I was skeptical when I first heard of diet coaching or nutrition consultation, how difficult can sticking to a diet be? All you need is the will to stick to it (knowing that it’s good for your health) - no other help needed.

But truth be told, I know that I have backslid on my diet a number of times; and good intentions may not be enough. This is where I discovered how a health coach helped me get back on track.

Dessert is a tradition in my family, and everyone looks forward to it. From everyday meals to family feasts, a sweet treat completes the experience.  Since being diagnosed with diabetes, I know that I should avoid sweets. But this is easier said than done.

“This is because of culture – we associate dessert with family, so when we skip it, we feel some guilt, “explains Mitch Genato, founder of LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness and a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. He says that we know exactly what we should eat but when we examine a bit closer, you can see that the motivation behind the behavior plays an important part. He says feelings like this affect the mindset of even the most motivated diabetic.

Another powerful feeling is deprivation. ‘Because desserts and sweets are identified with celebrations, not having it feels like something is missing,” says Mitch. When you focus on what is missing, rather than what you can have, it “makes eating a less enjoyable experience than it should be,” says Mitch.

When one has bad feelings about foods you should avoid, it is much harder to start or sustain the best-intentioned efforts to stick to a diet that is good for you. However, Mitch reassures that while difficult, it is not impossible; when you follow these reframing strategies below:


  • ·         Change your mindset–  Pause and think about how you look at food. Many think that diabetes means that you deprive yourself from certain foods. Changing the way you think about it is the key, and instead rethink a healthy diabetic diet not as depriving, but as rewarding and health-giving.

  • ·         Focus on what you can do – Instead of thinking about what you can’t eat, think about what you can eat. Look at healthier replacements:  an apple instead of apple pie, brown rice or adlai in place of white rice, green tea instead of a sugary drink.

  • ·         Start small – For a big change to happen, one starts with little steps. It is not overwhelming when you think of changing one habit instead of overhauling your entire diet. So instead of focusing on a month, focus on planning for days at a time, before going on to plan for a longer stretch. Instead of omitting an entire favorite food, you can rethink serving size and have it a smaller portion.

  • ·         Practice mindful eating – Now that you’ve set the healthy meal, enjoy it to the fullest. Savor the flavor in every bite, eat slowly and enjoy pleasant conversations.

When the inevitable slip happens, Mitch advises to take it all in stride; and not make a big deal about it.  “Remember, you can always get back on track.  And this is where a coach can help you – to help you with the process,” says Mitch. “Instead of prescribing or ordering, a coach is more like an accountability partner. With those I coach, I help them see that this is something that they are in control of, instead of something that just react to and follow. They decide on their change- what to do, when and who to do it.”

More importantly, Mitch stresses that a coach is not a replacement for medical advice but complements it. He knows it’s not that easy. “I used to eat 6 cups of rice a day. I used to think that a meal is not a meal without rice,” he remembers. “It was when I changed my mindset that I was able to change my behavior too. This is where I can be of most help, to guide those who need a partner in their journey to health,” says Mitch.

This was when I felt that this can work for me: when I decided on what I can do with my diet issue, I felt confident that I can follow it because I had an active part on the decision.  After with my one session with Mitch, I saw the reasons why I need sweets in my diet, how I can make peace with it, and what I can do to control that. I felt better with replacing that chocolate with a banana:  that I am not taking away the joy from eating; but that I am making the best choice for my health.


*Coaching is meant to complement a physician’s care and a healthy lifestyle. If you are interested in a nutrition consult with a Mediclick health coach, sign up here: https://mediclick.ph/pages/consults-service