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Guilt: An actual email exchange about blood glucose monitoring

By Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., R.D., C.D.E
 By Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., RD, CDE

glucose log partialI got an email today from Will, my 52-year-old patient who started on insulin last week. One evening he made a note that he “ate really bad stuff.” This was followed by a comment on the morning blood glucose reading: “Remember… I ate really bad stuff last night.”

I cannot stress how helpful blood glucose logs are. They piece together three types of information: medication, diet, and activity. Blood glucose logs offer objective information about how these three parts of your diabetes treatment work together.  Unfortunately, these numbers too often create blame, shame, or guilt.

I get a lot of blood glucose logs like Will’s. These are logs that are submitted to me like evidence found at a crime scene: proof of guilt. I analyzed Will’s blood sugars, adjusted his insulin and wrote back with the following comment.

Megrette: “Excellent! This is very helpful information.”

Will: “Thanks. I’m thinking once I get the diet and exercise working it should continue to improve. Seeing my doctor tomorrow before work. Tell him I’m behaving.”

Megrette: “I will tell him that you are trying. That is WAY better than behaving 🙂

When blame, shame, or guilt arrive, they stir up painful emotions, making it difficult to know what change would be effective. In short, blame and guilt do not motivate a person to change, they do the opposite. The following expression sums up this concept perfectly: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

So, if the holidays are driving up your blood sugar, stop beating yourself up. Renew your intention to use mindful eating to help manage your blood sugar. Savor that holiday delight instead of feeling guilty about eating it. Check in with your physical hunger versus eating out of habit or responding to the many environmental cues. It is this gentle and consistent effort that brings lasting success because it allows you to enjoy the present moment.

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About the author

Megrette Fletcher is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, author, and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating. Megrette is the 2013-2014 president of The Center for Mindful Eating, a non-profit, organization to assist health professionals to explore the concepts of mindful eating. She has written articles for and has been quoted about mindful eating in Diabetes Self Management, Today’s Dietitian, Today’s Social Worker, Bariatric Times, Glamour, Family Circle, The Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Women’s Day, and Oxygen Magazine. Megrette currently works as a diabetes educator in Dover, New Hampshire.

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