We all need to avoid toxic relationships. But I would argue that, more than most people, those of us who have diabetes need to avoid toxic relationships. These poisonous relationships can get you down, and diabetes and depression go hand in hand. When you are depressed, you are less likely to manage your diabetes as well as you would otherwise.
The worst type of toxic relationships for people with diabetes can be those that are closest to us because they can make such an impact on your daily health and mental well-being. The worst is when your partner doesn’t support the way you are managing your diabetes and actually discourages it.
I learned that lesson the hard way. Not only did one of my partners subtly mock my efforts to lose weight, but her example of not caring for her own health was a big factor that led me to gain almost 80 pounds in the 10 years we lived together. I left the relationship only after I also had been subjected to emotional abuse for more than a year.
You don’t need to have experiences like this.
Will your type 2 diabetes get progressively worse? It will if you follow the advice of most doctors.
But you don’t have to go there.
People believe many diabetes myths, so many in fact that Riva Greenberg wrote a book on the subject, “50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life.” Yet she missed the most pernicious one: that diabetes is a progressive disease. It’s the worst one that people with type 2 diabetes face because it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. So when HealthCentral.com deemed the first week in April as myth-busting week, I jumped at the chance to write about it.
Three out of every 10 Americans who have type 2 diabetes inject insulin. But sadly, only a few people start on insulin, as many people with type 2 diabetes think that only people with type 1 diabetes or only those people with type 2 who have failed to manage their blood glucose with everything else take insulin.
A survey of Australian adults with type 2 diabetes found that more than half believe that taking insulin means their diabetes has become worse and that insulin causes weight gain. Among Americans, the results are likely to be similar.
The majority of those people with these negative beliefs about insulin were wrong to think that taking insulin was the diabetes drug of last resort. Actually, insulin may give you the most control over your diabetes, if you aren’t ready yet to go on a very low-carb diet. And for several years some clinics have been prescribing insulin soon after diagnosis. It works.
The focus of most, if not all, the studies of mindful eating and drinking has been weight loss rather than diabetes. But losing weight is very important for almost everyone with type 2 diabetes because it makes managing the disease easier.
Eating and drinking mindfully are perhaps the most important keys to managing diabetes. When we are mindful of what we put in our mouths, we can satisfy our hunger and thirst better than when our minds are preoccupied with something that happened in the past or that we imagine might happen in the future.
The best tool
In my experience, bringing our weight down to normal is the best tool we have to manage our diabetes. With every pound of weight we lose, it gets easier to keep our blood glucose at the level where it doesn’t inevitably lead to the complications of diabetes.
My basic practice of mindful eating is to put down the fork or spoon that I use to eat my meal. I don’t pick it up again until I finish what I was eating. When we slow down and savor each bite, we don’t need to eat so much because the food has so much more taste to us.
I feel even the best websites are not perfect at providing everything everybody needs. Having access to websites like HealthCentral.com and Mendosa.com might be the best way to find information and get the latest news on managing diabetes and pre-diabetes, but websites still can’t offer the peer support we get when we are in face-to-face contact with members of our communities.
But people everywhere are becoming more separated from their cultural roots. Because community and culture go together, most people are more separated from their community than ever.
Once you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, your priorities need to change to a focus on your health, leading you to become even more isolated from your culture and your community. While the internet can keep you up-to-date on diabetes management, the growing focus on connecting with others through computers and smartphones makes finding community even more difficult.
The glycemic index shows us how foods affect our blood glucose levels. But the usefulness of the glycemic index was challenged by scientists at Tufts University in the Boston area in a study published by them in 2016. However, some of the leading researchers of glycemic index have now refuted claims from the study.
Nonetheless, the concerns raised by the Tufts scientists do help clarify what the glycemic index is and what you can expect from it. Their study shows that when you eat something, your blood glucose level can be an average of 20 percent higher or lower than the tested value of that food. The variation can be even greater—25 percent—among people as a whole.