Are you a ‘mindless’ eater?

Lots of the time, our eating happens unconsciously  – on auto-pilot. You’re eating before you realise it – your hand is in the biscuit tin and the biscuit is in your mouth before you even recognise what’s going on. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there!

This is called ‘’mindless eating’ – eating when your mind is somewhere else, and eating for a reason other than hunger. Because the food was there and you picked it up without thinking, or because you want distraction, or a break, or something else.


We all eat mindlessly for non-hunger reasons – it is ok and very human. The difficulty when we’re struggling to lose weight is that mindless eating occurs more often than is helpful.


So rather than begin by changing what we’re eating, we first need to start to increase our focus on why we are eating. We need to start to notice the conditions in which eating occurs and ask ourselves, ’Is food what I really need?’ Given that mindless eating is pretty unconscious, this is easier said than done!


So I’d like to introduce you to the three step WHY Process to help you do this. WHY is an acronym  – and it stands for 3 things you can experiment with doing differently as you make the decision to eat.

  1. W is for ‘Wait’ – which is to pause before eating
  2. H is for ‘Hungry?’-  which is to ask yourself, ‘Am I hungry for food or something else?’
  3. Y is for ‘Yes’ – which is to say ‘yes’ to food or ‘yes’ to another need you need to get met

The first step – waiting – is arguably the hardest to do because eating is unconscious – so this step is really about remembering to wait and pause before eating. In the short term, you can find a reminder to help you. The best way is to put a reminder on your dominant hand or wrist. Your dominant hand is usually the one you write with, and it’s the one that you generally use to reach for food. If you join me as a member of the Eating Blueprint programme you receive a subtle wrist band to help you with this, but other ideas of reminders are:

  • Moving your watch so it’s on your dominant wrist
  • Wearing a charity band, elastic band, hair band around wrist
  • Writing a * on the back of your hand
  • Wearing a ring/painting nails/putting a plaster on the back of your hand etc.

The only limit is your imagination – feel free to get as creative as you like! Anything that acts as a trigger that when you are reaching for the food you are reminded, “Oh yes! I’m doing something differently with food, what it is again?” Remember you won’t need to have the reminder there forever. It’s just a short-term strategy to break the mindless eating habit. Most people find that 7 days is long enough.


Which leads us on to step two – asking yourself ‘Am I hungry for food or something else? Is food what I really need right now?’ The first thing to say here is that you might not know if you’re really hungry – many of us have lost our ability to tune into our hunger because in our modern day lives we tend to eat simply because it’s a mealtime, or because someone else has prepared something for us, or it’s just there and available and looks delicious! Eating Blueprint members discover lots of strategies that can help them figure out their ‘Hunger Number’.

If your ‘Hunger Number’ tells you that you’re not truly hungry, then you are trying to solve a problem using food. You can therefore start to experiment with asking yourself, ‘What AM I hungry for?’ it might be a break from whatever it is you’re doing. To cheer you up. As a distraction. To bond with someone…..


The Eating Blueprint is designed to help you to figure out what you’re  truly hungry for, and what problems you may be trying to get solved by eating.


For now, the question to hold in mind is simply, ‘Am I hungry for food or something else?


Finally, step 3 is to say ‘yes’ to food or ‘yes’ to what you’re really hungry for. Whatever decision you make, you can feel confident you’ve made it mindfully and with thought, ensuring you’re not left with that guilty ‘food hangover’.


If you’d like more support, please consider joining me in the Eating Blueprint programme, giving you the food psychology tools you need for freedom in body and mind! Discover more and read the success stories at the website here. Join for just £7 today, get started now by clicking here,


Overcoming Diabetes Hypo Fears

Many people with diabetes are anxious or worry a lot about hypoglycemia. In one study, 25% of people with diabetes reported anxiety about hypoglycemia is a serious problem for them.


Hypoglycemia, or a ‘hypo’ as it is commonly known, is a frequent occurrence among many people with diabetes, type 1 and type 2.

So why do people worry about hypos, particularly when, in most cases, they can be treated with relative speed and ease by eating a sugary snack? Well, it’s often because the effects of a hypo can be frightening, embarrassing, uncomfortable, unpleasant and, in their worst cases, fatal.

Getting sweaty, having slurred speech, shaking uncontrollably, or being confused may not seem too bad in the whole scheme of things, but having them occur in a job interview or important work meeting, whilst driving home at night, or on a romantic date may not be so pleasant!

Having just one episode of hypoglycemia that was unpleasant can lead to increased anxiety of it happening again.

This can lead to other behaviours, which may lead to further difficulties with managing diabetes.

  • Running blood sugars high to avoid hypoglycemia.
  • Eating more than needed to keep blood glucose levels elevated.
  • Restricting activities such as driving, exercising, travelling on public transport etc.

In addition to a particularly bad experience of hypoglycemia, three further factors may contribute to excessive worry.

  • You may be experiencing a weakened ability to feel the warning signs of hypoglycemia.
  • The warning signs of hypoglycemia, such as sweating and shaking, occur because of the associated release of the body’s stress related hormones, epinephrine. However, for some people with diabetes, their warning signs are less obvious, and so by the time they do notice the problem, their blood glucose level has dropped so low that taking reparative action becomes even harder. This is known as reduced hypo awareness.
  • You may not be able to distinguish the feelings of hypoglycemia from the feelings of fear.

Many symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as sweatiness or an increased heart rate are the same as signs you would experience if you were fearful. This may lead to a spiral of confusion.

  • You may notice your heart beating a little faster.
  • You may think, “This could be hypoglycemia”.
  • This makes you nervous, so your heart therefore beats even faster.
  • Thinking, “Oh no, this is a symptom of hypoglycemia”.
  • You feel even more nervous and reach for a snack to raise your blood sugar levels.

When actually what you really were experiencing was nervousness.

Here are my top 5 strategies for helping you to overcome your difficulties with hypoglycemia.

  1. Tell your healthcare team.If you frequently experience low blood glucose levels, the first thing that may be needed is a change to your diabetes regime — medication type, the dosage, or the timing of medication and/or food. Your doctor will be able to help with this.

    Also, if you are experiencing less warning signs than previously, there are ways of recovering these, through avoiding all hypos for as little as a few weeks. This needs careful planning to avoid the opposite problem of overly high blood glucose levels, but is very possible with guidance.

  2. Immediately before checking your blood glucose, guess what the number will be.Increase your confidence in your hypoglycemia awareness by estimating what yours is before you actually test. Write down what your guess is, then test and write down the actual result. If you often guess incorrectly, then use the following strategies to help you.
  3. Learn your unique ‘alarm bells’ that are your own warning signs of hypos.Everyone has their own individual ‘alarm bells’ that is their body’s way of telling them that they are low. Keep track of what you notice going on for you when you have a hypo (obviously best thought about after you have recovered from one!). Is it a physical symptom (heart racing, tingling in a certain part of your body, sweating, shaking, or heart palpitations), or a change in your mood or in your ability to think clearly?
  4. Find out what works best for treating your hypoglycemia.Experiment! Some people like to try chocolate, but because of the high fat content, it can be slow to raise blood glucose levels. Fast acting sugars contained in glucose tablets and glucose drinks can act more quickly. There’s nothing worse than eating a snack and it not working, so try a variety of foods and see what works best for you. Once you’ve found what works best for you, always carry some of this with you.
  5. If you tend to think you are having reactions, even when you are not, try a breathing exercise.If you think you may get yourself into the anxiety cycle described earlier, then a quick relaxation exercise can help control your panic, so you can discover whether you are experiencing hypoglycemia.

    Try the following quick exercise:

    • Sit comfortably in a chair.
    • Close your eyes.
    • Take a slow, deep breath in so your lungs are full.
    • Hold this breath for the count of 3 seconds.
    • Breathe out as fully as possible for a count of 5 seconds.
    • Repeat this sequence for two more breaths.
    • Open your eyes and notice any subtle differences in how you feel, in your body and your mind.
    • With a bit of practice, over time, you will be able to notice a feeling of relaxation.
    • Once you feel comfortable with the technique, begin to practice this when you are having hypoglycemic symptoms that you are not sure whether or not are real.
    • If they weaken, it is likely it is a false alarm, but in the beginning always test your blood glucose level to see if you are correct.
    • With frequent practice, over time, you can expect the false alarms to occur less frequently.

If you’d like further support with overcoming your diabetes related fears, do check out my ‘Diabetes Mind & Body’ Programme,  for just £1 a day you can have 24/7, at-home access to an online toolkit of psychological strategies that you can implement right away to feel better about your diabetes AND your life. Click here to learn more! 

Diabetes Course (2)

Eating to Heal a Hungry Heart

Today is part 2 of a 2 part answer to a question I get asked a lot – which is ‘Jen, how do I lose weight when I’m so hungry all the time?’

The previous article introduced you to the key step that I learned on my journey of recovery – figure out what sort of hunger you are really having and work out if it’s ‘stomach’ or ‘eyeball’ hunger you’re experiencing. Today’s article will discuss the third type of hunger – which is ‘heart’ hunger.


Heart hunger happens when we are triggered to eat because we are experiencing something inside – a feeling, emotion, thought, or perhaps a memory. Perhaps you’ve spent all day eating healthy and then something happens – you have an argument with your partner, or your boss criticises you, or maybe the opposite – something positive happens like the arrival of some good news – and you find yourself eating more than you wanted – either openly, or secretively. Or maybe you’re not sure what happens, but something shifts inside you, and you just ‘find’ yourself eating more than you wanted to or needed to.

The first thing to say is that this is ‘normal’ and there is nothing wrong with you if you realise you are eating in response to heart hunger. As humans, food has never just been about fuel for our bodies. Ever since we were babies and our tears were comforted by our caregiver’s milk, a connection was established inside us, as food being a route to feeling loved, nurtured and connected. Food plays a really important role in regulating ALL our emotions – happy, sad and everything in between. It is also often a way of comforting from self-critical thoughts we might be having – “I’m no good’, I’m not as clever/attractive as xyz’ or even, ‘I’ve failed my diet for today so I might as well just give up and really go for it’.

The challenge is that a lot of traditional weight loss advice tells us to overcome this by just distracting ourselves – and whilst this isn’t bad advice – for many of us it’s not so simple. It’s a bit like sticking a smiley face sticker over our petrol warning light in the car – the problem still remains.

There may also be more subtleties to heart hunger, that don’t make a lot of sense until we understand what I call our ‘Eating Story™’ – which is the inner story we have that gives meaning to our inner impulses to eat.

One of our members Mira talked about often finding herself eating for no particular reason at all. Mira discovered she had an Eating Story – ‘Eating means I don’t feel deprived’. Mira grew up in poverty, there was never enough food at home growing up. She had very vivid memories of her mum cooking up the food that was available, putting it in the middle of the table, and her and her siblings having to ‘jostle’ for their share. Awareness of this Eating Story gave meaning to her impulses to eat when she wasn’t hungry. The Eating Story had outgrown its purpose. The mindful eating strategy she learned in the Eating Blueprint programme helped her notice when she was eating to get this feeling of deprivation met. She created new ways of nurturing herself and feeling fulfilled, that didn’t always have to involve food.

So, like Mira, uncovering your Eating Story may be a key part of your journey to discovering your ‘heart hunger’ triggers.

In the meantime, I have an Action Step for you, if you’re inspired to try it out. I invite you to think about your experiences of heart hunger in your life this week. Notice when you’re eating because your heart is hungry, whether it’s due to a mood change or feeling, a thought, or triggering memory, and consider making a choice other than food. If you find yourself struggling to do this, please don’t worry, I’ve been in your shoes and I know you can do this when you have someone to take you by the hand and walk you through the steps.

I’d love to help you by inviting you to join me for my ‘Tackling Temptation: Get More Willpower’ Programme. 


This programme gives you the 6 Simple Steps to Tackle Temptation, showing you how to unlock your inner willpower using my unique 6 Step Process – so you can lose weight with much less effort than you have before. AND for a limited time I’m making it available to you for an incredibly affordable price.

So get all the details over at


I hope you enjoyed this strategy and I that you’ll join me in the programme soon – I’d love to support you there.  Just visit


‘I’m hungry all the time!’

Today I’m answering a question I get asked a lot – which is ‘Jen, how do I lose weight when I’m so hungry all the time?’

The first thing to say is that I can relate! For years I struggled to manage my hunger and was overeating a lot more than I wanted to for good health.

The key thing that I learned on my journey of recovery that I want to share with you today is to figure out what sort of hunger I was really having.

You may think this sounds a little bit strange, so stay with me, as I’d love to explain!

Because often times were eating for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger – in fact my Eating Blueprint approach reveals the 30 reasons why we eat – but to simplify things, these reasons can actually be divided into 3 broad types of hunger

The first type of hunger – is stomach hunger. This is the home of true physical hunger – the signal that we need to eat for energy. Most traditional approaches to weight loss assume that we’re eating because we’re physically hungry and that’s a pretty reasonable assumption – after all we were all born with a great skill in sensing our hunger – because it’s a necessary skill for survival – that’s why babies cry so loudly when they feel hungry and need to be fed!

But fast forward a few decades or how ever old you are now – and you may not be so tuned in to your feelings of stomach hunger – you’re likely eating for all sorts of reasons – because the food looks delicious, because it’s difficult to resist, because someone cooked or bought it for you and it’s hard to say ‘no’ – and these are really great examples of the second type of hunger – which is eyeball hunger.

This is when we see food and it triggers us to eat.

This is perfectly natural and there is nothing wrong with you if you realise you are eating in response to eyeball hunger. As humans, we’ve evolved from times where food was scarce and we were hardwired to see food and eat it for the sake of our survival.

The challenge is that a lot of traditional weight loss advice tells us to overcome this by keeping the food out of sight, not buying it in the first place, not having it in the house, and whilst there is a lot of wisdom to this advice, it also isn’t’ always so simple or practical to follow in our food abundant worlds! So instead we’re told to rely on willpower.

But willpower is a tricky phenomenon. You might not realise it yet, but willpower is actually a skill. And it’s a skill I’m pretty sure you already have in some areas of your life.

Because I’m imagining that you –

  • Have the ‘willpower’ to resist robbing a bank when an unexpected bill comes in and you fancy getting hold of some more money to cover it?
  • Can generally summon up the ‘motivation’ to go out in the rain to pick up your child from the school gate, when the sofa is warm and inviting inside?
  • Have the ‘self-discipline’, when you’re in a committed relationship, not to run off with the guy or girl that flirts with you at the bar! (Well, most of the time anyway!)

So why is it that you can apply these skills of motivation, willpower and self-discipline in these other areas of your life, but not when it comes to eating and responding to eyeball hunger.

Well it’s often because you simply haven’t been shown how. Until now!

Because I’d love to help you by inviting you to join me for my ‘ Tackling Temptation / Get More Willpower’ Programme!



This programme gives you the 6 Simple Steps to Tackle Temptation, showing you how to unlock your inner willpower using my unique 6 Step Process – so you can lose weight with much less effort than you have before. AND for a limited time I’m making it available to you for an incredibly affordable price!

So get all the details over at


In the meantime, I have an Action Step for you, if you’re inspired to try it out. I invite you to really think about the difference between stomach and eyeball hunger in your life this week. Notice when you’re eating because you’re eyeballs are hungry, and consider making a choice other than food. If you find yourself struggling to do this, please don’t worry, I’ve been in your shoes and I know you can do this when you have someone to take you by the hand and walk you through the steps. I really hope you’ll make the decision to join me in the ‘Tackling Temptation’ programme – I’d love to support you there! Just visit

You may also recall that I said right at the start of this article that there are three types of hunger – so I’ll be talking about the third type in the next video. I hope you enjoyed this strategy and I that you’ll join me in the programme soon!




Diabetes – What Have Emotions Got To Do with It?

Life with diabetes is hard work. Diabetes has been likened to a job — not just any job, but one in which you have to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with no holiday, no praise, and no pay. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t stay working in a role like that for very long! However, individuals with diabetes don’t have the option of walking out or giving up; they have to keep ‘working’, day in and day out, for the rest of their lives.

None of us can do anything in life that requires effort over a sustained period without getting support and respite — and diabetes is exactly the same. There are wide ranges of emotional factors that can impact the well-being of someone with diabetes — some of which affect people with type 1 or type 2 only, but many of which affect individuals with any type.

Dealing with Diagnosis

The diagnosis of diabetes is a life event that has been likened to the experience of grief. In the same way as it is natural to grieve for a lost loved one, being given a diagnosis of diabetes can trigger a grieving for one’s lost health. It is common to live life as if we are invincible, rarely considering our health or mortality. This dramatically changes when we are diagnosed with diabetes: we are suddenly acutely aware that life is not without limits. We now have to rely on regular medication, frequent visits to a medical setting, and a team of health professionals to keep ourselves well. By becoming aware of the different stages of grief and recognising the stage of the process that you may be in, you can manage the potential challenges better.

Depression, Low Mood and Distress

Psychological research has demonstrated that low mood and depression are very prevalent among people with diabetes; in fact, studies have demonstrated that depression is approximately twice as common in people with diabetes as in people who are in good physical health. ‘Diabetes Distress’ is a particular type of low mood, describing the emotional burden associated with the self-care demands required. Life has its challenges for all of us, with or without diabetes, and experiencing the whole range of high and low moods is part of the human condition. However, coping with a demanding condition like diabetes is an extra stressor to contend with, and it is very common to struggle with low mood and distress at times.

Guilt, Shame and Self-Blame

Feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame can be experienced by people diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For individuals with type 1 or 2 diabetes there can be the shame of being ‘different’ for having this health problem to contend with, not helped by the way the media can stigmatise diabetes. Injecting and blood testing in public can be experienced as embarrassing and something we would rather hide than engage in openly. Some of us may experience these emotions because they we have been aware we needed to make changes to our health and lifestyle, and they feel regret we didn’t act on this awareness in time to prevent diagnosis.

Fear and Anxiety

Fear and anxiety affect many people with diabetes. They can be divided into two categories: fear about factors in the here and now, and fear of the future. Fear in the here and now may be anxiety over hypoglycaemia, fear of needles, or simply the daily anxiety about the changes that diabetes causes in life. In terms of fear of the future, many people worry about the long-term complications and how they may have an impact in the years to come.

Using Food to Cope with Emotions

For many people, both with and without diabetes, food can offer more than just fuel for the body. From birth, food is intimately linked to feeling safe and secure in the world, and in adulthood food can become a shortcut to dealing with difficult emotions, rewarding ourselves and simply just getting through the demands of life. Many people go their whole lifetime using food in this way to a greater or lesser extent, and often without causing much harm. However, individuals with diabetes need to be more mindful of the role food plays in their lives, and that using food to cope can cause problems.

Communicating with Health Professionals

Developing a good working relationship with your healthcare team can go a long way towards making you feeling supported in your journey of managing diabetes. However, it’s common for people to avoid going to their health appointments completely, or to feel a range of difficult emotions when they do go. Exploring the various ways you may be relating (or not) to your healthcare team can help you see these relationships in a more helpful light. You may also want to equip yourself with some conversational tools that help you feel more able to assert yourself and have yourself heard.

Family Relationships

Diabetes doesn’t only affect the person with the condition. It has the potential to affect the whole family. Just as the person with diabetes can struggle emotionally, those around them can too. Family members can express their concern and worry in a multitude of different ways. Some loved ones may have a tendency to be over-involved with the management of diabetes, which can feel suffocating to the person with diabetes. The opposite can also happen, when family members withdraw and seemingly ignore what is going on, leaving the person with diabetes feeling lonely and isolated.

Sexual Difficulties

Difficulties with sexual response are a very common experience for people with diabetes and can affect men and women in differing ways. For individuals with diabetes this can be a further setback: not only do they need to deal with all the other challenges of managing diabetes, now the part of their identity that could be expressed through their sexual relationship is hindered. It can feel like there isn’t any part of life that isn’t affected by diabetes.

How Does Psychology Help?

So we can see that there are a variety of challenges that can affect the emotional wellbeing of the person with diabetes. If you’d like support with any of the issues mentioned here, please do check out my ‘Diabetes Mind & Body Programme’, an online toolkit of psychological strategies that you can implement right away to feel better about your diabetes AND your life. Membership starts at just £7, learn more by clicking here! 

Be Kind to Yourself

If you’ve started the New Year with an intention for your health and it’s already fading, that’s ‘normal’. Most people apparently give up their resolutions entirely by the second week of January. If that’s you, I invite you to do something different this year.

Be kind to yourself.

Don’t be so driven by success and failure, black and white, good and bad.


The people I’ve worked with over the years who have made the changes they want are the ones who’ve developed a kind inner voice and talk to themselves like they’d talk to a loved one. Rather than ‘you’ve messed up’, ‘you’re such a failure’, ‘you can’t do anything right’ they start to say things like:

  • ‘I’m changing and it takes time to change’
  •  ‘I’ve done well to manage what I have’
  • ‘Keep going’
  •  ‘It took me years to get this way, so it will take me more than a few days to get where I want to be’
  • ‘It’s been a hard week, but what can I do differently next week?’


Being kind to yourself doesn’t mean letting yourself off the hook though! You set an intention for your health because it’s important to you, so being kind to yourself also involves developing the skill of resilience.


I’m imagining you already have resilience in other parts of your life – to keep going in your job, parenting, or caring duties, involves an ability to put off the pleasure of what’s easy to do in the moment (avoid going for that walk today) for the long term pleasure of what you’re aiming for (whether that’s looking better, feeling better or meeting some numbers based goal).


So in the days that come, ask yourself, ‘What would I say to a loved one who was thinking this way?’ and you’ll get a fresh sense of clarity over how to be kinder to yourself.


If you’d like my help with supporting yourself to develop these skills, please consider joining one of my ‘Mind & Body’ programmes.  I created them because I remember the loneliness of struggling with the thoughts and feelings that stopped ME getting the results I wanted, and I don’t want one more person to struggle on their own when they don’t have to. Join me, and let me help you develop those ‘inner skills’ you may be missing. I’d love to be the one to help you! Read more here: Diabetes Mind & Body Programme and Eating Blueprint Mind & Body Programme.



Forget resolutions, use this instead

Happy new year! Do you have a love-hate relationship with resolutions?! If so, you’re not alone. We all know that a huge percentage of them ‘fail’  – anywhere from 80-92% depending on who you listen to…but what we don’t often think about is the 8-20% that DO get fulfilled.
So what’s different for those special people? Whether they’re aware of it or not, those who succeed are actually going beyond resolutions, to something much deeper.
They have moved from ‘goals’ to ‘intentions’.
A goal might be ‘to lose xyz lbs in weight’. An intention may be ‘to choose healthy options xyz% of the time’.
Intentions involve shifting from a goals-based ‘success’ or ‘failure’ mentality, to moving towards a desired outcome that’s based on what you VALUE.
When clients come to me because they’ve failed to reach their goals (S-M-A-R-T as they may have been!) I invite them to think about the way they behave as a parent, family member or friend.Take a moment and do the same!
Whilst you may set goals in these areas, you’re probably more likely to have an unvoiced ‘intention’ e.g. to be a kind parent, loving family member or supportive friend. In the area of relationships, it’s easy to realise that you’re (both) human, so setting out to reach an intention 100% of the time may not be achievable (we all have days where we’re tired, or pushed to our limits). But just because we lost our patience with our loved one today, it doesn’t mean we wake up tomorrow thinking, ‘I messed up, I’m a failure, there’s no point I might as well give up!” No, instead the intention starts afresh each day. In other words, we are much more likely to be kind to ourselves, and don’t beat ourselves up for having a bad day (most of the time anyway!).
What often isn’t voiced is that you’re actually in a relationship with your health, too. Whether that’s your diabetes or your body size, you are relating to it daily, and making decisions based on your thoughts and feelings about it.
So if resolutions feel draining to you, I invite you to try on making an ‘intention’ this year. What’s the one intention you’d like to make when it comes to your health for the months ahead? Thinking about your daily life, what will take you off track, and what can you put in place to help you?
If you’ve tried traditional approaches to your health in the past, perhaps a mind-body approach will serve you well this year. If so, I’d love to support you with my ‘Mind Body’ programmes, which you can join today for just £7, and cancel any time you choose.
If you’re living with any type of diabetes and are struggling with the ‘non-medical’ aspects of managing – like feeling burnt out, lacking motivation, feeling stressed or fearful, please check out my ‘Diabetes Mind & Body’ Programme by clicking here. 
If weight loss is your goal this year, you’re invited to join me in my ‘Eating Blueprint’ programme, which supports you with the mind-body tools to reach a healthy weight for life, learn more by clicking here.
They work well as stand alone programmes and can also complement other ‘traditional’ approaches you may be using.
Every decision you make when it comes to your health starts with your thoughts and feelings, so let 2018 be the year that you get help to choose the thoughts and feelings that will lead to the best possible outcome for you and your health. I can’t wait to be supporting you very soon!

End of Year Reflections & The Year Ahead

How has 2017 been for you?

Many of us feel that the end of the year is a time to make changes and set New Year’s resolutions – which we all know are sadly often over by mid-January…despite our best intentions!

Managing a long term condition like diabetes/our weight and food choices, that require a great deal of self-management, means that reflection and planning is a really important part of achieving the results that lead not just to health, but also to an all-important sense of wellness and inner wellbeing.

This article aims to support you to reflect on 2017 and look ahead to plan for any changes you feel are needed for 2018. Very many thanks to Diabetes UK, who originally invited me to write this article last year (you can read it on the Diabetes UK site by clicking here)

Your relationship with your health 

As someone living with diabetes, or struggling with your weight, you know that you don’t have to be defined by your health, or any of the outcomes – whether it’s blood glucose readings, your weight, cholesterol or blood pressure, or the number of hypos and hypers you have.

However, these numerical values can feel negative when they are not as we would like.

But, measuring ourselves doesn’t have to be a negative thing if we can instead adjust our mindset and view it as feedback, as something may need to be changed.

Where to begin…

Look back over the year and reflect on:

  • 3+ things you’re most pleased with when it comes to your health
  • 3+ aspects you would have liked to be different

As well as the more obvious areas such as following dietary and exercise recommendations, smoking and alcohol use, look as broadly as you can to consider other factors. These could be aspects such as your attendance at health appointments, having your annual eye screening, learning about diabetes/healthy eating through personal research, and so on.


Look at the list of 3+ things you would have liked to be different. See them as clues that indicate that something could be changed in this area.

For example, high or low blood glucose readings may be evidence that your medication doses may need to be changed, timing of meals and snacks could be altered, weight gain could be a clue that your diet be improved, or you could benefit from some mind-body support to tackle your food choices (learn more about my Eating Blueprint self-help programme by clicking here) 

Don’t forget that there are many influences and several of them can’t be controlled by us

Be fair to yourself

As you’re doing this reflection, take notice of your inner conversation. Self-judgement can be really common. Yes, you have a medical condition, and the focus is often on the medical and numerical aspect of our efforts. However, it’s hard to untangle the personal effort we put in to living with the condition with the medical outcomes we often see.

Although diabetes/weight management involves literal measurements (blood glucose, weight etc), aim to ensure you are also not judging yourself unfairly (against people without diabetes, against others HbA1C readings, against those who seem to be able to eat what they like and not put on weight! etc). Knowing you are keeping going and making some effort each day will help you to untangle those feelings and ideas of self-worth when you consider your progress.

A change in approach

We often talk much more harshly to ourselves than we would ever talk to friends and family members. Diabetes requires us to develop a compassionate approach to ourselves.

I have found that asking myself, ‘What would I do or say to myself right now if I was being a good mum (or dad, or friend) to myself?’ really helps. Great parents are usually loving, but also kind enough to speak the truth when it needs to be told. Is it possible to develop the same style in your ‘inner talk’ to yourself?

If I find myself avoiding doing what I know I ‘should’, such as eating more than I need, I’ve come to realise that it’s often because the food (or avoidance of the blood glucose testing etc) is the best way I know how to take care of myself, in that moment.

It usually signals there’s an ‘inner need’ that needs to be met in that moment, and if I can find an alternative way to get that need met, the need to overeat becomes much less compelling. For example, if I’m nervous about something ahead, the desire to eat may be around, and whilst food may numb and distract this, the kinder thing may be to do what I can to prepare for the event, or talk to someone or get advice about it.&

Asking myself the question, ‘why?’ about behaviour like this, is really key.

Evaluating your reflections

Having done your reflections for 2017, is there anything you need to change? If you’re happy with your progress this year, congratulations! Perhaps you’d like to share your news with someone or give yourself a well-deserved reward, symbolic or otherwise.

If you’re concerned you’re not making the progress or seeing the outcome that you’d like, congratulations for this insight too. Awareness of your situation is key to change, and the most important step in moving towards an outcome you’d prefer.

Looking at your reflections, is there one thing that immediately jumps out you can do differently? Starting with the smallest and easiest step is the one to begin with, as you’re more likely to achieve it and this often brings momentum to then tackle more challenging goals. This is also a great time to review whether it’s time to find out what support you can get from your diabetes healthcare team and make an appointment with the relevant professional.

A personal note

Diabetes isn’t easy, and this time of year especially can bring that sharply into focus. If nothing else, this year I have strived to stay grateful that I have a condition that can be managed – when there are so many health concerns that can’t.

Wherever you are on your diabetes journey, there’s always time to make changes, with a view to making your condition become more manageable when handled in the best way. Although New Year is a great time to make a

change, taking small and manageable steps toward your overall health goals throughout the months ahead will mean this time next year you’ll be celebrating what a great 2018 you were able to create!

If you’d like some support in 2018, I’d love to help. Myself and Therapist partners know how difficult it can be, and would love to take you by the hand and guide you step-by-step to reach the freedom in body and mind you are looking for. We have online support programmes available from just £7, and 1:1 therapy starts from just £65. Please get in touch with your enquiry!

If you have any type of diabetes and would like diabetes specific help (e.g. managing diabetes distress/low mood mood, fears and anxiety, staying motivated, insulin omission, sexual difficulties, relating to health professionals) or any other specific concern, please email:

If you are struggling with your weight and would like mind-body support, please visit for a range of self-help online programmes from Dr Jen, or email: