When we are thinking about better health and better nutrition, it can be hard to make changes and easy to resist them, but it can be easier.
How so? you may be asking…
A lot of it is inside our own heads/minds. Change itself is a state of the mind. One of the biggest reasons we resist change is because our minds don’t want to think in a new or different way. As part of our survival instinct, we want to stick with the known because, honestly, the unknown can be pretty daunting.
Change of any kind is hard, but changing the way we eat is perhaps harder because it is compounded by many factors including:
1. We are of the mindset that eating properly costs an arm and a leg.
2. We assume that we will have to give up our favorite foods.
Well, from experience, I can tell you that eating properly/healthier can be expensive in the short term, but once you learn how to do it, you can train yourself to shop on a more regular basis so you don’t end up throwing fresh foods out. You can also grow accustomed to seasonal shopping. In other words, purchasing fresh produce in season.
I love cherries. It is hard to not crave them in the middle of winter. Sure, you can buy them, but either they cost A LOT or they are frozen (but, honestly, the frozen ones are not bad especially when mixed with a few tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt!).
I have learned to eat cherries fresh in season and freeze some for those times when the craving for them overcomes me. Granted, some produce does not taste good frozen, but for the most part I have found that you can freeze almost anything.
There are a lot of foods that as a diabetic, I should not eat and I find it extremely hard to resist those—like bread, pasta, rice, ice cream (i.e. Peanut Buster Parfaits), potato chips and almost any variety of chips or popcorn. Not only are these foods high in calories, they also make my blood sugar spike which in turn makes me feel awful!
But back to the cost of eating healthy…
Eating healthy may cost more up front, as I said, but the long-term benefit is far superior. And with the rising cost of healthcare, eating healthy now may save you A LOT in the long run.
Part 2 of the resistance to change is the thought that you have to give up all of your favorite foods.
This is not necessarily true, although working them in to a healthy diet may be more difficult.
I have been told time and again that the key is moderation. It is hard to moderate and have portion control when most of us have no idea what a “healthy” portion size is. To me, a heaping plate of spaghetti covered in sauce and loaded with cheese is a “small” portion. I’m not talking about a little plate—I mean a big dinner plate full!
So what is a healthy portion size?
There is a lot of information out there, but the website https://www.choosemyplate.gov has a ton of very good resources. Like with everything, though, use caution because not everything that is suggested is always a good thing and stuff does change. The site seems pretty good at keeping things up-to-date, though.
For quick reference, below is a graphic from My Plate about how your plate “should” be measured out. In the case of a diabetic, the grains section and fruits section might be slightly different, but my dietician said I could follow it fairly closely.
Until next time, be good to yourself and to others!!