Monday, April 21, 2014

Putting food in its place


Food; it has played many roles in my life.  Nourishment, entertainment, social enabler, necessity, devil, counselor, reward, sneaky little git, movie companion, medicinal, friend and, most decidedly, foe.  Food is all of those things to me.  How in the world does something grow to hold so much sway over my life?  Well, first of all, we have to eat.  The alternative isn’t pretty.  Secondly, we’ve been told all our lives that it’s important that we eat a healthy diet, and yet, folks who mass produce processed foods spend a lot of time and money making that food taste as good as possible which makes it difficult to avoid. (They actually call it the “bliss point”, jerks.) Not only that, but they add lots of fat, salt and sugar trying to reach that bliss point which can make it addictive.  I grew up eating processed foods and fast foods, as many, many other people have.  It’s just not easy to break that habit!  I don’t care what anyone says, it’s NOT easy!  I wish I was one of those people who can live their lives never eating unhealthy foods with seeming ease.  I wish I could indulge now and then without fear of binging.  I wish.  I’m not one of those people.  Regardless of the fact that I KNOW that it’s important for me to eat in a healthier manner, I don’t always succeed.  Cue the guilt.  Cue the self-loathing.  Cue the feelings of defeat.  Is that any way to live a life?  I’ve decided that it isn’t but what can I do?
 
Ok, we’ve established the fact that I have to eat.  My T2 diagnosis puts a greater pressure on me to make significant changes to the way I was used to eating, and I have.  I’ve made HUGE changes to my diet.  I’ve added regular exercise.  Despite all those things, my diabetes continues to progress.  That fact has caused me to put even more pressure on myself to eat properly…which has only made me rebel even more and occasionally eat stupid stuff…which brings on the guilt etc.  Rinse, repeat.  I’ve decided that my focus has been wrong for quite some time:  diabetes is not the enemy; food is.  Let me explain.

We all know that diabetes is a bad thing.  We know that it requires diligence and patience and should NEVER be ignored.  I get that.  I respect my disease but I’ve decided that it’s time to stop fearing it so much.  It ain’t going away.  It’s here in my life and I’m just going to accept that and move on.  Food, however, is another story.  Food seems like this innocuous entity that we needn’t fear.  If I turn my back on that cupcake it won’t attack me.  I have been fearing the “bad stuff” all the while craving it.  I know what types of foods I should eat and those that I need to avoid but that doesn’t mean I automatically do what I’m supposed to do.  I don’t, and I know very few people who do.  We’re human and vulnerable and sometimes weak.  It’s time for me to accept that fact and quit giving food so much power over me.

There was a post on Facebook recently that made me giggle.  It revolved around the idea that we can all find ourselves inhaling a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers or Thin Mint cookies.  It’s so easy to do!  What happens when I overdo the snacking?  I immediately feel guilty and stupid and angry with myself.  Sometimes, depending on my mood, it actually causes me to continue with the poor food choices.  Talk about stupid.  But I’m not stupid, I’m vulnerable.  When those things happen I’m probably using food to comfort me or mask something else.  I’m not facing up to the triggers that are so obviously part of my life.

Dang, but I’m rambling.  Sorry.  Here’s the deal.  I’m tired of giving food so much power over my life.  I’m tired of cowering when poor food choices are presented to me and then feeling like crap because I gave in.  I need to figure out how to eat like a real person.  I need to follow my food plan, the one that works for me, as best as I can while allowing myself to veer from the path now and then without recriminations.  I truly feel that if I can manage to do this it will make it easier.  If I remove the remorse and guilt I’m thinking that the binges or “mistakes” might diminish.  Here’s hoping.

Diabetes is in my life to stay and so are poor food choices.  Educating oneself about T2 is imperative.  I have spent years determining what I can and cannot eat in order to control my blood glucose.  It’s time to give myself a break.  I need to focus on the times when I rock my diet, feeling good and healthy and thumbing my nose at diabetes.  I also need to go easy on myself when mood or weather or celebrations tempt me to indulge.  It’s life and I plan to live mine as guilt-free as possible from now on.  I can’t avoid the progression of my disease.  I also can’t panic and deny myself even more food choices in the hopes that my diabetes will behave. I need to eat sensibly and work with my doctor when rising glucose numbers indicate that my medication needs adjustments.  I’m not a bad person because I am addicted to crappy food.  I’m just me; mostly normal me.  I plan to focus on life, not food or diabetes and see how that works out.

5 comments:

  1. What you're gong through is not just a Type 2 thing. As a Type 1 I feel the same weakness when it comes to consistently eating the way I think I should. If we were alcoholics or quitting smoking, we could (with difficulty) leave those habits behind us. But we must eat to live. Actually I don't think that these feelings are just a diabetes thing. Almost everyone in our country is struggling with food and cr*p food tastes really good. At least it's spring moving into summer and I find these things much easier to face in the sunshine and sunlight rather than in the dark of winter.

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    1. I hear you Laddie. I've struggled with food issues my whole adult life. Before diabetes it was weight issues. Damn our society for putting so much pressure on us to look a certain way! I'm hopeful that this new mind set will make life better for me.

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  2. Clapping my hands over here!! I really admire how much thought you've put into this and how you've worked to accept what real life diabetes is for you. Bravo, I'm proud of you. (And I hate the guilt, so congrats working on letting it go.)

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    1. Thanks Karen. I'm so tired of feeling like I'm failing. It's amazing that I can "preach" that we don't fail and that it isn't our fault but changing how I feel inside is another story. I will prevail!!

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  3. Really great post here. We're never going to be perfect every minute of every day. Good for you taking the power back.

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