The Psychology of a T2 Diabetic's Diet

Hi Everyone. I’m wondering if anyone has any advice about how to manage the psychological challenges around trying to deal with maintaining a healthy T2 diabetic’s diet. I try to maintain a relatively healthy diet with around 100 grams of carbs a day. The problem is that I have been having a hard time limiting myself in terms of sweets lately - I always have brownies or cake or cookies around and my portion control has flown out the window. So, do you have any advice around how to not feel deprived while eating well? I’m in a cycle of binging too often and just taking an extra metformin when I think I need it. Oh, and in terms of background information, I’m a 32 year-old T2 and I maintain a healthy weight (although I’d love to lose 5-10 lbs, who wouldn’t…). Thanks!

I guess I have to ask what kind of environment are you in, when you are surrounded by these food items? Are you at home? Is it something that you can easily replace with better versions of the same item? Or even bring in your own version of it to work, or social events? I make myself versions of these that don’t contain any sugar, or very few carbohydrates, using Stevia, and unsweetened cocoa powder, or baker’s chocolate… There are a lot of recipes in our site that are low carb, or healthier, and which many users bake for their families (who can’t even tell they are healthy). So that I just don’t feel so deprived, when I do it that way. I also make low carb versions of pizza, burgers, etc. I have learned that when I am feeling deprived, I need to have some conversations with myself… away from others… and sort of ask myself what’s going on… and then forgive myself. We tend to beat ourselves up so much, but not forgive ourselves, as we may forgive other people… And then count on tomorrow being a new day. We only live once…

I make the sweets myself and usually make them low-carb or at least very multi-grain and low fat. I keep the sweets in the house because I LOVE them. A life without sweet treats just doesn’t sound like much fun…

Maybe you can limit the amounts you make, in already controlled portions? Like in mini cupcake tins… and making smaller batches… Specialty cooking stores have miniature or smaller sized muffin tins… Something you yourself don’t have to decide where to cut it up, you know? So that it’s harder to justify to yourself having more…Or, you may make an at Atkins style low carb dessert, which is higher in fat, but has virtually no carbs at all. It’s a lot worse to have more carbs than a little more fat… so if you just kept the portions to a few every once in a while, it wouldn’t throw you off so bad…

Great advice… mmmmm pork rinds. lol

I make low carb treats that are great substitutes. Toss out anything that tempts you.

Hello S. Harper. The routines needed to monitor blood sugar levels, diet, exercise can sometimes be very challenging…especially if one is newly diagnosed. Change in lifestyle, habits, and routines can post as stressors too. Specifically for us type 2, (wherein we are usually diagnosed in the adult stage) we are set in our ways…particularly with food choices and eating habits. Eating, however, is considered a habit. An activity that we also : “get used to” after repetitive instances. It is also highly understandable that you get influenced by the eating habits of your household… specially if you have children and teenagers with you. The best I can suggest is: Surround yourself with healthy food…make it more accessible. As what the others said…If you dont have access to it…you will not eat it. Don’t get it…dont buy it. Get healthy, alternative snacks. Drink plenty of water. Exercise, exercise, exercise…Be aware of “non-hungry” eating. Become aware of your eating habits and the reasons you may be eating such as stress boredom or out of habit. Consider sweets as treats…do not totally eradicate…but eat very small portions and savor it.
At the end, self discipline and focus on your motivation on why you wish to be healthy (and alive, complication-free) counts most. Take charge of your eating by developing an eating plan…plan your meals, snacks. After good eating habits has been set… It gets easier than you think =)

I’ve never really been a carb addict, so please take my comments with a grain of salt. My wife however, has never met a baked good that did not call out to her. I think the first thing to dealing with this is to admit you have a problem, and you have done that, you can’t control your portions and resist the sweets. I know it is heartbreaking, but perhaps you just need to make the decision that portion control does not work, and that certain classes of foods are forbidden. Forever. I don’t eat sweet baked goods. Ever. Not a bite. No cookies, no cakes, no pies, none of that. I will have special low carb desserts on certain occaisons, a low carb cheesecake on my brithday. But that is it.

In the end, I decided that the key to not feeling deprived was to change the focus of my enjoyment. Instead of craving a sweet, I’ll cook something low carb that is “to die for.” Seared Tuna with ginger miso and cilantro sauce, perfectly cooked filet with bacon. Maybe you can find something that fits your bill.

You have always been denied things. You are not supposed to eat yellow snow, even if you really enjoy it. And you manage to do that without feeling deprived. Not eating things you have enjoyed will certainly s*ck. But cultivate other things that you enjoy that you can have, and turn to those as a way of celebrating life or finding comfort.

My daughter is T1, and I was stunned at my own ability to give up carbs and sugar along with her. Control-wise, I think there are two different kind of people: those who can buy a gallon of ice cream and eat it one tiny portion at a time, or those who can buy a gallon of ice cream and eat a gallon of ice cream, at once. I was more inthe second group: I could leave the treat at the store, but I couldn’t leave it once I got it home. Since you, too, seem to fall into the later group, I recommend that you not keep anything (and I mean anything) in your house. Sure, it’s way more inconvenient to make a trip to the store or bakery if you think you must have a treat, but that’s the point. Or buy treats that you really don’t like very much. I think the serving on a package of Thin Mints should be one sleeve, but I could have a box of shortbread cookies from now until next Girl Scout cookie time. My last thought is that you might benefit from Weight Watchers. Portion control is their mantra, plus you might lose those last couple of pounds. Good luck!

From one sweetaholic to another. I try not to keep a lot of sweets in the house, but sweets are just a carb so if you want something you need to give something else up. And I do a lot better with a piece of chocolate than baked goods.

I am a reformed carbaholic. I do Bernstein, and limit myself to about 30 carbs per day. I find when you eat higher carb diet like 100 it is very hard to control the carb level. It is better to totally eliminate bread, flour, crackers, rice, potatoes and pasta. A slice of bread spikes me more than a few teaspoons of sugar. The trick is to find alternatives to your comfort foods you have always enjoyed. I cruise the internet and get great low carb recipes most 5 carbs or less. I bake muffins, cookies and cakes using almond flour, flaxseed and coconut flour. I always have appropriate snacks around to eat. I make raw brownies with almond butter, whey powder , cocoa, unsweet coconut and heavy cream. They are full of protein and I keep them in my freezer. 2 scoops of protein powser makes about 16 brownies which lasts me 2-3 days. Here is one of my favorite sites

There are MANY, MANY cookbooks with sweets in them meant for diabetics…if you want to pm me I would be happy to share some of my favorite recipes with you and the names of the books, and actually quite tasty, not too hard to make and perhaps even healthy. If you don’t want to do that, then don’t have the stuff in the house. I have two men in my house who love the foods I am limited on. I, too, suffer from portion challenges, so I ask them to either put it in the freezer downstairs or put it in the pantry over my reach…if I can’t get at it I won’t eat it. During the winter we put those types of things in a cooler in the trunk of the car. Believe you me, when it is -36 degrees I will think twice about a cookie.

As for the double dosing your metformin, does your doc know you are doing this? If not, it would be wise to share this practice with them…I’m not sure that’s the healthiest way to manage your diabetes. It’s not like a headache where if one doesn’t do it, another will.

I agree with Lizmari, check yourself out, where are you, what are you feeling, who are you with, and write those emotions and conditions down. Be aware of what is happening with you when you tend to “need” those foods. It is amazing how much we eat without thinking. My CDE suggested that rather than or in addition to keeping a food journal, write down what I am thinking, etc. when I eat, and perhaps that would help me get a handle on the “need” for sweets. Is it a need or want?
and why the want or need?

I do believe that the psychology of diabetes is a part we rarely talk about and need to talk about, far less depression and feelings of worthlessness would happen if we did talk about that part of the disease. It works for cancer why not this.

Metformin works in the liver to prevent spikes between meals and while we are fasting. It is not like other drugs that increase insulin production.