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What are your challenges with managing diabetes?

By Michelle May, M.D.

female doctor or nurse measuring blood sugar valueWhen I was still practicing medicine, I often saw the same patterns is some of my patients with diabetes that I had seen in my patients who struggled with yo-yo dieting. They would carefully follow their exercise, diabetes meal plan, and medication regimen, and their HbA1c and other labs would look great at their quarterly visit. Sooner or later, they would skip an appointment or two, then finally show up with an elevated HbA1c. How often I heard, “I don’t know what happened but I just got off my diet and stopped checking my blood sugars. I haven’t been feeling great so I know I need to get back on track!”

I get it! I don’t have diabetes, but that sure sounds a lot like every diet I was ever on!

Diabetes is a long-term condition so you can’t muscle through it with willpower. That just won’t work. And I don’t care how well your blood sugar responds to the latest fad on the internet…if it isn’t something you are willing to do everyday for the rest of your life, don’t bother! It’s easy to fall into diet-like thinking and have an “all or nothing” attitude when it comes to managing your diabetes. Instead of swinging back and forth between extremes and constantly trying to get back on track, we want to help you work toward small sustainable changes that won’t leave you feeling deprived or guilty.

Please help us! If you have prediabetes, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, what are your biggest challenges with managing diabetes? Please post your comment below or on our Facebook page so we can help address the tough issues you face.

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About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

4 Comments

  1. Liz Edgerton says:

    I have been a type 1 diabetic since I was 29 years old. I am now 52 and manage the disease by a blood glucose meter and multiple shots of both long lasting and short lasting insulin. Sometimes I will have a blood sugar low that turns me into a binge eater. I have eaten entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch when one of these episodes occur. My appetite can be insatiable and I could care less about what I am doing to feed it. I don’t think about what it is doing to my health. Afterwards I spend the next 24 hours battling abnormal blood glucose levels. I take multiple shots to coax down the higher levels and eating again to ward off the lower levels that occur when I have overestimated that amount of insulin I need.

    • Thanks for posting Liz. While our program is focused on Type 2 diabetes, the situation you are describing–overeating in response to hypoglycemia–is a common problem. I know you are already aware of the symptoms, prevention, and treatment of hypoglycemia, but here’s an overview: https://amihungry.com/hypoglycemia/.

      Mindfulness may be helpful for you in a number of different ways: Mindfulness can help increase your awareness of the signs of a falling blood sugar before it is severe; using the Hunger and Fullness Scale and of course your blood glucose meter, can all help you catch this sooner. Your awareness of the pattern once your blood sugar has dropped can help you create a plan ahead of time, including a pause that allows you to treat the hypoglycemia first before diving into the cereal. (That of course means that you have to plan ahead to have appropriate glucose sources available at all times.) As your blood sugar comes back up, you’ll have fuel for your brain to help you with your decision-making process.

  2. Liz, there are some new technologies and approaches to treat low blood sugar that you might explore with an Endocrinologist or Provider. These include a continuous glucose monitor, CGS or adapting your insulin scale. If you are looking to make managing your diabetes easier, and you haven’t met with a diabetes educator in over a year, consider scheduling an appointment. You may hear yourself saying, “Gee-whiz, I didn’t know that they made this, this or that!” The advances in diabetes are amazing and changing all the time! It is good to learn what is new that might make life with diabetes just a little bit easier.

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