How to Adjust Your Eating Habits to Eat Less
In addition to making healthier food choices, many people with diabetes need to adjust their eating habits so they eat less food. Eating too many servings of a food, even a healthy food, will affect your blood glucose and can add to weight gain. Eating the right serving sizes for your calorie goals and practicing portion control are essential parts of any healthy eating plan.
If you find yourself struggling to control your appetite, the following tips may help:
- Avoid skipping meals. The hunger caused by missing a meal can lead you to overeat later in the day and cause your blood glucose to rise or fall.
- Remove distractions while eating so you can recognize when your body is full.
- To make sure you’re not serving yourself too much, measure out the correct serving sizes for your foods instead of estimating for a while to become familiar with the serving sizes that are right for you.
- Try serving your foods and beverage in smaller dishes and cups. It sounds a little silly, but using smaller dishes can make regular portions of foods and drinks look larger. It can help trick your mind into thinking you’re eating more.
- If you have favorite junk foods that you crave, you don’t have to deny yourself these foods. Denying yourself may backfire and make you want them even more, causing you to overindulge! You can eat these foods in small portions sometimes as long as you account for them in your meal plan. This means counting the amount of calories and/or carbohydrate in these foods toward you daily or mealtime goal (if you’re tracking calories or carbohydrate) or forgoing other starchy or high-calorie foods during the meal and pairing the food you’re craving with healthy foods, such as nonstarchy vegetables or lean protein.
- If you just ate but still feel hungry, take a moment to examine your emotions. Are you bored, stressed, angry, or sad? Some people feel compelled to eat based on their emotions, so it’s important to figure out if you’re experiencing true hunger or if you’re being triggered by your emotions.
- If you feel hungry often, try to distract yourself with a couple of different activities. Before you indulge, try drinking a glass of water, taking a short walk or doing another form of light exercise, or reading or watching TV.
If you were used to eating large portions of food before you were diagnosed with diabetes, appetite control may be a difficult part of transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. Put these tips to good use, and after a few weeks, your appetite should adjust to your new eating habits.
If you can’t control your appetite despite your best efforts, discuss this with your doctor, who can give you a referral to a RD or RDN. They can help you make the best food choices, adjust your meal plan to help you avoid hunger, or recommend another form of therapy.