Once in awhile I see a comment on a diabetes social media site like “I’d rather live with a higher A1C and die younger than make sacrifices like living in a rigid diet and living until I’m 90.” Another comment in discussions about low A1C’s is “You people with low numbers make me feel like a failure.”

These types of comments really get me going. They make me want to whack the OP across the shins with my hockey stick. Believe me, that would get their attention! I feel very strongly that we do not have to give up things to get a low A1C. We do not have to make sacrifices to live a full life with diabetes. I also feel strongly that we can all easily get our A1C’s down to a near normal level.

You: "But I want to go out with my friends at lunch and eat at Wendy’s."
John: Do it then, but have the salad.
You: “But I really really like the burgers and fries.”

Do you now? Is this really what’s important in your life? Let’s make a list. Write down all the things in life that are important to you like relationships, activities, work, creative arts, volunteer work, spiritual affiliations and activities, sports, or whatever turns your crank. Ask yourself what it is that you are trying to do with your life. Ask it now!

Now rank them.

Where does eating that junk food belong on your list? Is it more important than spending time with your kids or grandkids? Your spouse? Would you give up going to your church, mosque, or synagogue for a plate of fries? Be real about this. Where does that junk food fit in your life?

I won’t ask you to go home, make a killer meatloaf (or other favorite ‘healthy’ dish), and compare your junk food to that. I’m just adding this paragraph to drive home the point further.

The point is that your tasty high-carb diet doesn’t rank very high on the list. There are or should be many other life objectives ahead of it.

You: "But it’s still a sacrifice. I’m burdening my life by living on this diet!"
John: "So on one hand we have an edible food-like substance consisting of a slab of beef (or chicken or beetles or whatever else your culture serves up), a bun, some fries, and a gag sugared pop. On the other hand we have nearly and endless variety of meats, fishes, vegetables, fruits, and fats. Said meatloaf, some garden carrots, some steamed green beans, real butter, and a glass of whole milk."
John: “That’s Monday. Now how about Tuesday? What do you eat on Tuesdays?”

You complete the rest of this conversation. Honestly tell me who follows the rigid diet? The person driven by hyperinsulinemia? That person who has an uncontrollable hunger due to elevated insulin levels? Or is it me? On Tuesdays I might have fish or chicken or suasage or eggs or natural yogurt or fresh turnip or a greek salad with feta cheese and a nice thick dressing or …"

If this is you, please give your head a shake. Think about what’s going on in your life. Set meaningful objectives and live for them! Live for them!

If you need help, ask. That’s why and other diabetes social networking sites exist. Ask for help. I did!

Very good rant! I hope every diabetic reads this, does the exercise and comes to their senses about how important tight control of BG levels really is! There can be no excuse for slacking off or for high A1c’s.

I had gone wayward and I’m sure I’ve damaged my body quite a bit because of letting go of tight control. I have a pump now and I’m doing a very good job of keeping my numbers as close to normal as possible at this time. In a month and a half I’ll have my new A1c numbers and I’m eagerly looking forward to finding out how well I’m doing.

I guess what I wonder is why you feel like you say you do about others choices?

I know people who have awesome A1C’s and all they eat are carbs for some reason they know how to cover them perfect. I know others who eat only the things they should 24/7 and still battle the high A1C. I know people like me with other diseases that make tight control a dream.

What I am saying is you may not have the whole picture. Because someone may choose not to have tight control does not mean they do not understand the importance of it. For instance a women I used to now who was a single mom. Who had passed out in front of her children enough to make them so afraid to leave her side for school they would chase her car. She opted for less tight control while her children were young and she has paid the price but she would not change it. To her having her children not see a low for a while and watching them become more “normal” was worth the price.

I am not saying you should not feel strong about the truth of tight control I am saying that it is sometimes only part of a much larger picture.

Be loved , you are

You are right in that one has to look at the whole picture. You have to determine where your control level fits in. The things I’m ranting against are in my personal value system trivial. They may not be in yours. I can’t make judgements for you, but I can ask you to take a hard look at yourself.

Your examples don’t sell me on lightening up.

First, A1C’s aren’t everything. One cannot expect to be relieved from all complications when they still consume 200+ carbs a day even with a great A1C. Sugars and high insulin levels damage us in many ways: CHD, high BP, and oxydation to start with. I did not settle on a low A1C as the extent of my battling. I’ve made dietary changes hoping the benefits extend far beyong a better A1C. So far my weight and BP are down, my cholesterol is up (a good thing IMO), my triglycerides are nominal, and my LDLs are up a bit, typical of early low carbing.

I too have floundered around in front of my kids. I’ve been 911’d nine times. I don’t accept that looser control is an acceptible solution. Tighter control means just that, tighter control. You have fewer highs and fewer lows. I have cut out both extremes, at least teh ones I can control. Bad sets and liver dumps are tough to plan for.

Two things I will concede as limiting factors to tight control are knowledge and money. It is not easy gaining the knowledge necessary to achieve your best control, not in the slightest. It took me a long time to find the answers that worked for me. I had insufficient support from doctors, educators, and other diabetics on several forums. I finally stumbled across one person, now a member of tudiabetes but not at that time, who laid out a workable solution for me. It still took lots of reading, thinking, and testing. Yes it is very tough to see this logic as a busy single mom with limited resources.

Money is a crutch for many. I rely heavily on my pump and my 16 basal rate changes a day. Not everybody can afford this. I’m not sure I could get the same A1C on MDI. I think I’d come pretty close, but I won’t know unless I try.

PP: I have to stick a thumbs up to you, thank you. I’m asking permission to copy your rant and give it to a few friends, or better yet send them here to read it themselves. They are older women who have to have their food and drink to hide other things in their lives that aren’t going right…we could be your mothers. I have long since discovered that there are things more important in life — like life – than eating. They say they don’t have time for weight loss, for testing. I ask if they have time for their grandkids and for growing old with a spouse. Good for you, you have figured out when we should have. Thanks for ranting!