Mindful Eating & Diabetes: How Can It Help Your Clients?
By Megrette Fletcher M.Ed., RDN, CDCES
You may be familiar with the term 'mindful eating,' but you may be unclear how it can help with blood sugar management. Mindful eating uses the act of mindfulness or being present, to help overcome eating problems in our increasingly busy lives. The goal is to shift focus from exclusively relying on external cues about food and eating. What are examples of external cues? Things like calories, portions, blood sugar levels, and time of day all reside outside of us. These are often thought of as the things or tasks we ‘should’ do. Mindful Eating asks us about the internal aspects of an experience, such as exploring when is an eating experience enjoyable, what does hunger or fullness feel like to you, what is your current level of hunger, what might be causing this craving? As you can see, mindful eating is about getting curious and asking questions. It is not a diet. Practicing mindful eating is a shift from what you ‘should’ do, to what is present, with the focus on developing a new, curious mindset around food.
How Does Mindful Eating Help People With Diabetes or Prediabetes?
There are many ways that people with prediabetes or diabetes can benefit from Mindful eating. First, it helps them distinguish between thoughts about hunger, emotions about desire, and the physical presence of hunger. Awareness training can help them notice mindless eating, you know, eating when bored, tired, angry, sad, or any other time a person is eating when they aren’t hungry. It can also help them with how much they are eating by helping a person tune-in to their direct experience with hunger, fullness, and satiety. Research surrounding Mindful eating has shown that bring awareness to a bite or eating experiences reduce food-related triggers thus giving your clients the freedom to choose their response.
You Have Heard Your Clients Say...
- "I can't stop eating, and it is making my blood sugars spike."
- "I've lost control of my blood sugars and hope that I can change!"
- "I don't know if I am hungry or full!"
- "I want to enjoy eating."
- "I am so sick of dieting."
- "I don't know where to start because "I've never been able to stick to a plan."
- "I want to be healthy without focusing on my weight."
While many professionals have taken classes and read books about mindful eating, many haven’t had the opportunity to practice typical or challenging counseling scenarios like the examples listed above. If you are in this situation, pause and identify the opportunities available to deepen your practice and skillfulness. Options include additional training, peer support, retreats and coaching.
If you are looking for small group coaching the WN4DC Symposium has offered this additional service. Enrollment for different coaching program begins each trimester.
- Dec/January - 1st Trimester
- April/May - 2nd Trimester
- August/Sept 3rd Trimester
Together with your peers, coaching will identify opportunities and techniques to welcome the present moment with empathy for your client, allowing them to disrupt habitual patterns of thinking and acting.
Learn more at www.wn4dcsymposium.com