Handling Uninvited Diabetes Advice And Comments This Holiday

During the holiday season we typically spend more time than usual partying with family and friends, and some of them may offer well-intentioned, but annoying observations about our food choices.

These observations are especially irksome when offered by people who don’t comprehend the difficulties of diabetes management, or are misinformed about the illness.

Fielding the observations and comments can be tricky. If Uncle Joe blurts out, “You should lay off those sugar cookies with your diabetes,” and we fire back, “You should shut up and mind your own business,” the only thing lighting up the party will be tension. Yet, ignoring such comments may leave us smoldering inside, and resentful.

Strategizing

It can help, then, to consider - prior to social or family festivities - how we might respond to the diabetes police—those caring, concerned, but often uninformed watchdogs of our well-being. By giving our reactions to them some forethought, we are more likely to respond in ways that complement the compassionate spirit of this season. For instance:

  • It’s okay to take a commenter aside and let them know we’re uncomfortable being watched and singled out because of having diabetes, but that we welcome their support. Then, it’s important to let them know specifically how they can help.
  • We can turn an uninvited comment about eating sugar cookies into an uninvited educational opportunity. We might choose to calmly explain that people with diabetes are allowed eat a certain number of carbohydrates each day, including some sugar. Or, we might say something like, “There’s no need for you to worry. I monitor my glucose every day, and if it’s high or low I’m aces at getting it back to where it should be. Want to see my monitor?”
  • A good strategy for those who typically think of suitable comebacks hours after they are needed is to devise and memorize a “stock” response. For example, the statement, “I have good control of my blood sugar and eating these cookies (or whatever) won’t be a problem for me,” is direct, easy to remember, and will deflect most food-related comments.

It’s useful to keep in mind that we are all subject to the human condition, meaning we are all an amalgam of strengths and weaknesses. It’s human nature to want to help people, and human nature to frequently go about it badly. None of us are immune to this condition, and that is why we’re wise to cut others, and ourselves, some slack.

Best Defense: Stay On Track

We must cut ourself some slack because no one with diabetes manages it perfectly, and sometimes when people make annoying judgments, we are eating something we shouldn’t, or maybe we haven’t been monitoring regularly.

The best way to minimize the concerns of those who care about us, and to answer their comments honestly, is to stay on track most of the time—even during the holidays.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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