Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Revisiting Food, Guilt And Diabetes.

For me, there is so much head-spinninng-ness that accompanies the three things in the title of this post (indicated by the length of this ramble!)

At my last appointment with my DSN, I was asked to (once again) keep a food diary for a week, and mail it back to her when I had. I don't often write about food and the like on this blog, but the couple of times I have, the main theme has been fairly consistent: I don't like keeping a log of the food I eat. At all.

For me, the emotional side of diabetes is a bigger problem that the actual "acts of diabetes". (And by "acts of diabetes", I mean the blood sugar testing, carb counting, bolusing insulin etc). I can test my blood sugar, but whether or not I act on the numbers my meter shows me very much depends on where my head's at. Likewise, how precise my carb counting is also depends on head-space, meaning that my insulin doses vary in precision too. 

My biggest battle is often with diabetes-related guilt, normally linked to food. (There's other guilt too, but food is the big one). So it's safe to say that keeping a food log, yet again, didn't put a smile on my face. 

My food diary arrived in the mail. I wrote the dates at the top of each page, ready to begin logging food and blood sugars and insulin doses. Day one came and went, as did day two.

Then there was day three. Oh, day three! Day three was a bad day. Work was busy and stressful, I worked through my lunch break, I drank a lot of coffee, and I grazed throughout the day, not really keeping track of the food (carb-full food too) I was eating. The same thing happened on day four.

Not that I wrote that in the food diary.

Instead, I wrote that I had a salad and a yoghurt, which is what I had taken in to work for lunch on those days. I may have even tweaked my blood sugars a teeny bit to make them look better.

At the end of the week, I skimmed through the log, put in an envelope and went to mail it back to my DSN, knowing that I'd changed quite a significant amount of information.

It was whilst at work that my colleague was telling me about her husband, who happens to have type 2 diabetes. Together, the pair of them had been attending the X-PERT course, and she was talking to me about what they'd learnt at the latest session.

Hanging out with DWED volunteer, and friend, Lucy.
"The GP that diagnosed my husband made out that he wouldn't be able to eat anything...don't eat this, it will cause your blood sugar to rise...but you can eat this as it has a minimal effect...turns out that's not the case at all...the nurse that runs the X-PERT course...she's a specialist...a DSN, and she says that, yes, we do need to keep an eye on what we eat there's nothing stopping us [her use of 'we' and 'us' here made me smile] from having a treat like a cake or a chocolate bar or whatever...there we were thinking there would be all these restrictions..."

It was at some point during this conversation that I really thought about what I'd done. I don't know if it was something specific that was said, or just the subject of diabetes and food, but it kick-started something! I didn't post the fake-food diary I'd kept.

Now, I have the task of phoning my DSN and explaining to her that I can't send her the food diary I kept because I wasn't completely truthful about the food I was eating. It's so easy to type out and "confess to" here, but I know when I call her, it's not going to be as easy (think fast talking, not taking a breath "I-need-a-new-food-diary-because-that-first-one-you-sent-me-well-I-lied-when-filling-it-out" and then holding my breath waiting for her response!)

When I compare now-me to the me of three years ago, now-me is in a much better place food-wise. But, quite clearly, there are still things that need to be addressed. Like why I felt the need to lie in my food diary. I knew it wouldn't have achieved anything. The whole point of doing it was to see what doses I used on my pump for different foods (extended, multiwave and standard). It wasn't even to specifically look at the food I was eating, yet I still felt the need to make my food choices "look better". 

Food, guilt and diabetes: a mind-field of emotions that, recently, have been bubbling closer to the surface. But after reading some blogs, and talking with a couple of friends, I've realised that it's time for me to do something about this. I'm not a big fan of being told what to do, and I think that if I were forced to talk about this sooner, it would have been a disaster. Now, however, I feel ready to talk about this. Both with my DSN and here on this blog, and I want to change this perception I seem to have surrounding food, guilt and diabetes.

In short, (she says after a stupid-long ramble) I don't want to fear food diaries anymore! That may be the stupidest (and worst) conclusion to a blog post ever, but it's as simple as that. My relationship with food changed when I was diagnosed with type one at 17. I omitted my insulin when I was 19/20 years old, and I turned to DWED for support. I'm now 22, and although insulin omission isn't something I'm struggling with right now, going back down that road is something I fear. So, as trivial and "not-a-big-deal" as this may seem, I'm doing something about it. Because I don't want this to be the cause of more issues in the future. I want to be chasing a career, hanging out with family and friends, generally living my life. Stressing over food, food diaries and the diabetes/food-related guilt isn't something I want on the agenda. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vicki. I remember it wasn't that long ago that she asked you to do one of these. It's a really good blog. It is thought of as such a big problem in research that there are no objective measures of what people eat - food diaries are notorious for people using 'self-presentation' on them. People almost always underestimate the 'bad' things they eat and drink and overestimate the 'good' things. It seems silly that they use them at all. Then to add t1d into the mix, it makes it really horrible for the person asked to complete the diary. Totally feel for you. D x