Diabetes management isn’t a race or a one-shot deal. It’s an ongoing dance. For real. It’s not all-or-nothing. I truly benefit from grace and patience with myself. I am fully on my side! I want to feel good and control my blood sugar … and I want to have fun and pleasure with food too. I need to be able to eat “normally” at times – and I suppose I’m fortunate that I am able to do that on occasion without too many repercussions. It’s what I usually do that matters. And the dance goes on ….
Here’s my problem: the joyful abandon with which I ate all of those “healthy” foods has come to a crashing halt due to diabetes. I can’t eat almost any of those foods anymore. Bananas, rice, potatoes (sweet or white), cereal, oats, etc. – all of them are bad for my blood sugar. Even legumes! My body doesn’t process them well anymore, which is really sad for me. I’m not wishing I could eat a donut. I’m wishing I could eat a sweet potato or a banana!
Trigger/Content Warning: Discussion of harm of weight-loss dieting/focus, mention of calorie deprivation and psychological impacts. Look, I am not a doctor or nutritionist or in any form of medical care (please see my complete disclaimer at the end) – but as an observant human being with a brain, and a lifetime of my own livedContinue reading “Stop Conflating Weight with Health, Particularly with Diabetes”
I’ve mostly adjusted to my new way of eating. I don’t make perfect choices all day long every day by any means, but I’m definitely making better choices most of the time. Every once in a while, I’ll try eating the “old way” – and I’ll quickly be reminded, even in just one meal, that I can’t. There’s no going back, no matter how good I’m feeling.
I’m going to keep paying attention to what are the best choices for me in my daily life to stay well – physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically – even spiritually. To me, it’s all tied together. Freaking out throws me off balance. Strict dietary programs and over-emphasis on activity throw me off balance. I’m riding the waves of recovery from decades of weight loss dieting traumas, negotiating new pathways in my relationship to food and health/well-being. I’m also learning on a deeper level what would have been very helpful for me to know when I was first diagnosed: I don’t have to go to extremes or get this under perfect control immediately – it is okay to take my time and find my way into balance.
My point of this post is to say that life happens – and that we don’t always have favorable conditions to manage our diabetes perfectly. In that case, we just do the best we can – and allow that to be good enough. I’ve tended in my life to be a perfectionist – but that isn’t sustainable – or practical or even ideal in a human life.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes almost three years ago, I went into complete panic mode. My doctor just said it matter-of-factly, “you have diabetes” – and offered no further information other than I could start on medication to control it. No thank you! I didn’t receive any nutritional counseling (or for that matter, emotional counseling) from him regarding how to handle this diagnosis and my future health potentials. I was left to figure it out on my own.
So, this dance with diabetes continues for me. It’s not all smooth and easy – and I am far from perfect at it. I’m still figuring out the balance, but I feel hopeful. I know that I have some leeway – I just need to be mindful of how far from the original program I stray. It took many months of being pretty careless before I really paid the price. It’s daily decisions that add up over time, not every single meal. I know this – now I just have to do it – in a way that supports my emotional and mental health as well as my physical health.