« I See Pump People. | Main | Guest Post: Get Your Opera On. »


The kid is mobile now, and with that mobility comes the baby-proofing of our home.  We have those little electrical socket covers on each outlet, the coffee table corners are capped with squishy edges, and a big ol' gate at the base of our staircase is locked and loaded.  So now, anything that BSparl shouldn't touch for fear of hurting herself is as carefully guarded as possible.

And I wish I could say the same for me.

Will power is not my middle name.  (It's "Morrone," switched from "Lynn" when I got married.)  I'm good when it comes to action-oriented plans, like resolving to test my blood sugar more often throughout the day, or making sure I exercise at least four times a week.  These plans involve getting up and doing something, and I'm motivated when it comes to checking that box. 

But the plan to NOT do something?  Little more challenging.  

Food has always been a bit of an issue for me.  Not surprising, since type 1 diabetes has a firm foothold in my dietary decisions and guilt about said decisions.  (Sneaking cookies?  I may have done that one or two ... thousand times as a kid.)  Growing up with type 1 diabetes and using the peaking insulins (NPH, Lente, UltraLente) that required timed meal structure, I was a card-carrying member of the "clean your plate or you will end up low" club.  It actually wasn't until I started using an insulin pump that I realized what "hungry" felt like, having been on an eating schedule for the previous seventeen years.  Adjusting to the fact that I didn't HAVE to eat was new.

In addition to that "Hey, hunger is confusing!" feeling, food is a confusing friend/enemy.  Frenemy.  Even at times when my blood sugars are completely in control and an Italian bread smothered in olive oil and salt indulgence-fest doesn't cause massive spikes, I still feel guilty about eating it.  Like someone is watching me, and I need to hurry up and swallow before they see me take the bread.  It's a very screwed up way to view something as fun and delicious as food, but it's a combination of the influence of diabetes on my food philosophy and the guilt assigned to something as benign as a banana.  (That, and how women are taught to view their bodies and their appetites of all kinds ... but that's a whole different post.)

Which brings me back to my problem:  not doing something. Avoiding certain foods at certain, inopportune diabetes times.  Not eating the bowl of pineapple when the Dexcom shows double arrows pointing up.  (Why IS it that high blood sugar equals ravenous hunger?  Seems like a cruel twist to me ...)  Not buying E.L. Fudge cookies.  And if you do buy them, not eating a whole sleeve on the ride home from the grocery store. 

Sometimes I want to Kerri-proof the kitchen.  

Maybe I should just stick an electrical socket cover in my mouth.

Can I Kerri-proof diabetes?  Or maybe diabetes-proof Kerri?


Funny, I feel the same way about food. That's why my sister and I, both with DM-1, call it "sinning" when we indulge. Sometimes I feel as though I indulge far too often. Especially hate when I have a low and then proceed to eat the entire kitchen! I hate that ravenously hungry feeling and feel as though I should have more self control especially sine I am now an RD/CDE. We are just human and doing the best we can, right? Take care.

I needed this today--thank you. If only there were a solution attached....

I'm really bad about NOT doing things, too.

I think it's funny to read people who talk about diet plans that involve "eating only when you're hungry." To me, hungry means low, and low means Coke and granola bars. If I followed that adage, I'd be on a very limited diet.

I kind of already do this by putting all the cookies on the top shelf in the pantry. I still eat them, but I have to really want them to have to get out the step stool to get them. But sometimes those cookies are worth the step stool! =P

I have always found it ironic that I have emotional eating/food issues and resolved not to raise children with food issues before my daughter was born. And then diabetes entered our lives. "Hello, food issues galore!" I hated when she was still on shots and wanted a snack, and I would have to reminder her that she would have to have a shot, and she would decide it wasn't worth it. Not just "junk food," but healthy stuff was evaluated by her in this way too. We try very, very hard not to assign guilt to any foods, whether they are considered good or bad by others, and I preach the whole "every food is good in moderation...there is no such thing as an evil food" party line. We try to allow her to eat as if she didn't have diabetes, and I can only hope that we are doing the whole food thing right by her. Of course, she has the advantage of pumping most of the seven years she has had diabetes, and I hope that will help get rid of some of those "sneaking foods, guilty feelings" kind of experiences....A post that hits home for me today, thanks for sharing!

I have long since given up understanding why high blood sugar makes me want to eat more and I have to force myself to eat with a low blood sugar. I figure it's nature way of driving me insane.

This really hits home for me too! My husband (loving diabetes police)gets so frustrated with me when I don't want to eat when I am low because I am not hungry at all. He says I don't care, do it anyway. It is so hard to force yourself to eat something at that point, but when I am high, it is so hard to not eat the whole bag of cheetos...not fair at all!!!

@ Zazzy took the words right out of my mouth! Thanks Kerri for posting this, always good to hear that we're not alone in our views on food + T1 diabetes.

Kerri, I feel ya. Diet rules? No way! As a kid with diabetes, I did the same sneaking and remeber being devastated to find out that my mom was on to the scheme and had started hiding cookies for my sisters places I wouldn't find to "help" me. It just ramped up the guilt.
Something that helped me was going on Symlin. I didn't need to lose lots of weight, but I was intrigued by everything else Symlin could do - and the biggest thing it gives me is the luxury of time. Symlin is just the synthetic version of amylin the hormone, something that's always co-secreted with insulin in those normal pancreases that work so nicely. Amylin is responsible for timing your gastric emptying correctly with your insulin. So normal people have food leave their stomach at the appropriate time, people with T1 get a big ole dump of food very quickly, part of what gives us those spikes. When you take Symlin, you can actually dose your insuiln AFTER the meal, because your food is entering your blood stream more slowly. So you take your Symlin before you eat, then eat exactly what you are hungry for, and THEN take your insulin after your last bite. The result is that you eat what you want, not what you are forced to by your insulin. We all know the "well I took 5 units so I better finish all 50 carbs even though I'm full" feeling. Not with Symlin - you eat what you are hungry for then take the insulin to cover it. I've been on Symlin for 4 years and love it, and it's really helped me manage my feelings around food a lot better. Just a thought for ya!

I certainly understand -- and it's worse when your SO's tastes in food parallel your own worst food enemies (anything with a starch in it), or when it's so cold in the apartment that you can't even think of eating (or even handling!) fresh produce for fear of frostnip (yes, at normal legal indoor temperatures)...

Same here. Now that I'm not queasy from this pregnancy all the time, I have rememered what it was like to crave food. And BOY do I crave it! It's hard not to want to devour everything in the kitchen some days. And DEAR GOD please don't let there be Pringles in the house. THEY.WILL.NOT.LAST!!!

As far as being hungry when high, my endo explained it as this: Your brain thinks you are still hungry because even though you have all that extra glucose in your blood stream, it knows that your body needs the fuel. So, since our pancreases are lazy bums and won't make insulin to balance out and fix the fuel issue, we remain hungry. It's not until we take insulin to bring us back down and the glucose is released to fuel us that the brain is like "Oh, ok, THERE's the fuel!" and the hunger is relieved.

Children change everything when it comes to food and being diabetic too.

We try oh so hard to limit the amount of sugar our girls intake. I fear their bodies will one day go on strike as mine did. Besides the BIG box of Fruit Loops in the cabinet would call my name and say "Eat Me!" So we really limit what we buy and have in the house.

Then there are the grandparents and all the holidays. Our girls have huge amount of candy and sweets from these sources. We try to secretly remove it but when it comes to treats our daughters are amazing internal auditors. Eat one piece and somehow they know you have...and which one you ate!!!

BLARGH! it is not fair, and makes resisting temtation so much harder. I will prevail though and just pretend the elephant in the room...you know the 300 pound bag of cnady does not exist.

Have fun with your new little explorer!

UGH...do you have recommendations on avoiding the "food" guilt for those of us raising young type 1s? I am curious. I try not to restrict per se, but I do have to limit some foods to one serving size.

P.S. The eating the sleeve of cookies is what breaks my heart for Joe...I so want that for my kid - once in awhile.

I read a book a while back about how a Type 1 diabetic is taught to approach food in the exact same ways that a person with anorexia works really hard to NOT do. Associating selfworth with what you eat or don't eat, the issues of dominion and power and self-control that manifest themselves in a person's ability to say no to food, etc. Essentially, we are/were (pre-pumps and pre-carbcounting) encouraged to adopt habits that might have been standards-of-care for diabetes at the time (and perhaps leading to highest chance of good diabetes control), but were unfortunately very detrimental to one's relationship with food and the role it plays in one's life. I don't have a kid with diabetes, but think I understand how difficult it would be to help a child grow up walking the fine line. I admire Just Jenny's sensitivity to the subject and am sure her daughter will benefit greatly!

I admire you for putting it out there. I struggle the same way with food sometimes, and I don't even have diabetes. But now I want cookies... :)

the Hi's hunger is not the worst for me it is the low's ...when im low I do NOT want to eat and literally have to force myself but then once I do OMG watch out! Once I eat that tiny little bit I know is all I need most likely to bring the low up its not enough I am suddenly starving when a second ago I was having to force myself to eat and at this time it is all I can do not to eat everything in the entire house :-/

"Why IS it that high blood sugar equals ravenous hunger? Seems like a cruel twist to me."

It IS a cruel twist! Before diagnosis, I was SO HUNGRY ALL THE TIME. I ate constantly, and I'd eat a meal and feel like I had a full stomach but STILL BE HUNGRY. This may be less true when you've actually put some insulin in yourself to bring that high BG down, but in my case it was because I was because I wasn't able to USE much of the food I'd consumed, so my body wassending signals to my brain that were akin to starvation. "We don't have enough energy to function normally in here! Eat all food you can until we have enough energy!"

I am periodically AMAZED that I am now able to NOT be hungry. I'll start filling up half way hrough a big bowl of food that I once would have put away like it was NOTHING. Wild.

The "food as medicine" concept is something that only a diabetic can understand and creates a very odd relationship with food. It's difficult to explain to people who don't understand T1 that yes, generally speaking, my diabetes behaves better when I eat foods that are low-ish in carbohydrates and sugar. However, there are times when the only thing my body needs is whatever food item I can find that has the most high fructose corn syrup. Such a balancing act, this disease...

Kerri, i felt like you were writing this for me. i have struggled with emotional eating for a long time. sometimes, food does feel like the enemy. i've gained a good bit of weight over the last few years while being stuck in D burnout.

since getting plugged into the DOC, i'm doing better. i've managed to lose a few pounds, mostly due to the fact that i have a healthier outlet for my stress and emotions. i have support now that i didn't have before.

thanks for writing this. it's good to be reminded that i'm not alone in this either.

Your comment about putting the socket cover in your mouth reminded me of Mouth Traps - basically printed stickers to put over your mouth as a behavior mod tool:http://www.innerkiddies.com/site/?page_id=208. Her book, The Mouth Trap, is about why we do what we do instead of what we're "supposed to do", and has actually been pretty helpful for me. TOTALLY agree with you about the unfairness of high BG equaling ravenous hunger!! I'm only just now finding out what it's like to not be hungry all the time, 2 years post Type 2 diagnosis. Not coincidentally, my sugars are better than they have been. Both chicken AND egg. Arrgh!

I was diagnosed at age 43, and clearly remember what it was like to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. I'm a picky eater since childhood (a whole nother story), and diabetes makes it a whole lot worse. The joy of eating is gone, and it's only a chore among many other diabetes chores. THAT would be the miracle of a cure -- the ability to enjoy eating again!

ohhh, E.L. fudge cookies are so bad! But then again, bananas shock my system sometimes. Why insulin requirements vary on a food that is supposed to be good for you, is a mystery to me and very cruel trick of nature.

E.L. fudge, Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux and Chessmen, Oreos. Four of my absolute addictions that are hazardous for my health.

All the food I hide from my boys...goes in my mouth. Don't get me wrong, they eat most things librally around here...but when they are in bed...It's all mine. REALLY hard habit to break! I need one of those mouth plugs. If you market those, I'll take seven. One for each night of the week :)

PS Regular, Lente, Ultralente and NPH...those were the worst days ever. Try telling a 1 year old to eat everything on his plate. HA! The joke was always on me. :(

Great post, this is very similar to what I feel! I only considered that my relationship with food is entirely unnatural because I've been T1 for 23 yrs! I just thought that was how normal people did things: innately knowing the nutritional content of that banana, or being ok with eating the same exact lunch for every weekday throughout my entire school life. Strange, NOT having to eat, now I'm on Lantus, is a really unsettling feeling and I find it's not a choice I make easily. Thanks Kerri

Being so hungry when the blood sugar is already high is horrible. It happens to me all the time. :(


i feel your pain.

the only difference is that i have trouble getting motivated to do things too.

trouble getting motivated to get off the couch i just fell into a sugar sleep on before bed and after the snack.

then trouble not going to bed, but testing the blood sugar.

then trouble getting motivated to test the bg an hour after going to bed and after correcting for the sugar sleep.

then the trouble not going back to bed right away and waiting the 20 mins to make sure that i ate enough/not too much to fix the correction i gave with the correction factor that was fine yesterday but not today.

i hear you.

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)