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Diabetes and Overcoming Overeating

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(How do I use the OO approach if I have diabetes?)

by Dana Armstrong, RD, CDE

Eating is one of the most basic and important things we do in life. When diabetes is diagnosed, an enjoyable aspect of life—food—takes on new meaning. With diabetes often comes home blood testing, lab tests, doctors' visits, medical bills, and medications. It all seems to add one more aspect of "losing control" in a busy, sometimes complicated, life. However, even though diabetes is life changing, it is an opportunity to make many positive life adjustments, including one's relationship with food, so that management and control can be accomplished.

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Health Care Professionals Talk About Overcoming Overeating

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Interview notepad

Allen King and Dana Armstrong

Sit down, relax and start listening to yourself." That's the non-technical, straightforward advice Allen King, M.D. endocrinologist, gives to his patients with diabetes. King, a partner at King, Revers & Winn Medical Group in Salinas, Calif., and Dana Armstrong, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, are determined to keep people with diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol—especially those whose disease is coupled with a tendency for overeating—living as normal a lifestyle as possible.

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Nutrition News

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Elisa D'Urso Fischer
Marianne Evans-Ramsay

As dietitians working with OO, we have seen examples of just how well this approach works for people with medical concerns. We'd like to share some of these experiences with those of you dealing with similar concerns. The most common health issue we address with our clients is diabetes. Here are two examples:

One diabetic client, Ann, had been working with the OO approach for almost two years. She was no longer binge eating but had never paid close attention to identifying and stopping at the first signs of fullness. She was trying to maintain normal blood sugar levels without medication. Therefore, it was important to eat just what her body physically needed; no more and no less. We discussed how stuffed felt vs. full. Ann experimented with stopping after different amounts of food to see what felt most comfortable.

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Doing it My Way

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by Diane P.

I have been using the Overcoming Overeating approach for about three years, very successfully. On March 8, 1996, I was diagnosed with Diabetes II (too much insulin spilling over). The doctor told me I had to go on a DIET. Crying the whole time, I began explaining that I had promised my little girl that I would never go on a diet. The doctor asked me, "What little girl?" and said, "Please calm down." I explained the OO approach to her and she suggested I see the nutritionist the next day. The doctor told me we would try it my way for three months and if it did not work, we were going to do things her way. The way she saw it, she was responsible for getting my sugar down. However, I was and am REAL clear that it is totally my responsibility. She heard me when I said I was not getting on the scale because my sugar level needed to come down, not necessarily my weight.

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