of-control your eating habits may seem.

Fueling vs. mindful eating

Unfortunately, many people with diabetes view the process of eating as merely fueling: taking in food to either stave off hunger or treat a low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) reaction. But, it can be a much richer experience if you apply the principles of mindful eating.

Here’s a quick overview of the differences between fueling and eating mindfully.

    Fueling

  • Reaches for food that is most convenient
  • Eats quickly
  • Engages primarily the sense of taste
  • Minimizes food preparation
  • Gives little thought to how food intake will affect blood sugar levels
  • Main emphasis: curbing hunger

    Mindful eating

  • Gives thought to the types of foods you choose to eat
  • Eats slowly
  • Engages all of the senses in the eating process
  • Personally prepares a good portion of the foods eaten
  • Gives thoughtful consideration to how the type of food and portion size will affect blood sugar levels
  • Main emphasis: on physical and emotional nourishment

Part 2: Mindful eating tips for Better Blood Sugar Control

The Principles of Mindful Eating. The Center for Mindful Eating. Accessed November 27, 2009. http://www.tcme.org/principles.htm

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