As we all very well know, the main thing that is impacted by t1d is food. What we eat, how much we eat and when we eat all have to be factored in to our daily routines. Is it any wonder then that many people with t1d do not have the best relationship with food?
Society today is obsessed, there is always some new food fad sweeping the internet and glossy magazines telling us all about the newly discovered health benefits of all sorts of different foods. We are a nation very focussed on ourselves; how we look and what we are putting in to our bodies is something that is very much in the the public domain.
From the day of diagnosis, we suddenly have to look at food in a different way. There becomes a clear distinction between ‘bad’ foods (those that are potentially going to send our blood sugars haywire) and ‘good’ foods which are going to aid in keeping our blood sugars in range leading to the desired hba1c level. Now, these so called good and bad foods are no different for us t1d’s than for those with a fully functioning pancreas and surely everyone wants to be the healthiest and best version of themselves therefore, why should t1d make any difference and turn the relationship sour?
It is widely accepted that the best way to form a solid and sensible relationship with food is to not make it a ‘thing’. Everything in moderation is a very good way to look at a sustainable and healthy way of eating and deprivation is discouraged. Herein I see the first problem. When I was growing up with t1d, we had a very normal attitude to food and my parents were very good at not letting t1d prevent me from having anything that I wanted, mindful of the fact that telling a 5 year old that something was bad or forbidden was a sure fire way of setting up bad habits and thoughts. This was all very well however, there was nothing they could do about everyone else that I encountered in my life. I distinctly remember a day at primary school when we had injections, I must have been about 7 years old, and after the injection everyone was being given a penny sweet (you know the ones, the little fried eggs or cola bottles) literally SO SMALL yet when I went to get one, the school secretary grabbed the tub and told me I was not allowed one. This, amongst many other interactions, were not helpful in forming a normal attitude. People who are diagnosed later in life may have more of a chance as they have had those early years without t1d and then have to adapt their habits later on in life – I’m not sure which is better?!
I also think that, when healthy eating is a completely free choice for someone, they are more invested in it as they have chosen to do it. In the case of t1d it is somewhat enforced therefore is it just human nature to want to rebel against something that is being forced upon you?
Lots of questions and I would be interested to hear others thoughts on it and how you think t1d has impacted your relationship with food?