Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Dear S.,

Last week, I began to respond to your e-mail and wrote about mental health issues and diabetes. This week, I’d like to talk about the eating patterns you are struggling with and why they are so challenging to change.

Eating is such a central part of our lives that food becomes associated with almost everything we do. If we’re happy, sad, angry, celebrating, grieving, lonely, or bored, we eat. Emotions become connected with food. Some foods also can have the physical effect of actually helping us feel better, temporarily. Remember when your mom gave you a Popsicle when you skinned your knee? It actually worked because your body produced some hormones that helped ease the pain. This isn’t a good or bad thing, it is just how the body works. Because this process works so well to help our pain go away, eating to treat emotions or stress can become a pattern.

Emotional eating is not a new issue for you, and having diabetes makes it that much more difficult to manage. From your description of your problem, you sound very distressed by your eating and its possible consequences for your diabetes control. The stress of worrying about developing diabetes complications and the guilt you may feel may make you want to eat. It is kind of a catch-22: The more you worry, the more likely you are to overeat, and the more you eat, the more likely you are to feel guilty, which makes it more likely you will overeat.

Because this problem stems from a combination of physiological, emotional, and social factors, to treat it effectively, you will need to address all three of these areas. In your e-mail, you asked if there was a resource on the Internet that might be helpful in dealing with this problem. The Internet has many options that might be useful, including chat rooms and support groups. From a social support standpoint, chat rooms for those who have overeating problems or diabetes can be helpful. Another option would be to seek out a support group that deals with eating issues such as Overeaters Anonymous (OA) or Weight Watchers. OA often deals with the emotional aspects of eating, while Weight Watchers deals with weight loss and gives people support along with accountability. Another potentially helpful type of support group would be a diabetes-specific group. Your boss also sounds like a good support for you, too, so keep him or her informed of your progress.

To address the physiological aspect of overeating, some good stress management techniques would be useful for you. Some daily exercise, meditation, listening to music—anything that has the effect of calming and releasing the hormones that make you feel better—can work as an alternative to eating.

Finally, from an emotional standpoint, it sounds as though you could use some professional help. A mental-health counselor or someone to talk with regularly might help you get started in this process of change. It is certainly not easy, but it can be done. The most important part of this is you have recognized the problem.

Next week, I’ll write about how change takes place and give you some more ideas about how to keep the process of change moving forward. Take care.

POST A COMMENT       
  

Comments
  1. There are no comments at this time.


Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of Madavor Media, LLC., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.


Emotional Health
People Treat You Differently With Diabetes (10/24/14)
Time for Some Help (10/16/14)
Canary in the Coal Mine (10/09/14)
When Things Fall Off Courseā€¦ (10/02/14)

 

 

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.