Too often, under-eating in the first two-thirds of the day can lead to over-eating at the end of the day. Too often, we try to lose weight by restricting our eating all day long only to find ourselves binge-eating at the end of the day when our body is begging for the calories it needs.

For a person with diabetes, this can also mean your body is getting way more calories at night than it needs, leading to high blood sugars and increased insulin resistance overnight while you’re sleeping, and waking up in the morning with high blood sugars.

By changing this “starve and diet mentality,” you’ll not only improve your A1c, you’ll also likely lose weight by fueling your metabolism properly, and you’ll create a healthier relationship with food.

Did you know eating more often fuels your metabolism? When you starve your body of food, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy. When you give your body what it needs, it’s like adding wood to a fire, encouraging it to burn bigger and hotter.

3 steps to take to change this habit and your relationship with food:

  1. Eat enough in one sitting. Are you hungry? If you finish a tiny meal of 200 calories for breakfast and find your brain still thinking about food, that should tell you that you truly didn’t eat enough. The average woman needs 1500 to 1800 calories per day. If you divide this over the course of the day in 4 to 5 meals a day, that’s at least 350 to 500 calories per meal. For the average man, 1800 to 2000 calories per day is the minimum to meet daily needs! This means meals should be roughly 400 to 550 calories each.
  2. Focus on real food. Ditch the “diet” foods, the “low-fat” products, and the “sugar-free” junk. Eat the yolks of your eggs. Focus on real food! Fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. Real food. Let things like chips, candies, bread, muffins, etc. be treats that you make room for once a day (or less) in your diet while you focus your other 3 to 4 meals a day on real food. 
  3. Write it down. On a sheet of paper, write down the times of day you need to stop and eat a legit amount of calories. For example, 7am (breakfast), 11am (lunch), 2pm (snack), 6pm (dinner), 8pm (snack). And for a few days, write down what you eat and when. This will help you gain a little more awareness of your current eating habits and your food choices. 

Reshaping your habits and relationship with food doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. It’s like a lifelong project! If you start working on it today, your relationship with food will be wildly different a couple years from now. But it won’t change unless you start looking at what’s currently happening, reflecting and being honest with yourself, and identifying your most self-destructive habits. Ditch the diet mentality and give your body real food.

By Ginger Vieira

Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease since 1999, and fibromyalgia since 2014. She is the author of 4 books: Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes, Dealing with Diabetes Burnout, Emotional Eating with Diabetes, Your Diabetes Science Experiment. Ginger creates content regularly for Diabetes Strong, Diathrive, MySugr, DiabetesMine, Healthline, and her YouTube Channel. Her background includes a B.S. in Professional Writing, certifications in cognitive coaching, Ashtanga yoga, and personal training with several records in drug-free powerlifting. She lives in Vermont with two kiddos and two dogs.

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