By: Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE
I have been a dietitian for many years now and I think I’ve heard every possible excuse that prohibits healthy eating and diabetes care.
I even had one patient tell me his dog ate his food-glucose records! Most people just say they forgot them at home, but now that recordings are now increasingly becoming digital- the excuse may no longer work!
So, I’m not here to scold, but rather talk about what you can do so you can stop making excuses once and for all.
1. I only like the “bad” vegetables like corn and potatoes
This is a common one and many people are disappointed when they find out that corn and potatoes contain more carbs (and so raise blood sugar more) than do other veggies.
So, it’s time to expand your horizons and try new vegetables. You might think you hate zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, and asparagus, but taste buds change over the years.
You may be surprised to find out that you actually like these foods. An easy way to try something new is to drizzle with a little olive oil and seasoning and roast in the oven or throw on the grill. You might like grated Parmesan on top, too. It’s quick, easy, and delicious.
Check out this simple recipe for grilled asparagus or a zesty lemon asparagus soup, perfect for the winter.
2. I forget to take my blood sugar 2 hours after meals
Postprandial blood sugar readings can be very helpful and tell you how your blood sugar is doing after meals. You may find that your blood sugar before meals is good, but it spikes after eating certain foods.
Some people say they can’t remember to take their blood sugar so long after eating, but today’s high-technology world should make it easier.
Many glucose meters have test reminders that you can set to go off at certain times. Otherwise, almost everyone has a cell phone with an alarm. Or you can even buy a small digital timer to keep with you.
3. I was at a friend’s house eating and I was embarrassed to tell them I had diabetes, so I just ate the wrong foods and my blood sugar went really high.
You should not be embarrassed to tell people you have diabetes. Part of dealing with the diagnosis is admitting that you have it, and you will probably be surprised how many other people (or their family members) have diabetes too.
So, when a friend serves a dessert of apple pie with ice cream and caramel sauce, you could say, “I would love to eat that, but I can’t because it’s not good for my diabetes.”
In addition, you can call your host before the party, ask what she will be serving, and offer to bring a healthy dish.
4. I thought since I take my diabetes medicine I could eat whatever I wanted?
The answer here is short and simple: Being on a diabetes medication does not give you a free pass to eat poorly.
Controlling diabetes involves a combination of medication, healthy eating, exercise (and weight loss if needed) for optimal control and to avoid complications.
5. Life is too short! I want to enjoy eating, not go around feeling deprived all the time.
You can definitely enjoy eating and be healthy, but many people don’t want to change their eating habits at all, saying life was meant to be enjoyed.
If you ignore diabetes and choose to eat and live in an unhealthy way, diabetes will not ignore you. The complications of diabetes are real and can happen to anyone with uncontrolled blood glucose levels over time.
So, yes, you can enjoy life while also controlling your diabetes, but chances are if you’re eating a typical American diet, you’re going to have to make some changes.
6. I spend so much time taking care of my kids and family, I don’t have time left for me.
It is very common for parents to put themselves last, but this cannot happen when you have diabetes.
You will be no good to your family if you don’t take care of your health. Like the flight attendants tell you on airplanes, put on your oxygen mask first so you can have all the faculties you need to help your loved ones.
7. I take insulin and cover my carbs, and my A1C is good. So I am not very motivated to eat better.
Having a good A1C is excellent, but it doesn’t mean you can be a junk food junkie and just keep taking large amounts of insulin.
Remember, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke — and a good A1C alone doesn’t protect you from complications.
Eating nutritious foods and avoiding processed ones is recommended for everyone with diabetes, no matter what their A1C, so that you will live a long and healthy life.
So there you have it, all the excuses in the book (or the most common). I hope I’ve offered you some good solutions for healthy eating and diabetes care. In good health!