Strategies to deal with negative emotions

You have to deal with diabetes every day for the whole day. This can impact your emotional well-being, stress and negative emotions can even affect your blood glucose control. There are some strategies that can help you deal with negative emotions, to communicate with your loved ones, and to find support and any kind of help you may need.

  1. Beating the Winter Blues by Lynne Spevack, LCSW
  2. Coping With Diabetes Over Time Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, BC-ADM, CDE, and Kristina Humphries, MD
  3. Creating New Holiday Traditions by Robert Taibbi, LCSW
  4. Demystifying Motivation by Rita Milios, LCSW
  5. Depression by Paula M. Trief, PhD
  6. Diabetes and Your Marriage by Paula M. Trief, PhD
  7. Diabetes Blogs by Allison Blass
  8. Eight Tips For Managing Diabetes Distress by Lawrence Fisher, PhD
  9. Handling Holiday Stress by Linda Wasmer Andrews
  10. Learning Self-Compassion by Nicola J. Davies, PhD
  11. Navigating Mental Health Care by Joseph B. Nelson, MA, LP
  12. Relaxation Techniques for Stressful Times by Linda Wasmer Andrews
  13. Stress: Finding Peace Amid the Storm by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Patti Geil, MS, RD, CDE
  14. Taking a Zen Approach to Diabetes by Glenn M. Callaghan, PhD
  15. The Importance of Role Models by Amy Mercer
  16. The Secret to Solving Relationship Problems by Robert Taibbi, LCSW
  17. Updating Your Coping Skills by Reji Mathew, PhD
  18. Whose Diabetes Is It, Anyway? by Scott Coulter, LSW
  19. Yoga by Susan Shaw

Eating Plan

If you suffer from diabetes you need to have an eating plan in order to have the correct nutrients in moderate amounts and to eat regularly.

When thinking about a diet one may think about restrictions. But the diabetes eating plan simply organizes meals rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. A large proportion of the meal is constituted by fruit, vegetables and whole grains. This kind of diet is suitable and healthy for any adult.

Why? The doctor may suggest for you to see a dietitian in order to organize your eating plan and help you with changing eating habits. The main goal is to control your blood sugar level and your weight. In modern societies we are generally eating more than needed and when you exceed in calories and fat intake your body reacts by rising its blood glucose. This can lead to complications. Controlling nutrition can help you avoid these complications, by maintaining the blood sugar levels in a safe range.

How? It is recommended to start planning your diet with a doctor or a dietitian. Talk to him/her in order to avoid frustration and to personalize your diet.

What else? An eating plan good for diabetes is also beneficial to other health related aspects. By following a diet rich in fiber, fruit and vegetables you will reduce the risk of other diseases (e.g.. cardiovascular disease, cancer).

Be aware: It is important that you follow the eating plan, but it is important as well that your eating plan is tailored on you (goals, lifestyle, body).

The right balance in nutrition is important!

Together with physical activity and treatment, healthy eating is one of the most important parts of diabetes management. Sometimes you may be concerned with specific ingredients that may affect your blood sugar level, but you must remember the overall picture. You shouldn’t be excessive with quantities and you should stick to a schedule. Here you’ll find some suggestions on how to balance your nutrition:
Keep to a schedule. Eating at the same time every day helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels. As you monitor your levels you should be able to recognize patterns: the blood sugar levels is highest after eating and decreases after a couple of hours.

Make every meal well-balanced. Try to cook or order food with the right mix of nutrients (starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats). Remember that carbohydrates are particularly important, and try to eat the same amount of them at each meal.

Eat the right amount of foods. Try to divide the food into portion sizes. Keep track of portions for your typical food thus to simplify the process. Be precise by using a scale or any appropriate measurement tool.

Coordinate your meals and medication. Be aware that if you are eating too little or too much this can be dangerous. You should also balance the quantity of food food you eat with your medication intake.

These suggestions could be more safely implemented in your routine if initiated with your dietitian or your doctor!

Including sweets in your meal planning

Sweets count as carbohydrates in your meal plan. The trick is substituting small portions of sweets for other carbohydrates — such as bread, tortillas, rice, crackers, cereal, fruit, juice, milk, yogurt or potatoes — in your meals. To allow room for sweets as part of a meal, you have two options:

  • Replace some of the carbohydrates in your meal with sweets.
  • Swap a high carb-containing food in your meal for something with fewer carbohydrates and eat the remaining carbohydrates as sweets.

Let’s say your typical dinner is a grilled chicken breast, a medium potato, a slice of whole-grain bread, a vegetable salad and fresh fruit. If you’d like a frosted cupcake after your meal, look for ways to keep the total carbohydrate count in the meal the same. Trade your slice of bread and the fresh fruit for the cupcake or replace the potato with a low-carbohydrate vegetable such as broccoli. Adding the cupcake after this meal keeps the total carbohydrate count the same.

To make sure you’re making even trades, read food labels carefully. Look for the total carbohydrate in each food, which tells you how much carbohydrate is in one serving of the food.

As part of diabetes nutrition, artificial sweeteners can offer the sweetness of sugar without the calories. Artificial sweeteners may help you reduce calories and stick to a healthy meal plan — especially when used instead of sugar in coffee and tea, on cereal or in baked goods. In fact, artificial sweeteners are considered free foods because they contain very few calories and don’t count as a carbohydrate, a fat or any other food in your meal plan.

Examples of artificial sweeteners include: Acesulfame potassium (Sweet One, Sunett), Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet’N Low), Sucralose (Splenda). Artificial sweeteners don’t necessarily offer a free pass for sweets.

Keep an eye out for calories and carbs. Many products made with artificial sweeteners, such as baked goods and artificially sweetened yogurt or pudding, still contain calories and carbohydrates that can affect your blood sugar level.

Sugar alcohols are not calorie-free. Sugar alcohols, another type of reduced-calorie sweetener, are often used in sugar-free candies, chewing gum and desserts. Check product labels for words such as “isomalt,” “maltitol,” “mannitol,” “sorbitol” and “xylitol.” Sugar-free foods containing sugar alcohols still have calories. Also, in some people, sugar alcohols can cause diarrhea.

Two naturally derived sweeteners, stevia (Truvia, Pure Via) and agave nectar (Wholesome Sweeteners, Madhava) offer another option when it comes to sweetening your food. Keep in mind that the sugar-to-sweetener ratio is different for each product, so you may need to experiment until you find the taste you like. Also, agave nectar isn’t calorie- or carbohydrate-free, so it shouldn’t be considered for weight loss, but it has a lower glycemic index than does sugar, so it won’t affect your glucose level as much.

Eating out at a restaurant

If you have an eating plan for your diabetes this does not mean that you cannot go out to eat. Your meal at a restaurant can be part of your eating plan if you are well aware of what you need. Here you find some suggestions about how to ease the process of going to a restaurant and to stay committed to your eating plan:

Research restaurant menus

When available online check a restaurant’s menu, and ethe nutrition facts if available.

Keep portion sizes in check

Generally speaking you should eat moderately. So try to avoid big portions:Choose the smallest meal size if the restaurant offers options, for example a lunch-sized entree. Share meals with a dining partner. Request a take-home container

Consider avoiding “all you can eat” buffets. They make it difficult to resist and moderate your meal.

Make substitutions

Don’t settle for what comes with your sandwich or meal but customize it according to your needs. For example avoid French fries in favor of grilled vegetables. Do not be afraid to ask.

Watch the extras

Keep in mind that extras, bacon bits, croutons and fried chips, can sabotage diabetes nutrition goals by quickly increasing a meal’s calorie and carbohydrate count.

Even healthier additions — including fat-free salad dressing, barbecue sauce and fat-free mayonnaise — have calories. But you can enjoy small servings of these without adjusting your meal plan. Ask for them on the side to further control how much of them you eat.

Speak with the chef

Food preparation is also something to consider. Avoid breaded and fried food. Instead request that your food be:

  • Broiled
  • Roasted
  • Grilled

Don’t feel like you’re stepping out of line if you request healthier options or substitutions. You’re simply doing what it takes to stay committed to your meal plan.

Watch what you drink

Remember that calories come from drinks as well. So avoid high-calorie drinks. Instead of soda try following: diet soda, water, unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water or mineral water. Remember also that alcohol may be highly problematic. If your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink with a meal is fine. But alcohol is rich in empty calories and can lead to diabetes complications. When choosing alcohol, choose options with fewer calories and carbohydrates such as:

  • Light beer
  • Dry wines

Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks a day if you’re a man and one drink a day if you’re a woman.

Eat on time

Your meal schedule is important to maintain steady blood sugar levels — especially if you are taking medications or insulin.

If you’re eating out with others, follow these tips: Schedule the gathering at your usual mealtime.To avoid waiting for a table, make a reservation or try to avoid times when the restaurant is busiest.If you can’t avoid eating later than usual, snack on a fruit or starch serving at your usual mealtime.

Save room for dessert

Remember that dessert isn’t necessarily off-limits. Sweets count as carbohydrates in your meal plan. If you’d like dessert, compensate by reducing the amount of other carbohydrates — such as bread, tortillas, rice, milk or potatoes — in your meal.

Remember the ground rules

Whether you’re eating at home or eating out, remember the principles of diabetes nutrition. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Limit the amount of fat and salt in your diet. Keep portion sizes in check. And above all, follow the nutrition guidelines established by your doctor or registered dietitian.

Insulin Safety

For many people with diabetes, injecting two types of insulin is a daily requirement. Giving yourself your injections can become so much a part of your routine that you can do it without thinking — which can lead to errors.

To increase insulin safety and avoid taking the wrong insulin:

  • Pause and double-check that you’re taking the correct insulin.
  • Label insulin vials or pens with different-colored tape, so that you can differentiate between them. For example, use red tape for short-acting insulin and yellow tape for long-acting insulin.

If you accidentally give yourself the wrong insulin:

  • Call your local emergency number.
  • Test your blood sugar frequently until help arrives. Eat or drink a fast-acting carbohydrate to maintain a blood sugar within your goal range.

In preparation for such issues, it’s a good idea to always carry a simple sugar source with you, such as glucose tablets, juice, regular soda or hard candy.