Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition For Dummies
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Successful diabetes self-management, including effective meal planning, is all about your attitudes and behaviors, and your personality plays a key role in how you deal with these important health-related responsibilities. Your individual personality is surely one-of-a-kind, but psychologists have recognized for a long time that billions of unique individual personalities, or temperaments, can be grouped by some dominant traits they share in common. And while you may not see your own personality as the predictable sum of your emotions, attitudes, behaviors, and responses, there are any number of different personality tests that put you in a group that describes your dominant personality traits in a surprisingly accurate way.

The great news is that your individual personality can make you a natural success at adopting some key diabetes self-management strategies. The not-so-good news is that other key diabetes self-management strategies require you to act consistently in ways that challenge your natural inclinations. It's a different story for every individual, but the secret to managing your diabetes effectively without letting diabetes self-management consume your entire life is to embrace what comes naturally and resolve to work at what doesn't.

When it comes to meal planning, it would seem that the "gold" personality type as described by the free, online True Colors Personality Test would be the perfect match. The dominant traits include being organized, prepared, systematic, and appreciating a consistent routine. If you struggle with organizing your meals and sticking with a reasonable eating routine, you're not a gold personality — organizing and following a routine will require some conscious effort. Chances are, however, that you've got some things going for you that the golds don't. Because people with the gold personality are so comfortable with routine, they may repeat the same seven-day menu 52 times a year — golds can have a difficult time adapting to variation. So, the gold personality that can follow a perfect diabetes meal plan at home may be completely befuddled when traveling or adapting to a changing schedule and that may be your specialty.

Diabetes self-management and diabetes meal planning have some responsibilities every personality will find easy, and some every personality will find particularly challenging. And, as strange as it may seem in a discussion about a chronic physical disease, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your particular personality can bring a lot of insight into how you can best approach managing your diabetes day to day. You need to know where to direct your energy when the demands go against your nature. Even more important, knowing your personality can help you appreciate what you do especially well. A pat on the back for what you do well can go a long way in motivating the work it takes to overcome the challenges your particular personality creates elsewhere.

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Toby Smithson, RDN, CDE, has managed her own diabetes for more than 40 years, and founded DiabetesEveryDay.com to share her insights into diabetes self-management. Alan Rubin, MD, is the author of several successful diabetes books, including Diabetes For Dummies and Diabetes Cookbook For Dummies.

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