Seven Habits of Successful Healthy Eating

Take control to lose weight and improve blood sugar.

Lara Rondinelli By Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

As a dietitian and diabetes educator, I've seen many people succeed with changing their eating behavior to improve blood sugar levels and/or lose weight. Many of these people share some common habits that helped them reach their goals. Here are the Seven Habits of Successful Healthy Eating that I have observed among many of these people:

1. Make Healthy Eating a Priority – This is a huge component to succeeding with healthy eating. In today's crazy world we all have many priorities – work, school, family, etc. Unfortunately, this means that eating and a healthy lifestyle are put on the back burner. In order to start eating healthy you must make it a higher priority in your life. This often involves more effort and planning, which many people say they don't have time for. But, if you truly want to make the change, you will be amazed at how you can find the time. And don't forget the planning process. We know planning is a necessary component to succeeding with many other areas in our life and healthy eating involves planning of meals and snacks. It also involves thinking about what you are eating. Mindless eating must be a habit of the past.

2. Food Records - Record keeping can be a great tool to help evaluate what you are eating and it makes you more aware of what you are eating. Most people who succeed with weight loss and healthy eating keep food records daily.

3. No More Excuses and Be Honest with Yourself – Many people have numerous excuses that are keeping them from eating healthy – from a hectic schedule and wrongful thinking that healthy food tastes bad, to fear of family members not eating healthy food. If you are serious about eating healthy, you must quit making excuses. Evaluate your current diet and determine what areas you can improve. If you are telling yourself that you are eating the perfect diet, chances are there are still some areas that you can improve.

4. Take Responsibility – You can get support from many people who can assist you with healthy eating, such as a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, support groups, and family members. These people can give you the guidance and support to help you make the change of healthier eating. However, ultimately this change is your responsibility that you have to face every day. Remember, healthy eating is one of the things you can control with diabetes.

5. Believe That You Can Do It (and Want to Do It) – I see many people every day who WANT to make healthy changes in their eating habits and this desire is critical to any change in behavior. You have to want to eat healthy to best control your diabetes, help you lose weight if needed, and to feel your best. Feeding your body correctly will help all these things. Not only should you want to make the change, it is also important that you believe in yourself and know that you CAN make healthy eating a lifestyle change.

6. Eat 3 Meals Every Day – Most people who are looking to eat healthy start by eating 3 meals every day. Although you've probably heard this recommendation before it should not be underestimated. By eating 3 meals per day, you are allowing for more even rises in blood sugar levels and it also helps keep your metabolism going.

7. Grocery Shop Weekly – A very critical component of healthy eating involves having healthy food choices in your home and/or taking healthy foods with you to work for meals or snacks. The amount of meals eaten at home varies from person to person, but going to the grocery store weekly and stocking up on fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains will make healthy eating much easier.

Start making these habits a part of your life today. You too can succeed with healthy eating.

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Last Modified Date: February 15, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...
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