They just don't understand!

By Sigried Latest Reply 2014-05-17 08:02:42 -0500
Started 2014-05-12 13:22:08 -0500

I was diagnosed 10/2014, It has been a difficult learning experience, I am having a problem trying to get family and friends to understand what being a diabetic is and how it impacts day to day life. Example, we went to dinner last night and they insisted on going to restaurant that did not normally prepare food that fits into my diet. I had to request a special dinner. I adhere to a strict lean protein and vegetable diet. My choice. I throw a few carbs in according to my Doctor's recommendation, It has helped my get my bs to a average of 97 to 107, and I've lost almost 30lbs. I am constantly asking them if the items they offer is a vegetable or lean protein or no sugar. It's frustrating, I just wish I could get them to understand

11 replies

granniesophie 2014-05-17 08:00:13 -0500 Report

I do get what you are saying, and I'll take it one step further. I am type 2 AND I have Celiac Disease, which limits me like crazy. I find, when eating out, or eating at someone's home, that there is almost always a green salad. So, there is something for me to eat nearly all the time, and I just need to request no croutons, or just oil and balsamic vinegar if I can't see the dressing bottle to read the label! So, I eat salad and spend my time talking to the people around me instead of focusing on all the food I can't have. That has gotten easier over time! Stick with it, and don't be so hard on yourself and others and it really will all work out!

artqween 2014-05-15 22:26:10 -0500 Report

Aww, why don't they understand? Sigried.. Why r they giving u a hard time? Congrats on your lb loss btw.
R they unhealthy??
:-/ hey btw. Never give up my friend…

Sigried 2014-05-13 14:27:52 -0500 Report

I think I didn't make myself clear. Going out to eat is an occasional event. I am talking about overall respect for a person's diet restrictions. My son-in-law doesn't eat pork so when planning meals I make sure that I don't serve pork or have a great alternative for him. I also prepare meals that are not loaded with sodium, but keep the salt shaker on the table for those that love that salty taste. For me, I try to make meals where each item is separate so that everyone can mix and match as they choose. I don't understand why that kind of thought in preparation and presentation cannot be done for me. Maybe I'm a cranky old diabetic, lol

Nick1962 2014-05-14 08:38:25 -0500 Report

No, I understand Sigried, but you’ll need to give it some time for folks to get a better understanding of what your restrictions are. You need to educate them rather than expect them to fall in line overnight (it’s only been a few months). It took me an intensive 12 week class to get my diet figured out, and even though my wife took it with me (we both took it for weight loss), she still struggles after 7 years.

I work in a 12-person office with two folks with religious restrictions, two with severe food allergies, two adults with braces, two with restricted diets like ours, and many with the standard dislikes of tomatoes, vinegar, fish etc. Getting us all around a table is a challenge, and yes, there have been days that I had to compromise and make up for it. When I brought my new diet into the office, it was a challenge to the “we’ll eat anything if it’s free” mentality. Since that time though, people have seen me making the concessions to my diet, they also figured they should be eating a bit better, and have somewhat joined in. To be honest, they’ve also come up with some pretty good things that fit my diet perfectly that I would have never thought of.

Give them some time and some education (and some slack). Chances are you’ll learn along the way too.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-13 21:49:01 -0500 Report

In my own personal opinion, no one has to respect your diet. You are the only one responsible for it. Just because you think of everyone's dietary need does not mean that they are going to think of yours.

I would rather appreciate being with my friends and family than be concerned about the food being served. I do not ask my friends or family to prepare special foods for me when I am invited to have a meal with them in their homes. I was raised that when invited to someones home you eat what is served even if it is the worse food you have ever tasted and thank them.

You are making an issue about your diet which no one seems to care about but you so maybe you are old and cranky…lol. The way I see it is, you should be grateful that you have people who want to spend time with you because not too many people have that. since you go out to eat occasionally, eat the foods you can eat, keep your mouth closed about your diet and have fun. It is not going to kill you to not eat the food you would prepare for yourself. I can eat what I want to eat in moderation so If I went to dinner at a friends house and they have veggies, bbq, mac and cheese, potato salad, dinner rolls and chocolate cake for dessert, I will eat the mainly veggies and meat, stick my fork in the mac and cheese and eat what sticks to the fork, a teaspoon of potato salad and a small slice of cake and spend time visiting instead of spending time thinking no one respects my diet. After all friends and family are far more important to me than my diet when we are out together. It is only one day and deviating from my diet is not going to kill me.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-13 12:29:25 -0500 Report

Sig I agree with Nick. If you want to go out with family and friends and have fun on vacation or other outings, you are the one who has to make concessions not your friends or family. I have never tried to make my friends or family understand diabetes because it is in my family and my friends are understanding people. I never ever ask anyone to make concessions for me. As Nick said as a T2, cheating is not going to kill you. Instead of trying to get them to be understanding, enjoy your time with them. They will appreciate this more than your trying to get them to understand. People will understand something only if they choose to do so. You don't want to get to the point where they will stop asking you to join them.

I go out to family events or with friends or family to restaurants. If you know in advance where you are going to eat go online and see if the Menu for the restaurant is posted this will help you plan your meal in advance and it might also tell you if you can substitute food items.

When I know I am eating out, I don't eat a lot of carbs prior to eating out. I avoid pasta and potatoes as much as possible and go for grilled or baked meats. Every now and then I have Fried Chicken.

As you learn about foods, and how to exchange one for the other, and what will spike you it will get better. I never pay for a specialized meal because I know that there is something on the menu I can eat. I also know that even if I eat french fries I am not going to get a spike because of the protein. I will even eat dessert with very little spike.

When I get home ans check, my BG is at around 125 which is in the fantastic range. I have food allergies so that eliminates a lot of foods for me. I never have a problem with eating out because my diet isn't written in stone and I control my diabetes so well I can basically eat what I want with no problems when eating in moderation.

Nick1962 2014-05-12 15:30:46 -0500 Report

Well Sig, you’re still a newbie so there are a few lessons you’ll still learn. I follow the same diet you do (and am well controlled and over 100 lbs. lighter), but I’ve learned if I want any social interaction, want to go on vacation, or participate in anything like holidays that center around food, I have to be the one who makes the concessions. Not the rest of the world. Would be nice, and some friends and family will (occasionally), but I’m sure you want to lead a somewhat normal lifestyle, which means adapting a little.

The food thing is a tough one on a diet like ours. Especially if it’s spur of the moment or catered like for a meeting and you have no control. If I’m asked, I try to suggest places I know are reasonably within my diet, and if that fails, I try to make do with what I have (rather than be the guy who always has to “order special” all the time). After all, as a type 2 (T2), going off your diet once in a while won’t kill you.

First, you’ll need to learn about foods and food values so you don’t have to constantly ask questions. Next thing is planning. If you know you’re going out (and probably be cheating), try less intake during the day or get in a little extra exercise to earn it. Most restaurants will make some reasonable substitutions – if you don’t want the baked potato, they’ll likely sub a second vegetable. After that, learn what foods do what to you. A slice of pizza on its own will shoot me up pretty high, but with a side salad it has way less effect. I can have some pasta too, as long as it’s not with tomato sauce (a concentrated sugar).

In the beginning I was also very restricted, but learned it pretty much chained me to the house. I’ve since relaxed a bit and learned my way around restaurant menus and can still manage to keep my A1c between 4.9 and 5.2 (avg. bs of 95). As a T2, it’s really my issue to deal with as best I can (and I can), so I try not to burden myself because it cuts me off from the rest of the world.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-13 21:52:36 -0500 Report

Nick, I agree with you 100%. It is up to the diabetic to make the concessions, not the rest of the world. People really don't care about someones diet especially if they are cooking a lot of food for people to enjoy.

I was raised that it is rude to ask people to prepare something special for you when you are invited to their house to eat and unless they ask I never take food for only myself. I was raised that it was very bad manners. With food allergies, I would never take food to someones house if they didn't ask for it.

Life is short and I am certainly not going to spend it trying to get people to understand my special diet needs and I don't care if they do or do not respect it. Being with my friends and family from time to time is far more important.

Nick1962 2014-05-14 09:28:16 -0500 Report

It seems Joyce that a lot of people now are making some effort to eat better in general so I haven’t had a whole lot of problems with food in social settings lately. I have come across a few places that simply don’t offer options – everything comes with fries, chips, pasta or potato salad and the only lettuce you can get is on the sandwich. It is tough sometimes, but like you say, life’s too short to stress about it.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-14 10:00:21 -0500 Report

I agree with you on that. There are still restaurants that cover everything in a sauce, won't let you substitute a carb for a veggie or whose "healthy" choice is often the most expensive item on the menu. I don't stress I just try to make a good choice of what is offered.

Next Discussion: Type 1-Losing Weight »