Lisa grumbled (a combo of mumbled and groaned) as she learned she had Type 2 diabetes. She looked like she was in a daze absorbing the news of her diagnosis. I could almost see her beginning to grieve what she thought she was losing in her life.
From years of working with patients, I knew the road ahead could be difficult, yet manageable, and yes even enjoyable. Most of us don’t like change, and a diagnosis of diabetes requires a change in: lifestyle habits, mindset, and potentially adding medicines or therapies to improve one’s health. Continuing on the same path without making any changes will always result in the complications associated with diabetes.
Despite our resistance, change is pervasive in everything we do. However when it affects those things we love in our life, overcoming that resistance takes a little more work. It starts with really looking at the whole picture. That’s what Lisa and I did, and the truth is, while she considered herself a foodie, she was really a master at making and tasting food.
Let me explain, it’s similar to a relationship. Early on in a new relationship there is that excitement, and enjoyment of being with the person. As time goes on in the relationship, we began to multitask what we do while we’re with that person. Sometimes that results in conflict. If we recognize multitasking isn’t healthy in our relationship, we know we need to focus our attention on that person at certain times, so the other person feels heard, loved, and respected.
And so it is with food. I asked Lisa if she stays totally focused on the taste, texture and aromas of the food she eats the entire time she is eating. She admitted that first bite, and maybe through the third bite were pure heaven. She probably only chewed her food five or six times before swallowing, never fully enjoying the food she was eating. While eating, she was either watching TV, talking with her partner, or reading something. Lisa’s food really only got about 10% of her attention.
So I dubbed her a “taste master.” I explained that healthy food and it’s preparation were a very important first start. Then making a few subtle changes, she could still enjoy the flavor of what she ate. In the end, Lisa agreed to stay mindful of eating all of her meal. In addition she would chew each bite at least 20 times, get a smaller plate, stick to one helping, and find healthy recipes. The next time I saw Lisa, she actually lost 5 pounds through the changes she agreed to, and she shared a recipe book she had discovered that she had fallen completely in love with. Yes she was having an affair with her food, and loving every bite; a healthy affair.
All of those changes resulted in improving her diabetes too! So change, and healthy change, has so many powerful benefits both physically, emotionally, socially and even spiritually.
How about you, do you feel like the picture below? It doesn’t have to be that way.
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