Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.  

Better eating habits don’t happen overnight, and the whole process can bring out an ugly side of yourself that only the most painful changes can reveal.

But it is possible to change the way you eat if you are up for a challenge and you care about your health. It will not only make you feel better and more alive now, but it will positively affect your family—and your future.

1. Focus on making small changes

Substitute items in your regular diet for a healthier alternative. This is much easier said than done. It will always be true that the unhealthy version that you love will always taste better. But eventually, your tastes will change, and before you know it, you will actually enjoy the healthier alternative. And even more, you will enjoy the way you feel because of the choice you made.

2. Make changes gradually

It is hard to give up all of the things that you love all at once, so make it a gradual process. But find the discipline so you don’t give in, either. Here are a few places in your daily diet for you to start changing—slowly.

Take another look at dessert. Start by replacing your usual nighttime dessert with a healthier version until your body doesn’t crave the original anymore. Then, try cutting out eating dessert altogether.

Try substituting ingredients in your recipes that you should be avoiding with a healthier alternative if the recipe allows. This will not work for all recipes, but for some it is a great way to choose a healthy option but still enjoy the meals you would regularly prepare.

Add in fruits and veggies where you can. Fruits and vegetables are essential in any healthy diet, so try to fit as many as you can into your daily food intake. These are great substitutes for unhealthy snacks and desserts and will help your body reset and give it extra energy in preparation a healthier lifestyle.

3. Give yourself a break

Changing your eating habits is no easy feat, so don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. It will take energy and discipline to retrain your body. But if you’re consistent and stick with it, it won’t take long for you to start feeling the positive results.

And once you get the hang of eating healthier, it becomes empowering and invigorating, and you’ll find you can make better and better decisions about what you put into your body. You may even be able to make changes you never thought possible! But start with the small stuff so you don’t get overwhelmed.

When you invest in your health, you’ll find you’ll have more energy to take on all of those other lofty goals that you’ve set for yourself.

What do you want to accomplish? Share with the community in the comments below.