Do you always eat together with your friends and family?

Hey everyone,

this is my first post here :slight_smile: I’ve been following the forum for a while, and have something I’d like to hear everyone’s experience on it!

I am in a long-distance relationship and, because of Covid, we haven’t been able to see each other for more than 2 years. During this time, I discovered I have TD2 in quite a scary way, and have been doing great at that - this means eating every 3 hours and having lots of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains only. Now that travel restrictions are being lifted, I am planning to see my SO.

While talking about the trip, I was told “well, you can have whatever you need whenever you need and then we can go out and you can watch me eat”. I’ve been struggling with this as I do not want to eat by myself nor watch someone eat things I would not feel ok having. This is mostly due to meal times, as I have lunch at noon and dinner at 7pm and there is no compromise to eating earlier, apparently.

I’d love to hear more on how you handle eating with family and friends as this is still very new to me!

Welcome to the Forum @matt_l and thanks for de-lurking!


It’s very difficult dealing with eating with people. There are a ton of reasons, if you are losing weight or vegan or avoiding fat.

The reality is that you need to eat what you need to eat. And if you are at a restaurant it’s easy because usually you eat different things when at a restaurant.

At home you can either plan the meals or just let others know you have a stricter diet.

So at my home, I eat low fat and I’m diabetic, I’m also the only one eating this way. So I just don’t eat the processed carb and I don’t eat the oily and fatty foods. I just eat what I can eat. And if I really need to, I can prepare food just for me.

But once you get going with this relationship, you will work out the eating where you have a meal and there is food for everyone at the table.

I don’t think I understand that you need to eat every 3 hours, but I know there are some diets like that.

If you want to be successful, you will have to stick to eating healthy and realize people are going to eat what they eat all around you. This is a lifetime reality.

For me it’s Chinese food, pizza and pasta. I just can’t manage those foods and so I avoid them, but even at a Chinese restaurant, I can get food that I can eat, sometimes special ordering it.

It’s hard to get used to.


First of all, welcome to TuD, @matt_l. Unfortunately, we live in a world that does not really understand our eating challenges when we take full responsibility with our diabetes. In the past, meal-timing was regimented and inflexible due to the action of old-fashioned insulin formulations. These days, we can choose to dose our insulin to the nutritional content of what we intend to eat at the time we intend to eat.

What is your insulin regimen @matt_l? Are you on multiple daily injections, MDI? That means a daily long-acting insulin dose combined with separate short-acting meal doses.

If you are using the NPH intermediate acting insulin as your basal insulin, you end up losing a lot of flexibility in meal timing. Is that the insulin formulation that you need to use? Otherwise, you can be more flexible as to timing.

Restaurant eating naturally permits diners to choose different foods and does not interrupt or disturb the event.

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Thanks a lot for the replies and the welcome! @Terry4 @Timothy @DrBB

I don’t have anyone in my life with diabetes, so finding this forum has made me feel much more at ease with everything that has been happening.

So, I might need to get into more detail. I discovered I was T2D when classic symptoms started to happen: frequent urination and thirst, weight loss, etc. Long story short, my A1C was 16.5 and my BG was 767. My PCP told me to see a specific endo, who tried her best not to freak me out and asked for a GAD test, as she suspected it was LADA. It wasn’t.

In the beginning of the treatment, I was on 30 units of Lantus and 1.8 of Victoza, and meds for colesterol and triglicerides. I also started walking 4 times a week and doing pilates, and I also saw a nutricionist who agreed with the diet prescribed initially by the doctor (6 meals a day, 2 portions of vegetables and a salad every meal alongside protein and some carbs, and fruits for the breaks). I am and have been ok with following this. I eat what I like and it’s fine. I do miss homemade bread though, but I made the decision to not eat non-refined carbs and have been ok with that so far.

Things changed and I was told to drop the insulin in 6 months as my A1C levels were now 5.0. The Victoza treatment was also changed recently to 0.6, which is the ‘control’ dose. I have maintained the ~ 5.1 A1C, my FBG is around 90, and post meals are around 100. I’ve been told that I am too strict about what I eat and I just feel like I don’t want to go back to the place I was a year ago. I don’t want to feel scared about my health if I can change something.

My difficulty is trying to accept the fact that people don’t care / are not considerate enough (in my opinion) of my condition. In a restaurant, I can choose what I eat and it’s ok. What I’m not so ok about is that my SO doesn’t seem to understand that I need to eat a bit earlier than him and won’t consider changing his meal time for an hour or so.

Totally! My husband and I share the protein and veggie dishes and often choose different carb types (though we both enjoy sweet potatoes). But depending on the bolus timing, sometimes I dig into the carbs before dinner is served. When family or friends come to our house, I plan meals generally to fit my needs. We are visiting family for the first time in a long time later this month and I will adapt as much as I can. Sometimes it’s not easy and I don’t beat myself up (much!) when s**t happens.

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That is a tough one to accept. Realize, however, that people’s inconsiderate behavior is often due to ignorance about the reality of your situation. Knowledge of what it means to live with diabetes could help but people seem to resist gaining and sustaining this knowledge. It’s not deliberate, just an unfortunate consequence of human nature.

What I’m trying to say, is that you should not take these perceived social slights as aimed at you. People can be slow to learn new things and in the meantime, you will need to exercise patience or you will be terminally frustrated.

Just try to gently introduce what you need and expect to roll with the punches when things will inevitably not go your way. Always think about your plan B and keep emergency food supplies handy.

Over time, you may find that some people will start to appreciate what you’re up against and extend you more accommodation and empathy. This will not happen often but be on the lookout for this. Recognize and reward it when it does occur.

Your treatment plan has produced excellent results and this is important.

This difficulty you feel around social issues is shared by all of us and it never goes away. You need to make peace with this imperfect situation and understand that it’s just human nature, not personal to you!


Hi Matt, I am very impressed with your control! You are doing a fantastic job. I am a long time Type 1, and eat the same foods that you do. I only eat 3 times a day though, so I am a bit more flexible when it comes to eating with others.

I have been thinking about your post for quite awhile now, and am a bit alarmed that your SO is ignoring your need to eat earlier. Living with diabetes can be very difficult, and it really helps to be in love with someone who is going to do their best to help you take good care of yourself. Will it help to be able to talk with your SO in person, so that you can explain to him more about what it is like to have diabetes?

Can you possibly change your meal times a bit, so you can compromise about when you eat? Can you go to restaurants which serve plant based meals?
I eat very little fat, but I can usually find something to eat at restaurants.

When eating with others, I always take a dish that can be shared and that I can eat. I might not eat much else, but I make sure that I really like the dish I take. When entertaining we make food that others can eat even if I can’t and dishes I can eat.

Eating with my husband isn’t a problem because he eats what I eat. He is the cook, and I am the recipe finder. He has followed all of my different ways of eating throughout the years. He will do anything for me that will make my life easier, and I feel the same way about him.

Good luck to you Matt. Welcome to the site.


@Terry4 it has been difficult indeed. I have always thought I was an accomodating person. If someone can’t have X, then I wouldn’t order it while with this person. I have also thought that this was a more general behavior - a nod of respect and care towards the other. Now that I am, in a way, on the receiving end of this, I’ve come to notice things are not as how I thought they were. I’ve been ok with people having things I “can’t” eat like sweets and cake, and even at home this has not been an issue at all. It’s good to know this is not a problem that only happens to me, though. Thank you for the kind words and suppport!

@Marilyn6 thank you! It does sound like you have a keeper there! :slight_smile:
Maybe things would be different in person, but he’s used to a 9-10pm dinner time and that would be far from ideal, to say the least. For me, 8pm would be a stretch, considering I go to bed at around 10:30pm and wake up at 6. I’ve read some stuff indicating the benefits of an early dinner/longer fasting time to control BG and this might be one of the reasons I have got better, but who knows?
With the pandemic, I have avoided family gatherings, but I’ll follow the idea of taking my own food with me. At least I don’t have to worry about one more thing!


Life has a way to teaching this lesson to us, if we’re careful enough to notice it. Even after a decade of participating here, I’m still learning the values that this community embraces.

I accept that reality even though at times it disagrees with my former perceptions, an ideal of what I wished were true. I find the not-so-pretty reality much easier to live with than an idealized perception divorced from reality.

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This pretty sums up most of my therapy sessions, Terry! Have you been there the entire time? :laughing:
Diabetes, if anything, has really helped me to ground myself and try to not create expectations towards the world and myself. It’s a difficult reminder, but definetely something I’ll need to come to a better acceptance in the future.

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You may have not given this much thought, but eating habits, both what you eat and when you eat, are closely held and defended habits akin to religious and political beliefs.

People will fiercely resist making changes to their diet long after they hear arguments to make healthy changes. These are universal issues that we all wrestle with, no matter the culture or time in history.

Yes, I always eat with my spouse. At least, I do so long as we’re together and it’s possible. We only eat out once or twice a year, though. We’re homesteaders, and “farm to table” is a massive part of our lifestyle. Food is one of my love languages and definitely part of my social dynamic. Preparing delicious, nutritious food and sharing in that joy is a way for me to care for loved ones and demonstrate my love. If someone told me “you can just watch me eat”, that would be heart-breaking! Frankly, it would highlight our incompatibility… Unless of course, we could discuss it and find a compromise.

We’ve been doing a lot of elimination diet and food testing since last year. We’ve discovered that gluten is (thankfully???) an issue for both of us, but I have other limitations that he doesn’t. I don’t actually restrict carbs a lot, so that’s not one of them, though we both agree to eat them in moderation. I’m outright allergic to chocolate and tomatoes, and sensitive to all other nightshades. And it’s really hard to avoid nightshades!! Potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, chile peppers, paprika (which is in EVERYTHING), eggplant, golden berries, goji berries, etc … He’s in this with me, though, and eats what I do. I compensate by keeping the menu exciting, whine sticking to my requirements, and he gets to make requests and approve the menu before shopping, so everyone is happy. I do stock chocolate chips and Nutella in the house, so he’s not completely denied chocolate if he wants it. I’m also not jealous of him indulging in those treats, but rather happy to give him these little bits so that I know he’s not suffering in my restrictions.

Your SO isn’t the only one who has to compromise, though. You might have to get creative in finding something that works. We never stop learning about our diabetes, and what works and what doesn’t. Your style of management can and WILL change over the years. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to test new food waters that better align with your partner’s. Maybe you eat out together, but you choose a healthy option and only eat part of it at that time. You can snack on the leftovers for your surplus meals. You can also share some of the more decadent things you REALLY miss. Sometimes just a taste will do. A quarter of a greasy, carby cheeseburger probably won’t ruin your control, but will still give you that sense of indulgence along with your plate of grilled veggies. (Note, beware of “shared plate” up charges at restaurants. Most restaurants will charge you for taking up valuable space, unless you order something for yourself as well.)

I do think then refusing to eat earlier is selfish. Unless there’s a good reason for it, which you haven’t told us.

It may very well turn out that how your partner responds to your new diagnosis is a deal-breaker… and that’s okay! Don’t mistake the time investment thus far as incentive to push through an obvious incompatibility. This is kind of the entire point of dating. It’s not just about initial attraction, but discovering how well your lifestyles and personalities mesh, and how well you can work through challenges and changes. You’ve had a BIG challenge thrown at you, and it seems like you’ve risen to it and discovered a way to make it work for you. Now it’s time to see if your significant other can also adapt to this, if you can find a compromise, and if you both are even willing to work this out.

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Is the 3 hour timing causing issues vs food choices? Have you tried other timings and if so, why didn’t they work. Most diabetics mainly control carbs per meal, to match the meds/insulin used.

Are you on meds or insulin or both?

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The recommendation for eating every 3 hours is mostly because of BG control and the ability to have smaller portions and not feel hungry. I have 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and three fruit snacks that have other things with them i.e cheese.

I am now not on inslulin anymore. I started off on Lantus + Victoza + colesterol + tryglicerides meds and now am with the smallest dose of Victoza.

Thank you so much for the kind reply.

First of all, what an absolute privilege to have a farm to table lifestyle! This is amazing, and I truly try to get as much fresh stuff as possible. Fresh produce is widely available where I live, but nothing beats the freshly grown vegetables!

There isn’t a reason for eating early - it’s just what he prefers. I’d be ok with going to a restaurant and getting whatever I can eat and I wouldn’t think twice about it. My only concern is the time which is non-negotiable from the sounds.

Important side note: we are in a long-distance relationship but we have seen each other many, many times. This was never a point of conflict before, but I can’t actually recall having dinner that late ever while together.

It definitely seems like your significant other is reacting to your diagnosis and changed lifestyle in a way that is not particularly understanding or compassionate which is disappointing. People can be strange about illness. I got a lot of strange/unhelpful reactions to my diabetes when I was diagnosed and people’s reactions and comments ate away at me at the time. If your original post is asking whether this is a normal way of responding to someone else’s diabetes diagnosis, then I would say, “No, it isn’t.” But, at the same time, non-normal responses are sort of par for the course.
I hope that things will be different when you’re together in person. Sometimes people just say things because they’re uncomfortable or unsure. It’s possible the “you can watch me eat” was a sort of lame attempt at dry humor. I think the best policy would be to try to find a non-confrontational time to ask him about his reaction and to be curious about his response. Easier said than done, of course…


Thanks a lot!
I tried to slide that while we were talking today while referring to another person. It might have been too indirect, but I also feel things may be different in person. :slight_smile:

My family often eat ice cream and burgers and fries in front of me.
I’m really used to it though. I’ve been diabetic most of my life.

If I really want to eat something, I will, but usually I don’t want it enough.

It’s reasonable to ask a spouse or partner to make some adjustments, but when kids are involved, there a situation where you just need to live with people eating crap in front of you.


First I want to say you are doing great!

But…get over the other people need to be considerate around what you need or want lol…

I have been a vegetarian since I was 11 and there is just a huge variation in how people behave. Huge. From the I will make you special meals to the ignore and not even have anything you can eat when I invite you over.

I learned early on. You accept what you want to accept. I learned to adapt if I wanted to. So to me it’s easy. People seem to think the getting together should be enough, but it’s really not quite the same when you’re not eating. This is just me, but if it is a SO I would say, I eat at certain times because of my diabetes. I’m not adept at changing my diabetes eating schedule yet and it’s not fun watching you eat, can we please change the time so we both can eat together? They might have reasons for not wanting to change it and that needs to be discussed and then it’s up to you to decide if you want to go or not. But you do need to tell them you are not adept at changing times yet, because they probably know other type 2’s that it’s not a problem.

I would also not try to control what others choose to eat. But I would have to say I have done so. I know when I first gave up white sugar I banned my husband from bringing home chocolate for 2-3 months because i knew it would drive me nuts. But in another case, he had sworn he would never give up meat when we were first married, so if I had forced that issue it would have caused problems. I had to decide before we were married if he didn’t change would it matter. He said after a few years I rubbed off on him and he became a vegetarian. But don’t try to control someone else, hopefully they listen to what you need and make adjustments. But it really is up to you, what you want to accept or not, and adjust accordingly if you want to.

I would have to say nowadays, a lot of the time, we eat at completely different schedules. We eat when we are hungry or around scheduled activities.

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