By Akhila Gullapuram MS,RD
Feelings of fear, shock, and uncertainty can be common after receiving life-altering news of a diagnosis of kidney failure. Expressing fear, anger and sadness can be normal during this time. Allow yourself some time to process what you have been told and to adjust to new happenings in your life. Expressing your true feelings will be helpful to find support from family and friends.
Positive attitude and Exercise are two great helpers to adjust to the new diet pattern once on dialysis.
Positive thinking can help in many ways. Accepting a situation that is no longer in your control can save a lot of your energy and make you feel better.Not accepting it can send your mind into a‘blame mode’, where it tends to find fault with everything. Most of the rage is mainly because events in life might not have unfolded as expected. Positive thinking is not expecting the best in every situation but accepting the situation “as is”. The above is easier said than done during these challenging times. Be aware that making this little change of coming to terms in itself paves the way for a new beginning.
Eating on dialysis without accepting your situation can be frustrating. Making changes in food habits is not an easy task for most people. Re-learning to eat can make you feel uncertain and self-doubting. It takes a lot of courage to leave the known and adapt to the new. Holding on to habits which are no longer meaningful may only harm your health and prevent you from feeling good. Power and security lies in making small changes in a new direction.
Exercise is another great helper to adjust to the new diet pattern. Many studies have shown that exercise produces ‘feel good’ chemicals called “endorphins” which enhance the sense of well-being. It can help to relieve the stress of being on dialysis. It can also provide a feeling of satisfaction and well being. Never begin any exercise without consulting your doctor.
Adjusting to your new diet
Changing your food habits gradually will help to provide a sense of self-control. Your dietitian can give you ample time to adjust after giving you the most necessary instructions to follow. Take small steps to make changes.
Try to understand how the change will help your health. Making the change and adjusting to it will become difficult without this.
Dialysis requires making changes in the way you cook. Ask for recipes and support you need.
Support and surround yourself with people who are coping and eating better even with dialysis. Make your meal time enjoyable by trying new recipes and feel good. Every time you feel good will reinforce the positivity of your action.
Any time a negative thought enters your mind, try to talk to yourself with even more hope. Instead of thinking that there is no way I can eat this way, say to yourself that you can try to make it work.
What you believe is what you create. If you believe you can eat a healthy, tasty meal every single day, you will create it!
Do not forget your dietitian who is qualified and experienced to suggest to you and your family ways to cook healthy, sumptuous meals and discuss any issues you may face regarding food.