An important step for successful weight loss is writing down your food eating habits. Ask yourself these questions:
• Do I use food to reward myself when I have accomplished something?
• Do I use food as a comforter when I’m feeling blue or angry or disappointed?
• Do I serve family style and encourage everyone at the table, including myself, to clean his or her plate and take a second portion?
• Do I eat a five- or six-course dinner, including dessert, whether I’m hungry or not?
• Do I nibble while preparing foods for my family?
• Do I finish the leftovers from the meal before they can be packaged for another day?
• Do I raid the refrigerator every night?
• Do I feel guilty when I look in a mirror and then take out a tub of ice-cream and finish it to calm my guilt feelings?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, plus any other ones you ask yourself about your eating habits, then you need to make some behaviour changes in your approach to food. A counselor can be of great help when you want to eliminate these bad habits and substitute some healthy ones.
Your weight loss goal should be about one quarter of a kilogram a week. To do this you need to cut 7,350 kilojoules from your weekly intake. That will produce a one-kilogram weight loss each month – eleven kilograms a year. This slow, steady weight loss will be something you can sustain, without feeling deprived.
When you start eliminating high-kilojoules foods from your diet, keep in mind that the foods you keep represent a proper balance of nutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. The fibre content should be high and the saturated fat content low. If you’re salt-sensitive, the foods you use should be low-salt or salt-free. (In addition to watching sodium content on labels, be careful about using salt in preparation or at the table.)
The so-called diabetic diet of today is a “prudent” diet that can be followed by anyone interested in maintaining good health, whether or not that person has diabetes.
This is where a professional dietitian can be of great help. The dietitian, particularly one who is experienced in dealing with people with diabetes, can construct an individualized diet plan that will help you lose weight, control your diabetes and fit your budget and lifestyle.
Your diet may require that you learn how to count kilojoules or calculate dietary exchanges. Fortunately, there are a number of source books that explain the different diet approaches and many, many cookbooks that fit these approaches.
As you begin to lose weight, you will look better and feel better. You will start to see changes in your blood glucose levels when you lose just a few extra kilos. A weight loss of ten to twenty per cent will often result in a “curing” of the symptoms of Type II diabetes. You don’t have to go down to the weight you were at age twenty to get this kind of result. If you weigh ninety kilograms now, you only have to get down to seventy-two to eighty-two kilograms to gain some benefits in your diabetes control.
Still another approach to weight loss is the use of “formula”, very low kilojoules diets. These are not the powders you can buy in the supermarket but nutritionally balanced formulas prescribed by a physician. This type of diet requires frequent monitoring of electrolytes and other body substances by the prescribing doctor.