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Dealing with the "diabetes police" over the holidays

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Thanksgiving starts the winter  holiday season, and for some means food, and family which don't always work well together for a person with diabetes. You know -- Aunt Sally hovering watching everything you put in your mouth.  Or even direct questions that make us all cringe "should you be eating that?"

What are some tricks you've learned that helps you get through these somewhat sticky situations?
posted Nov 22, 2016 in Conversation by phyllisk (4,500 points)
retagged Jun 30, 2017 by KarenG

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7 replies

I like to pull out my pump and give that person a quick education on the amazing advances in treatment.  I show off the features, explain the basal rate and the use of boluses to cover everything that I eat.  I give examples of how I calculate carbs, punch in the number, and receive the correct amount of insulin.  If they still insist that I shouldn't eat what I eat, I assure them that my CGM will let me know if I've under-estimated and I can correct before my sugars are out of control.  Most folks who get my mini-education are impressed by all of the things my little insulin pump can do for me!
answered Nov 22, 2016 by Tracy H (330 points)
Wow, that sounds like a perfect way to handle it!!  Great advice!!
In general I do what Tracy said - explain to  them how treatments today work and that sugar is no longer 100% off limits like it was when I was diagnosed in 1979.  For me, the toughest exchanges are when people aren't open to hearing what we are saying.  My best friend's sister is an ER nurse, and she assumes she knows more about diabetes than she really does.  And she's not really open to hearing what I have to say.
answered Nov 22, 2016 by KarenG (16,350 points)
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Hmmm, I guess I could say that my doctor and I worked out a holiday plan that works for my medical needs. Luckily the people I spend holidays with don't say much. I have received comments at work once in a while when there are cookies and other sweets brought in, but I just say "Moderation not deprivation" and walk away. ;)
answered Nov 24, 2016 by DiabetesRamblings (1,980 points)
"Moderation not deprivation" - I love that.  I think that phrase works for all types of diabetes, and even for people without diabetes.
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I try to educate folks who hover over my plate during the holidays. I mention that I can eat a variety of foods, so long as I figure out an insulin bolus to cover the carbohydrates. Other times, my husband pipes in, and says "she can eat anything she wants, except poison." :)
answered Nov 28, 2016 by anna (2,890 points)
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So, how did Thanksgiving go for everyone?  Any run-ins with the "diabetes police"?  Learn any new coping strategies for dealing with them?

We had a small gathering - me and my husband, my parents, my in-laws and my aunt.  All of them have a pretty good understanding of my life with diabetes, so I'm happy to say I had no cringe-worthy questions or judgements.  Yay!!
answered Nov 28, 2016 by KarenG (16,350 points)
Mine went well.  No police, but they did wonder how i managed to have low blood sugar given the rich foods.  I explained about how I set my higher temporary basal rate and that it was a new approach.  

But like everyone else, I try to use these experiences as a teaching moment.

I just read this post over on the DiabetesSisters blog and it fits perfectly with the conversation we've been having here.

Surviving the Holidays

I really liked the part where she talks about choosing our battles.  There have been times when I try to educate and there have been times when I chose not to engage and just walk away.  I always feel guilty about the times I walked away, but I'm starting to understand that sometimes that is the best thing to do.

answered Dec 15, 2016 by KarenG (16,350 points)
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I like to use it as a way to educate if the person seems open to wanting to know why I chose what I did, but if they are rude and telling me I can't have something I smile and say "if you ever are diagnosed give me a call, and I'll be glad to help you learn to use your meter and eat well too."  then I move along.
answered Dec 15, 2016 by anonymous