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Diabetes: Coping With Your Feelings About Your Diet

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Diabetes: Coping With Your Feelings About Your Diet


Your feelings can affect how well you take care of yourself when you have diabetes. Negative emotions about food and your diet can make it harder to follow a healthy eating plan. But your feelings can also help you. If you feel like you're doing something good for your health, it may help you stay motivated. You can feel better about your eating plan and yourself.

To deal with your feelings in a positive way:

  • Learn about your eating plan for diabetes. You can have all the types of foods you like. The key is to learn how to fit them into your meal or snack plan.
  • Talk with other people who successfully follow an eating plan 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 won't feel deprived.

How to deal with negative feelings about your diet for diabetes

Our emotions influence what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat. So negative feelings can interfere with how well you can follow your diet for diabetes. If you can let go of those feelings, you'll be more likely to follow a healthy diet. These tips can help you manage your feelings.

  • Give yourself permission to make choices.

    People often think that following a diet for diabetes means giving up foods they like and having to eat foods they don't like. But actually, you have choices. Try this exercise.

    • Make four lists: foods you like, foods you dislike, foods that are "bad" for diabetes, and foods that are "good" for diabetes.
    • 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.

    The fact is:

    • There are no "good" or "bad" foods.
    • You don't have to give up the foods you like.
    • You may need to eat some foods in smaller amounts and less often to prevent high blood sugar. But you can learn to fit them into your diet.
  • Recognize your feelings.

    Make a list of all the feelings you have about a diet for diabetes and why you have them. For example:

    • You may feel guilty about eating certain foods, such as chocolate cake, if you think they are "bad."
    • You may feel angry or resentful if you think you can't eat the foods you like.

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

  • Let go of your negative feelings.

    Just identifying a negative feeling isn't enough to get rid of it. You'll need to do something. Record how you plan to deal with each negative feeling. Here are some ideas:

    • Write about what you feel. Then read it aloud to yourself.
    • Talk with your family, a friend, or your diabetes specialist. You may learn that your negative feeling is based on something that isn't true.
    • Join a diabetes support group. Most people with diabetes have had negative feelings about the diet and are willing to share how they dealt with those feelings.

If your feelings keep getting in the way of taking care of yourself, talk with a health professional about counseling.


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. Learn how we develop our content.