The “Picky” and Diabetes-Compatible eating

yuck phooey.jpg

One of my first articles back in 2012 (October 03, 2012) was subtitled titled: “Because not everybody loves the artichoke”. It was about making better food choices to assist in managing YOUR diabetes without having to eat things you “think” you don’t like.

A few weeks ago, Diabetes Support posted an article of mine on diabetes-compatible eating and depression.

I was not surprised by the responses. So many of you shared how depressed you are/were with what you ate. Along with that were responses on the positive side about weight loss, better health and having found “new” ways to prepare foods and how things HAVE gotten better.

One response struck me:

“For me it's awful, because I don't like very many foods to begin with - very picky. Been managing my diabetes since the January and I can truly say that I cannot eat like this for very much longer. Because of my pickiness, my choices are so limited and I am SICK of eating the same things over and over. It is NOT getting easier, it is getting worse I miss eating whatever I want. It's a quality of life issue. It is sooo incredibly depressing, and there is not light at the end of the tunnel for me.”

A lot of things flooded my mind. First was my sister-in-law complaining about my niece being a picky eater. When she was a kid, it was the battle royale between them. She would keep her daughter at the table until the girl ate some percentage of what was on her plate. Sometimes she won, sometimes my niece won. When my nieces (Ms. Picky and her sister) came east to visit, I presented the picky one with a box of her favorite cereal and a can of tuna.

“All I ask of you is to give what I cooked for us a shot. If you really HATE it, you are free to have the tuna or the cereal either alone or together.” The look of YUCK on her face was priceless.

What happened is that she chose to eat what I cooked. So much so that she all but ate us out of house and home. On the last day of the visit, she stood in front of the fridge and said: “I don’t know which to have, the leftover chicken or the leftover pork.” She ate BOTH. The cereal and tuna were never touched.

Whatever the “payoff” was for her in being a “picky” eater lost its power over her, me, and her mom. I am no behaviorist. I am not going to offer up a reason for the picky-ness. It simply was part of her persona, and now is gone.

No question that eating to manage your diabetes is different than what you were used to. However, it does not involve eating live lizards or squiggly raw worms. You can still eat most of the things you have eaten since as long as you can remember. You may have to eat them in modified portions, but most of us can still enjoy them. More of us can enjoy variations and substitutions of foods we like. If you are among the millions that think fish is “yucky,” simple: don’t eat fish. Move on to something you do like…a mushroom perhaps?

I have to think that person that defines himself as a picky eater has clearly been eating the same things over and over again all of his adult life. It worked for them before, why can’t it work for them now? Perhaps they have lived on a combination of jelly beans and potato chips. These may not be the best choices for a person with diabetes. You gotta think that they also ate (eat) lots of other things that are better choices.

Many years ago I did a behavioral training. One of the exercises was to choose between two imaginary ice cream cones. The choices were imaginary vanilla and imaginary chocolate. Several people were brought up on stage and asked to choose. They were then asked why they made that choice. The reasons varied from: “I like/don’t like vanilla” to “I thought I was supposed to choose vanilla.” The thing is; the ice cream cones were imaginary. How could they justify their reason for one over the other? What the moderator was attempting was to have people see that it was as simple as choosing just to choose. By choosing, exercising their will without the benefit of being right or wrong.

The trick in life is to do what works. If being a “picky eater” is not working for this person, perhaps they should try another tact.

It is like that with eating to manage any condition you have to manage. YOU have to choose to do it or choose not to do it. You have to choose what works for YOU, after that…move on.

Choose to: ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, and BE DECADENT! –w!