I like to do quizzes, surveys and make lists. Questionnaires. I like answering things. For some reason I believe my opinion and self-identity matter.
So naturally when I opened up my latest 'Member Matters' email newsletter from DQ and found the link to a research survey on eating behaviours in individuals with Type 1 Diabetes, I happily jumped on board and completed it.
As usual there were the normal trigger warnings that they give out before completing any research survey. I didn't think the warnings would mean anything to me. Basically if I see food that I like, I eat it. I really didn't think this survey would mean, or do, anything for me.
It surprised me. I know that having diabetes doesn't create the best relationship with food. But I thought that somehow I had managed to escape that particular brew of diabetes emotions. The food emotions.
I have them. That little survey dug deep and forced me to really think about my relationship with food. To the outside world, I act like food is no issue. Double chocolate cake with extra chocolate syrup? Yes please, and I'll take that with good glycaemic control to boot (if it has chocolate content of any kind, you know I've got that carb count sorted.)
But apparently there is still some small part of me that says I should be ashamed of food and eating. Because I'm diabetic. Because I know that people are judging me. Because I know that glycaemic control can vary wildly with each morsel I pop into my mouth and the perfectionist part of me wants good glycaemic control, all of the time.
I sneak food. Not like I have a stash hidden under my bed (well I have some in my bedside table drawer but that's for nypos),but in the way that I will pretend I haven't eaten food. Or pretend I didn't eat a particular food. I also don't particularly like eating in front of other people.
And then came the questions on when this behavior was most evident. When do I sneak food? Usually when I'm sick of questions about my diabetes, diabetes itself, or people trying to 'help' me. Food seems to be a 'question trigger' for people to remember to ask you about your BGL, or wonder how many carbs are in that, or various other things. When I'm sick of that, its just easier to eat away from people. Or just pretend I didn't eat.
I pretend I haven't eaten a certain food when someone says something about my diabetes and what I have eaten. The other day I was at a party for a friend. And I was unintentionally 'diabetes shamed'. It was cake time, and as everyone else was handed their pieces, I was handed a smaller piece, because I had diabetes. I chose not to get upset then, because I was in a room full of people who didn't know me or my condition, and I didn't want to draw any attention to myself. Even though I have insulin and therefore could have eaten the cake no problems, the situation made me feel very awkward to be eating the cake at all. I brang some home and my husband asked if Id eaten any there, and I wavered between saying no I hadn't or telling him about what had happened. It was hard to admit how ashamed such a simple misunderstanding had made me feel.
I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do about my diabetes food habits. I guess that's the perilous side of being survey 'click-happy'. They open the can of worms and dump it all over your floor, but then refuse to offer help in cleaning it up. Good thing I'm pretty handy with a broom.