Deconstructing Diabetes

Simplifying what to eat with diabetes.

Nutrition Consulting. Resources. Blog.

Cam Johnson

Specialist Diabetes Dietitian (APD)

Melbourne, Australia

Dietary Blind Spots

Blind Spot


1 . an area where a person's view is obstructed.

2.  an area in which a person lacks understanding or impartiality.

3.  subject about which one is ignorant or biased.

Continuing on from the last blog theme "Eyes on Diabetes" and what we are focusing on. This post lists what we are simultaneously missing when we are not looking at all, when something obscures the sight of vision, or we are looking at one thing exclusively.

Looking at one piece of the puzzle on it's own.

Too often people on "diets" look at the scales in isolation, as a measure of progress. Weight loss occurs as a collateral effect of modifying behaviour.

Focus on the behaviour, particularly successful behaviour changes rather than the number on the scales.

The same for blood glucose levels. This may be fasting, post prandial levels or A1c. Sure, your blood glucose may not go up after eating a take away meal washed down with soft drink, but that doesn't mean that this is a good option. The A1c may be under target, but may be lowered by an excessive number of hypos.

Sometimes individuals can sometimes be fixated on the one approach.

Different approaches work for different people. This may include macronutrient ratios, calorie counting, flexible dieting, use of VLEDs, or "everything in moderation".

Cognitive bias, and fixation on "the one way" may limit options, and ultimately results

Look at the individual pieces, but also look at the whole picture.

Seeing the forest for the trees

Sometimes we focus on the details of the problem, and ignore the solution to the problem.

Sometimes focusing on the problem becomes the problem.

This can lead to an overwhelming feeling of overload.


Focus on the behaviours which can be changed, rather than the problem itself.

Being hungry

To be successful with any program, it's important to prevent being hungry. This means getting enough food. This means getting enough good nutrition. Specifically getting enough volume, protein, fibre, lower GI CHO. 

Eating inadequate amounts of nutrition = hunger.

Eating enough good nutritious foods = satiety.

Not being organised

You've no doubt heard of the 6 Ps.

Prior Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance.

Meal plans, shopping, cooking meals ahead, plastic containers, zip lock bags, cooler bags are your friend.

Use them.

Trading off activity to make up for poor dietary choices

Going for a walk around the block doesn't burn the calories that the take away and soft drink provides.

Do the math, it just doesn't.

Not having a red flag for times of going off track

I get my clients to plan for, and factor in deviations from planned meals and snacks.  A social event coming up, and they are not sure what to eat? Eat whatever is on the menu.

This is part of normal eating, and maintaining a lifestyle which is conductive to health, socialisation and avoiding the feeling of being restricted, or feeling of guilt after eating.

I would rather my clients have 10 - 20% of their intake from planned "breaks" rather than try and stick to a plan 100% of the time, and throw in the towel after 3 days because it's not compatable with their life.

Getting back on track is the issue. I've found that there's magic in the number 3.

3 missed meals, 3 missed workouts, 3 appointments rescheduled.

Identify the pattern and get back on the program before it becomes a routine.

Achieving goals and resting on laurels

Weight loss, or diabetes control is a continuum, not an end point.

Sure, celebrate an achievement, but don't put your feet up and celebrate your success with dropping off the very behaviours you're celebrating achieving! You may need to set a new goal (hint: maintenance of current status is also a goal).

Not seeking assistance

The best athletes in the world have a coach. Many experienced businesses employ a business coach.

An experienced dietitian can assist with identifing issues, solve problems, maintain accountability and provide feedback which isn't possible without an experienced external perspective.

Looking at problems from a "or" perspective, not an "and" perspective.

You can be busy, and maintain exercise each day.

You can be busy and prepare meals and snacks.

Busyness/ tiredness and being able to maintain healthy habits do not need to be mutually exclusive.

Not eating mindfully

Eating at the desk at work, in front of the TV or in the car?

Separate the task, When you're eating, eat. When you're working, work, When you're driving, drive.

The focus of my next blog article "Zen in the Art of Eating" will explore this issue further.

In summary

Dietary blind spots occur for all of us.

Being aware of where they are, and ways to get around them will keep us safe on the road to getting to where we want to go.


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Please like, and share my content with others, and I'm interested to hear your comments, and any other blind spots.


Deconstructing Diabetes