Pam Durant and Diapoint’s Head Coach, Maria Monem, have an open discussion where they talk about health coaching, the importance of finding support and accountability, nutrition, food – including some of their personal favorites – as well as some of the science behind it all.

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Diapoint health coach Maria Monem

Maria Monem is a certified Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach.

Maria is a Diapoint Health Coach with a background in nutrition and behavior-change coaching. She specializes in chronic disease management and prevention, helping people to create a healthy lifestyle to manage their health conditions and to achieve a great quality of life through a holistic approach. Diabetes plays a huge role in her life, both professionally and personally, as both her husband and daughter have Type 1 Diabetes.

Find Maria: 

Episode 05: The Healthy Balance – A Discussion About Coaching, Nutrition and Diabetes

Hello and welcome to Dia-Logue, the Diapoint Podcast. I am your host, Pam Durant, the Founder and Managing Director of DiapointME. And today, I am so excited. I’m speaking with Maria Monem. And Maria is the head coach at Diapoint. She is a certified holistic health and lifestyle coach with a background in nutrition and behaviour change coaching. She also specialises in chronic disease management and prevention, to help people create a healthy lifestyle to manage their health conditions and achieve a great quality of life through a holistic approach. Diabetes does play a huge role in her life professionally and personally. Because both her husband and her daughter have Type 1 Diabetes.

Thank you so much for joining me today Maria, to kind of have this open discussion on different topics, all things diabetes, and nutrition. Did I miss anything in your bio? I know people come on the show, and they send me these kind of shorter bios, but I know that often there’s so much more behind it. So please, if I’m missing anything, let me know.


Maria  1:14 

Hi, Pam, and thank you for letting me join you here today. No, I don’t think you missed anything in the bio, it sounds pretty much like me.


Pam  1:22 

Great. Thank you. I know you’re working on some other exciting things. But I’ll save those for later. So when you’re finished, and then we can talk more about those in more detail.


Maria  1:30 



Pam  1:31 

So Maria is a coach, and actually a very good nutrition coach. I met Maria a few years ago, because we both have children with Type 1 Diabetes. So we met through a group of moms here in Dubai, and would meet up from time to time and talk about different things that, you know, we could do to support people with diabetes. And once I started Diapoint, and started moving toward coaching services, I knew that I wanted to work with Maria, because she is a very good nutrition coach. She understands diabetes work really, really well and gets a lot of great results with with her clients.


So I think Maria, if it’s okay with you, I just want to start this discussion by talking about what is coaching? I think there’s a lot of confusion. Coaching is a relatively newer profession. Yes, it comes from psychology, and it’s based on positive psychology. But I still think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what it is and what it does. So why don’t we start there? What is coaching?


Maria  2:38 

Yeah. So, you know, health coaches, they have a lot of knowledge and information about health and wellness, and lifestyle, and diet, and all of that. But they also have really, really important coaching tools to help you set and achieve health goals and build new habits that will last. The part of the success of a health coach, it comes from helping clients have set goals and create action plans. But most of the success comes from the presence of a coach, you know, that accountability that you get.  It’s becoming a huge thing now, it’s a lot in demand, because it’s so versatile, you can work with all sorts of people, all kinds of people, and a lot of a lot of different industries can use coaches. Yeah, so coaches, they view health holistically, and we take a more preventative approach. So we obviously we help people to set goals, and then we create action plans. But we also, you know, we look at not just that it’s not just about what you eating, or how you exercise is, is that it’s a lot of elements, part of the coaching. So for example, you know, it’s also about, you know, mental support. It’s about encouraging the clients to find what it is that they want to work on, and what it is that they want to achieve. And we get that through that relationship with the clients.


Pam  4:01 

Yeah, I agree. And I think there’s a lot of confusion also in the way Social Media now also is full of coaches. And there’s many, many good coaches out there many qualified coaches. If you’re looking for a health care coach or any kind of coach, really because there’s health coaches, there’s lifestyle coaches, there’s life coaches, there’s career coaches, so you really want to pick one first of all that focuses on the area that you want to improve or where you want to grow or where you want to be challenged. And a coach is not necessarily there to give you expert advice. And one thing I always say on the podcast is anything we talked about here you should be asking your qualified doctor about it. A coach is not there to make changes to any care plan or any anything that your doctors prescribed. Doctors are experts. That’s an actual expert approach, like your doctor will tell you what medication you need to take and what you need to do. And he might give you advice for solving certain problems, he will often give you the answer. Sometimes doctors will use coaching technologies. But coaches don’t do that.


Maria  5:17 

Exactly a coach is not meant to be prescribing anything, you know, we are very often, you know, we are there to bridge the gap between the doctor and the patient, for example, so we can explain things that maybe a little bit in more detail. So for example, if the doctor would give advice to the patient, then we can take that advice, we can take that goal, basically and work towards it and create that action plan to make it easier for the patient. So yeah, definitely not, we are not prescribing or doing anything like that.


Pam  5:47 

Exactly. And even sometimes what I find for myself when I’m coaching someone, because coaches spend more time listening, then actually talking, in most cases, it should be, unless a coach will say, I’m going to take my coaching hat off, and I’m going to suggest some links or helpful resources or some questions to ask your doctor, then we might share some of our experience. But sometimes I find it so challenging, because also as a coach, we want our clients to find their own way, as they answer the question as they achieve their goals. And sometimes it might even be an experience that we’ve actually lived ourselves. And we’re like, oh, yes, yes, I know the answer to this. And you have to really, really, as a coach, control yourself so that you are empathetic to the person that you’re coaching. It’s not about you sharing your life experience, even though yes, you do need experience, and training and education and wisdom to bring it to your client. However, it’s about them, it should be all about them. So how can we tell people like how do they know when they found a good coach? What should they look for when they’re when they’re looking for a coach?


Maria  6:56 

I think that they definitely need to look for like reviews, they need to make sure that they are qualified because a lot of people these days, they call themselves coaches without actually having any kind of certificates. I think definitely ask around, look around, you know, Google, if you need and check the schools and the institute’s that these people have that the coaches have been to make sure that they actually are what they say that they are.


Pam  7:21 

Yeah, a lot of the schools and institutions they themselves would be accredited. By The International Coaching Federation, I think it is they they’re an accrediting body, they accredit a lot of coach schools, that’s really critical. And you can go to their website, you can find the schools, there’s a list, and we’ll put that in the show notes, I’ll put the link for that. But that’s something that’s, that’s really critical. And for sure there, you know, just because someone has that certificate, that doesn’t necessarily make them an amazing coach. I know when I started coaching, and then I had to coach, I think it was three or four people as part of my education experience. In the beginning, I was not a confident coach, I wasn’t, I’m sure I wasn’t really a great coach, because I was in the learning process. And every professional goes through that every you know, doctor, or psychologist or, you know, if you’re a teacher, or whatever it is, you’re always a little nervous the first few years, but for sure, you want to find a certified experienced coach or someone that can relate to what you’re going through. And that’s one reason why Maria and I were really passionate about the subject of diabetes, while neither of us have diabetes, but we both live with people that have diabetes. So we’re much more empathetic and understanding to that.


Maria  8:44 

Yeah, and I really, you right when you say about the listening, because I think that’s actually one of the main skills of a coach. And it is quite difficult to learn. It sounds like it’s something easy, but it is exactly that. But you create that space for the for the client, and then you let them talk, and you listen and you it’s about reading between the lines as well. So body language, for example, and, you know, the tone of voice all of these things matters.


Pam  9:11 

Yes, that is so true. And I found that really challenging. Also, in the training, most of the training that I had, well, it was a US based, US based, well coaches, all of our calls, and all of our practices and tests were audio only. And at first I thought this is so crazy. We don’t even have like a live kind of webinar, video call or zoom. How are we going to do this? But what I realise the reason they do it that way. Part of it is to teach you to listen for those verbal cues, a shift in the tone of voice. If you see them face to face, then there can be a shift in body language and that’s when you know, if someone might be having a you know, a breakthrough or maybe there’s something they’re struggling with that you need to discuss. Little bit a little bit longer with them. So it is a listening thing.


Maria  10:03 

Yeah. And also to see what they’re not telling you. You know, that’s also part of the coaching process. I think that you that you look for that you are really present, but you’re looking for what they are not telling you as well.


Pam  10:16 

That’s, I say, like a huge truth bomb right there. Like what sometimes what they’re not saying is more powerful than what they’re saying. Right.


Maria  10:25 

Exactly. Yeah.


Pam  10:28 

So I mentioned our relationship with diabetes. And would you care to elaborate a little bit on when you met your husband? Did he already have Type 1 Diabetes? And how old was your daughter when she was diagnosed?


Maria  10:45 

Yeah. So, yes, I met my husband when he when he had already had diabetes for a very long time. And now he’s had that he’s for over 30 years, actually. And, you know, he is actually the reason that that I became interested in nutrition because I just had, I didn’t have a clue. And I was, you know, at the time, we lived in Greece, and I had a quite an unhealthy lifestyle myself, you know, I was smoking I was, you know, I never thought about food. I didn’t, I didn’t ever, I didn’t eat healthy. And he sort of showed me how, you know, he said that I have to eat healthy because of this, and this reason, and I have onset diabetes. And I have to think about my injections and my insulin and all of this. So he was the reason that I became interested in nutrition.


And my daughter, she, she was five when she got diagnosed, which she’s almost 10 now. And I was already a nutritionist when she was diagnosed. So I was, you know, I was a bit lucky in that, but I knew what to do in terms of food, though, of course, I was still you know, just when they get diagnosed, you’re in this bubble. Everything, I felt like oh my god, it’s like taking home a newborn baby from the hospital when we came out of the hospital. So yeah, I knew about nutrition. But then then later on, I wanted to become a health coach, obviously. And, you know, I didn’t choose to work with people with diabetes. It’s just happened. Diabetes chose me it feels like, I love it. I love it. I love to help people with diabetes. And, you know, my husband has had it for 30 years,  his HbA1c, see if it’s absolutely, it’s absolutely amazing. His 5.2 is his last one. And you can’t even tell that he’s had for such a long time. And he really, he’s such a good role model for my daughter, because he really looks after himself. And it means, you know, he really, he does a lot of sports, and he tries to eat healthy. And of course he has, he has treats as well, but he’s really trying to, he also wants to show how you know that that you can live, normally healthy life if you look after yourself.


Pam  12:48 

That’s amazing. An amazing A1c. I’d love to have him on the show. So he can he I’m sure he could teach us all a few things. That’s really, really, really amazing. That also that not only inspires your daughter, but that inspired you to get into the topic of nutrition.


Maria  13:08 



Pam  13:09 

And for those who are listening, which I specified in kind of the first overview episode, Type 1 Diabetes, there is no cure, Type 1, diabetes cannot be reversed. And no matter how healthy you eat, you will still have it. However, the healthier you that you eat, and the better you take care of yourself, the better that you can manage it. It’s so much easier.


Maria  13:35 



Pam  13:36 

So on the topic of nutrition, because we see and we talk about this all the time when we meet, there’s so many different diets and again, social media, it seems to have exasperated the fad diets and you know, people eating a certain way. And in all the I love all the recipes, suggestions and everything online. And there are certain people that I do follow, and I love their recipes. But with such an overwhelming amount of information out there. What is your nutrition philosophy?


Maria  14:09 

You know, I think that it’s really important that people they need to do what works for them. But it really has to work for them. I am not a big fan of you know, fad diets and stuff because it’s just, it’s not going to work in the long run, you have to sort of ask yourself, will I be able to eat this for the rest of my life, or when will I be able to follow this diet for the rest of my life, because that’s the only way that you can sort of tell if the diet is healthy. And if it’s you know, doable. So I am a big fan of you know, eating from all the food groups. I’m very, you know, basic and I like, I don’t want to call it old fashioned nutrition, but like, I think it’s important that you eat, you know, you should eat from all the food groups unless you have some sort of intolerance of course or allergy, but you need to get your fruits and vegetables in and if you eat carbohydrates and stuff, you know carbohydrates is not bad if you stick to the, you know, to the whole ones. So if you like brown pasta, brown rice, then then you’re fine you know.  It’s when you start eating simple carbohydrates, which turns into sugar so quickly and it will definitely affect your blood sugars. So, carbohydrates is not the villain, fat is not the villain, you know, you need all of these things to function. And I think that now, you know, is a lot of, there’s a lot of people trying keto diet, for example, or you know, vegan diet and stuff. And that’s absolutely fine but if it works for you.  But just make sure you know that you check with your doctor before, make sure that you know that it supports your you know, your vitamins, your minerals, all of that stuff that you’re getting all the nutrients that you should. Right?


Pam  15:51 

I agree. And honestly speaking, I prefer to have a diet with more vegetables, that’s just how… I’ve never really liked meat. I haven’t had red meat for I don’t know, 25-30 years, I’ve just never enjoyed it. I don’t like the texture of it. No, it’s not for me.


Maria  16:13 

I totally agree.  I really like, like a plant based diet. And you know, people think that plant based diet means to just eat vegetables, but actually, it’s about you’re still eating meat and fish. It’s just that maybe you don’t eat it as often. So maybe like, once a week, you can have me to whatever. So I’m also very interesting vegetables. I think it’s very, very important.


Pam  16:36 

Yeah, and there’s a lot of great things you can you can do with vegetables. It’s not just like boil them and put them on the plate. And then they don’t taste good. There’s so many amazing recipes, with vegetables, and I even started some nights now, okay, there’s the discussion of, you know, some of the vegetarian meat replacement things it’s processed. So it may you know, there’s an argument that it may not be as healthy as it seems. But I like to experiment with those. And one night I made tacos. So I grew up in Texas and Mexican food is like my kryptonite. So…. and often very like heavy and carbs and things like that. But actually, you know, tacos are not terrible if you put a lot of vegetables in them and do different things. And for the meat, I actually substituted it with a vegan based kind of meat and everybody ate it. And it wasn’t until they noticed that I was eating it. They’re like, wait, Mom, mom’s eating meat in her tacos. What is this? and they actually liked it. So I was pretty excited about that. And I try at home, back but with my Turkish kebab loving husband, and then my son who has that gene as well. So they do like meat, but we try to eat more plant based at home. And we saw a new endocrinologist recently, actually, last week. She’s a rock star our other endocrinologist, he moved, he moved back to the US. So she was looking at his output from his insulin pump. And she said, Well, his meals are only like 30 carbs. You know, she’s like, are you on like a low carb diet? And I said absolutely not. And he eats like he eats really well. But then I started reflecting on it and thinking about it. And I think one reason why it might be lower ish carb and not like, you know, it’s 30 carbs sometimes instead of like 50 carbs or 60 carbs which sometimes still seems like a lot because if you consider how many calories might be in some of those things, it could be a lot but I think because we’re eating plant based more that sometimes it’s a bit lower carb, not every day is like that like last night for dinner we had you know pasta and chicken, but you can try a lot of different things. I think the more plants that you bring into your diet, correct?


Maria  19:04 

Yeah. And also you know, with the salads that you were saying I think people they think oh, I have to eat green salad. You know, they don’t think further than that. And then there’s so much there’s so much you can do with salads, I mean you can put fruit in them, berries and you can just like make it more exciting, and it’s all about what puts you know the dressing as well. If you put like a nice vinaigrette or something on it, you can really make something really nice.


Pam  19:04 

Yeah, true. we love our olive oil. How do you feel about olive oil?


Maria  19:31 

Yeah, I do love olive oil. Absolutely. I’m, that’s the like the only thing I use. I’m half Greek come on. I have to have olive oil.


Pam  19:39 

That’s true. That’s true. I know. And we’re, having lived in Turkey we are snobs when it comes to olives, and so nuts – thankfully we don’t have a nut allergy – so we always have a lot of beautiful Turkish nuts and olive oil and the house. So maybe next time we meet, we should do just like an all of tasting and bring all of our favourite things.


Maria  20:07 

I really do have a thing for olives, I absolutely love it. Like when other people sit and they munch on like chocolates in the evenings. I just love my bowl of olives. I love it.


Pam  20:16 



Maria  20:17 

And you know what you said as well about like a plant base and stuff with beans and lentils and these kind of things. We love eating these kind of foods because it really shows, both my husband and my daughter you know, their blood sugar completely stabilised as when they eat this. So we try to eat quite a lot of beans and legumes and stuff.


Pam  20:39 

Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. I find that for us. Now, not everyone is like this. So if you’re out there, and you’re listening, and you have diabetes, no two people with diabetes are alike, ever. But for us, when my son eats red meat, which he loves, it creates a lot of insulin resistance, particularly if there’s like potatoes and other things with it, blood sugars become very, very challenging. Do you find that Maria in in clients or other people that that you’ve worked with?


Maria  21:10 

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I’ve noticed as well, obviously, pizza, you know, pizza, is there certain things that just doesn’t work. You know, we try to avoid pizza as much as possible, because it’s just, it has that because of all the fat it has that delayed reaction. So you know, you get high hours later, and then you sort of stay high. So yeah…


Pam  21:36 

It’s hard to bring a blood sugar down after pizza. One thing that we started doing for pizza, is I started to buy cauliflower crust. And that seems to has helped a lot because it’s lower in carbs. So then we don’t get the spike later. Usually.


Maria  21:54 

Yeah, the cauliflower crust. And also, almond base pizza has also been really good. I’ve noticed from blood sugars.


Pam  22:02 

Ohhh, I wonder if I could figure out how to make that myself at home. The crust?


Maria  22:07 

Yeah, there must be some good recipe online for sure. But yeah, I mean, I’ve tasted it and you can’t I mean, it really tastes nice as well.


Pam  22:15 

Yeah, you can’t tell the difference.


Maria  22:17 

You can’t tell, yeah. All right.


Pam  22:18 

I’m gonna start experimenting. So on the Diapoint website, maybe soon we’ll have an almond flour, pizza crust. Yum. So on the subject of food so what are some of your favourite foods or your husband, particularly your also your husband and daughter’s favourite foods.


Maria  22:32 

You know, my husband is thankfully he really loves vegetables and beans and anything healthy. He really loves healthy food. He used to be quite a big meat eater, but he’s sort of stopped himself. Due to, he obviously doesn’t want to have high cholesterol and stuff. So you know, whenever I see recipes that are with flour, for example, white flour, I just, you know, I just changed it. So I put I add in a little bit of a wholemeal flour to make a mix. And that usually sort of, you know, it stops the blood sugar from going very high. And I do a lot of like pancakes and waffles and things without and I make my own breads all the time. So yeah, we just exchanged the flours and stuff.


Maria  24:07 

What about you well like what’s your favourite food?


Pam  24:10 

My favourite foods? It often depends on my mood. And I mean I love…. what do I love? I like all foods really. And I like more, I don’t have as much of a sweet tooth as I used to although this morning, for example, I made protein pancakes and then I put some yoghurt on it with some berries and some pecans. And I found this, even for myself, I prefer to use it because I can feel blood sugar spikes sometimes if I’m not eating healthy, particularly the first meal of the day, I find is really important for me so I found this sugar free kind of syrup that kind of tastes like maple syrup. And if I’m gonna use any syrup, or I might put honey on it just a little bit, just a drizzle it doesn’t take much. Very, very little bit of honey. Sometimes I might use real maple syrup. But, you know, if it’s gonna be something that’s full of carbs or sugar, then it’s got to be 100% the real thing, not something that’s full of corn syrup or something like that.


Maria  25:17 

Yeah yeah definitely.


Pam  25:18 

So yeah, so I use the, this, this one syrup, that’s sugar free. And that was my breakfast. And that felt really special. And that made me really happy. For dinner, something that’s plant based, like I said, Mexican food is kind of like my kryptonite, so I’ll make it at home. But like with lower carbs, or different things like this, I love Turkish breakfast like love, love, love it.


Maria  25:47 

Oh, my God, who doesn’t love Turkish breakfast?


Pam  25:50 

So okay, Turkish breakfast at our house. And what we do usually every Friday or Saturday on the weekend, that’s when we do the full spread with the different cheeses, olives, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, making eggs, either like menemen, or my son loves eggs with Siddique, which is the Turkish sausage. Yeah, you know, that’s full of fat and protein that the body has to break down but now that we’ve learned how to bolus, how to give insulin for these, so that it won’t cause a spike, then it’s much easier. Plus for him eating something higher in protein and fat in the morning, is better than eating in at night. Because then he’ll be active during the day, hopefully.  And it helps a lot with blood sugars, but Turkish breakfast I absolutely love with the like endless pot of tea. And I think, it’s not just…. I tell a lot of people actually. So I grew up in the US. And in the US eating… I didn’t realise this until I left and I went back and many places eating is more about quantity than the quality. It is even in the supermarkets. It’s like, where can I get like, you know, two pounds, which is like a kilo of apples for the cheapest vert, you know, and you look and you look at them, and yes, they’re the cheaper apples, but they don’t have any flavour there, they’re not nice apples, whereas the quality apples were a little bit more expensive. And, and like nobody was wanting those just because of the price point. And I understand if you have a large family to feed and you’re conscious about you know, prices, which we all are. Then of course, you’re going to go for the cheaper apples, but I would go out of my way then to go to the place where I could get the good quality apples for a better price. Because I learned how to eat well in Turkey, I learned about or I should say I really learned about quality food. When I was really small my father had a huge vegetable garden. And my first memory when I was about two or three years old, was me sitting in the dirt and I was just pulling green beans off the plant and eating them raw, I love them that much. I can still eat a bowl of raw green beans. But over time and in the US, you know people get busy, the fast food movement, that everything movement, I think was not that healthy. And when I went to Turkey and we would have these beautiful long dinners with friends or with family and you socialise throughout the evening over this amazing food, eating becomes a completely different experience. And I think that’s why I love Turkish breakfast because we usually, it’s either you know, us we’re not working, we don’t have to rush to go to a meeting or to go take somebody to school or go out the door. Or we have friends over and we you know, enjoy it with friends. So eating is just as much of a special social experience as it is what I like to eat and you know, it’s not just like, Ooh, I like crunchy things or this or that. It’s the whole experience. So I often tell clients to and that’s part of the whole mindful eating movement. You should enjoy what you eat, it should bring you joy, share it with friends and that’s always a lot of fun. Yeah, there’s so many ways that you can enjoy it so yeah, I’d have to say probably Turkish breakfast is pretty high on my list that was a very long answer.


Maria  29:34 

You know, we need obviously a lot of great food and this is it’s so Greek food is very plant based, I think Greek food and obviously this whole all the Mediterranean countries, they have this exactly what you’re describing, a lot of vegetables, a lot of beans, some yoghurt. You know, it has such an amazing variety of foods. So I think that you feel like you’re getting all the nutrients in when you eat. And with mindful eating, you know, it’s exactly what you say like to take your time as well and to just sit down and enjoy what you’re eating and make an experience out of it, not just, you know, shove it on your mouth, and then you’re done with it.


Pam  30:07 

Yeah, I sit at my desk, and then I’ll check emails while I’m eating or looking at my phone. And I know I really shouldn’t do that. And then I didn’t know but I look at the plate and like, what did I just eat?


Maria  30:19 

Yeah you shouldn’t do that. You know, it’s funny because my daughter when she was she was five when she was diagnosed, but she used to be a very, very picky eater. And from like, the moment she got diagnosed, like it happened in the hospital, she just switched. And she started becoming very interested in food, like she started eating much better and she ate everything. And now I love cooking for her because she loves everything I made for her. And she kind of she, you know, she’s the kind of person who likes like a steak and potatoes, she likes taking sauce, she likes a salad, she likes a you know, mozzarella salad on the side. So she’s, she’s really good with her food now, which obviously make it so much easier for me when I’m cooking. You know, we also we have this rule to never eat carbs alone. I don’t know, if you do the same with Erin, like, we have this, like, if you’re eating carbs, you have to have, you always need to have protein with it. Like it should be a balanced plate always, like every meal should be balanced.


Pam  31:14 

I have that I have with vegetables, my thing is, you know, you gotta have vegetables to balance it. So yeah, we’re usually getting a carb on a plate is no issue. And always having a protein either a plant based or some other kind of protein. But I always try to remember to put vegetables there, even when he was really small. Because Erin was diagnosed at 20 months old, and it can be challenging, you’re so worried about low blood sugars, you want to make sure that you have enough carbs that your kid’s gonna eat that he’s gonna like. And I was still always cut some vegetables, whether it was carrot sticks, or cucumber sticks or something when he was like even two or three. And he didn’t always eat those. But in time he started to, so yeah, I have a similar rule. But it’s like there’s there should always be vegetables with it. So yeah, always, always balanced. And then you know, there’s Harvard has it, Canada also has a really good, one the balanced meal plate, where when you look at it, like half of it is vegetables, and then there’s protein, and there’s carbs, and it’s with a glass of water. I think I’ll also put a link to that in the show notes so that people can


Maria  32:25 

Yeah, my the one I was going by, I do the NHS plan for the UK, because obviously I did my nutrition studies in the UK. So we use the NHS, The Eatwell Guide. And I absolutely love it. I love the way it looks because it is a proper plate. And you see exactly how much of everything you’re meant to eat. And it sort of tells you about the portions. And it even has like a food label on it, on the printout, which I love because it helps people you know, it educates people when you’re looking at it. So yeah, I love that.


Pam  32:54 

We’ll put the link for that one as well. I think they might be very similar. Sometimes they’re similar. small differences. absolutely the same thing. Yeah. So we will put the healthy plates, links in the show notes. And you can even compare, I’m sure they might be similar. And most all of them now if not most all have more plants on the plate fruits and vegetables than before. And that that is science, that is science backing that up. That’s not you know, just Maria and I saying oh, we like vegetables, you should eat them too. There is so much scientific research now. That indicates that a plant based diet is so much healthier for you for everything, not just diabetes, no matter what it is, you need to get good quality fruits and vegetables. And if you’re not used to eating that way, what I suggest is, you know, maybe just start eating that way once a week maybe do like a Meatless Monday or some other thing that you decide with your family that what works for you. That will make it fun and interesting. It doesn’t have to be all like boring. Like it’s not, don’t make it like you’re restricting yourself, make it experimental.


Maria  34:08 

Yeah, and look for recipes like, like, search for recipes that interest you and then try those because I think that’s a good starting point. Like, very often we get so stuck and we keep cooking the same things over and over again. And if we then remove meat, for example, and we’re going to start cooking with beans, and we don’t know how to do that. It is going to be difficult and tricky. So yeah, maybe look for a recipe and that should you know.


Pam  34:33 

Yeah, that’s true. We do have a few on the Diapoint website that you can start experimenting with. A lot of them are plant based. I think most of them are plant based, but have fun with it. Send us your pictures as well. If you’re into taking pictures of your food on social media, tag us we’d love to see it. So we can talk about food I think like all day. But for the sake of time, I think we’re gonna have to slowly start wrapping it up. But before we go, I have a few more questions. One of them, what are so since you’ve been living healthily been a nutritionist supporting people with diabetes or other chronic conditions or people that want to make lifestyle changes, what are the most important lessons that you’ve learned? So much,


Maria  35:26 

But I’m gonna tell you the one thing that I find so important that I’ve learned from both from my own personal experience, but also with clients, that it is so important to have a community, you know, to have a support group, because we all go through ups and downs, when you have kids with diabetes, or you have diabetes yourself, or you have any chronic disease, you need someone to sometimes just, you know, pick up the phone or you want to rant, or you want to you want to, you know, celebrate and achieve mental something like that, to just have that community and that support group there for you. I think that is the one thing that I because it took me a few years, you know, in the beginning,  I wasn’t part of the group, you know, the group where we met, I wasn’t part of that group. And I didn’t have any support. And I was looking, I was looking online, I couldn’t find anything here in Dubai. And it was just me, and you know, me, my daughter and my husband. And then he found a support group through someone when he went to Cheeky Monkeys with the kids one day, and that’s how, you know how she added me to the group and, and I joined in everything, and it was life changing.


Pam  36:32 



Maria  36:32 

Really felt like, like it was life changing for me. And I know, for other people, you know, I’ve obviously, when I meet people with diabetes or anything like that, I always tell them to join the group as well. So that’s one of the lessons that I’ve learned that I find like the most significant one, really.


Pam  36:48 

That is really good advice, I would say the same. When Erin was diagnosed, I did not know anybody that had this or had experienced this, it even took us three years to find a doctor that was qualified here. Now, I’m happy to say that’s changed. And there’s several great doctors out there now. But there was nothing and like you I went online, I was looking, I found a few groups in the US, but they were very American, and nobody, of course, diabetes is the same everywhere. Like it’s challenging no matter where you live. But the local nuances and things like that nobody could really relate to my local challenges. So I think it’s important to find your tribe or your people as they say. And, you know, it’s I point, we do have a Facebook group, and we’re relaunching our community as well. So look out for that, and you can come get support. And really, it’s scientifically proven that if you want to make lifestyle changes, or any set any kind of goals, there is science backing it that we do it so much more efficiently and better, when we do it in a group. That support is critical. Because it diabetes, I think, you know, I don’t have diabetes. So maybe I’m speaking out of place, but from listening to people who have it, I think sometimes it can be very isolating. And sometimes you may not even realise that it might feel like it’s really, you know, going well. And you’re probably doing everything right. But then you have that moment where you meet somebody that has it. And I think that’s kind of how I can say as a mom, like when I met Maria and these other women in the group, I didn’t know that that was really missing. But you finally felt heard and understood. And like Maria said, you can go for support, you can celebrate the small or the big wins. And when you’re having a really rough day, they just get it. One of the last times I met Maria and we had like an awful blood sugar night and she’s like, oh, how are you? And I’m like, Oh my gosh, no sleep, like all night. I didn’t even have to say anything else. She just immediately understood what that meant. And that is it’s a very, very deep connection. So having a group I think is great. I would also say one thing that we talked about before when it comes to coaching and support and groups and things like that. And I’ve seen a few clients who now there’s a lot of apps that are out there and available for coaching for goal setting, for fitness, for diabetes, and all of the things, and I think if you found something that works for you, that’s great. Like for example, I personally I use an app for exercising right now since COVID, I’ve not really been going to a gym regularly. I’ve been able to do fairly okay at home. But I will say that some days I don’t push myself as hard or I don’t exercise is great as I would if I was actually there doing it with an instructor and face to face and things like that. So just kind of related to finding your group and finding the right support. Also look for you know that face to face support, sometimes digital support is convenient. But it’s very easy to cheat with that it’s not going to hold you accountable.


Maria  40:25 

Yeah, yeah, that is a really good point. That is so true, you know, with apps as well, it is, you know, I have worked with apps, I love good apps, I really do. They are very, very helpful. But you do really miss that component of seeing someone face to face, like you say, and especially for the accountability. You know, it’s so easy to go to an app when you’re motivated. But what do you do when you’re not motivated? Because that’s, that’s exactly what it is, like, very often with exercise or when eating healthy. People don’t feel like doing it. And when you do feel like doing it, yeah, you go on the app, but what do you do when you when you’re not feeling like it? then that’s when you need like a coach, for example, or that support group,  someone to just like, make it, you know, push you in the right direction a little bit and help you along.


Pam  41:13 

Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. So on that note, if you need any help along the way, please reach out. And as I mentioned, Maria is coaching clients at Diapoint. And she’s amazing and delivers really great results. I’m coaching as well. And we have more coaches joining us. So if you’d like set up a 20 minute discovery call on our website, and we’ll speak to if you want to learn more about coaching, and we’d love to hear more about you all as well. But please don’t hesitate to reach out ever. If you have any questions or information, or need information about nutrition or coaching, we’d be happy to share it. I want to thank Maria so much for joining me today to have a discussion about coaching, what it is? what it’s not? how it can help? and talking a little bit about nutrition. I think we’ll have to do another one of these in the near future because I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to coaching and nutrition, and all the things. So I hope that you’ll come back and do this again.


Maria  42:18 

Yes, I certainly will, it was really, really nice. It’s great. Very exciting. Thank you for having me.


Pam  42:25 

Thanks for joining. And thank you everyone for listening to the podcast. We’ll be back next week with another exciting episode.


Just want to thank Maria for joining me for this very important discussion about coaching, nutrition, and some of the science behind it. And also, again, that reminder that everything that we discuss and talk about, this is not medical advice. If you have any questions, how it relates to your care plan or your health, please ask your doctor. I also want to highlight the definition of coaching. Professional coaching focuses on setting goals creating outcomes and managing personal change. As coaches we support you as you go through transformation and change and meet goals that you’ve set for yourself. Coaching is not therapy, therapy deals with healing pain. Sometimes it can deal with dysfunction and conflict with individuals and relationships. There are relationship coaches, but if you have some real challenging situations that you’re facing, you may want to see a therapist or psychologist instead. And a good coach should know the difference. And they will know when to refer you to somebody that can support you more deeply than just coaching. Consulting is when an individual or an organisation needs somebody for their expertise. That could be a business consultant. Doctors themselves are also consultants, they will come in and diagnose a problem and prescribe and sometimes implement a solution or suggest a solution. Doctors and consultants can be coaches are used methods of coaching for their practices. Mentoring is when an expert provides wisdom and guidance based on their own experience. For example, when you’re doing an internship, you hope to be mentored by a leader in the company or by a programme. That’s where they’re sharing the wisdom and guidance with you. Mentoring is not really coaching although oftentimes coaches will act as mentors and they might share some of their insight if they think it will help you get closer to your goal and training or trainers and training programmes. They’re all based on objectives that are set out by the trainer or the instructor. Even personal training. For example, let’s say that you want to lose weight or get And your trainer will help you set a goal around that. You may have a goal in mind but they will reconfirm it. And then they will follow you very rigidly based on those goals and objectives. And sometimes trainers are certified as coaches. But just as Maria and I discussed throughout this conversation, make sure that the person that is supporting you on your health and wellness journey is deeply experienced and certified in the areas that you need. Have a wonderful day and thank you again for listening. If you like what you heard, please feel free to share the podcast or leave us a comment. Thank you.

Show Notes and Links

Disclaimer: It should go without saying that the Diapoint podcast is not intended as or should not be used as personal medical advice. You will hear us interview medical experts and others, but please always always ask your qualified doctor, diabetes team or other expert about your health. What works for one person does not always work for another person. What you should always do when you discover any new health information is ask YOUR doctor about it. This information should empower you to have a discussion with your healthcare providers about it. Diapoint, our guests, sponsors and business partners are not here to replace that advice. Living a full, healthy life means taking the proper medical advice from your qualified physicians, diabetes team or other healthcare providers.

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This episode of Dia-Logue was brought to you by Diapoint Learning. We offer courses and coaching for people living with diabetes, and for parents and caretakers of children with diabetes. View our online courses here on our website.

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About Dia-Logue: The Diapoint Podcast and Pamela Durant

Here at Dia-logue: The Diapoint Podcast, we talk to experts and people living with diabetes about social situations, nutrition, mental health, travel, and many other topics related to health and wellness.

The Founder & Managing Director of Diapoint, Pam Durant, shares her experience as the mother a teenage son who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 20 months old.

Pam was also a healthcare manager for 25+ years, and is a certified Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine coach. She is passionate about showing people how to not just survive, but thrive.

If you are interested in appearing as a guest, please email us at We would love to hear your story and your connection to diabetes.

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