The holidays at my aunts house is always overloaded with every single thing that is bad for a person with diabetes

In all these years that I’ve been diabetic ( since 10 ) I have never been able to attend a holiday or celebration with my relatives which of course involved every food that you would name as high blood sugar nightmare for a diabetic ,and been able to have a great time (unless I don’t eat ) here goes … I can remember my first Easter after diagnosis at my aunts house it was time for desert and I can remember this like it was yesterday … Every was making the biggest deal about how " oh she can’t eat anything make sure she doesn’t have that one it’s loaded with butter cream and than my own mother would act so stupid and say well she can probabley have the cake with the whip cream ( which had even more sugar cause it was also loaded with fruit ) I can remember crying and it wasn’t because I wanted the cake so bad it was because I felt different and left out ( now back then I was not on pump I was on regular and nph,what a roller coaster that was if any of you can remember how bad lows used to be when you were on reg along with nph) anyway fast forward 22 years nothing has changed about the holidays at my aunts house except for me … I am now on pump so I can get away with haveing the cake as long as my bl is normal before bolous … But this is where nothing has changed in all these years never once has someone acted understanding to me when I’ve told them " oh I can’t eat alot in one sitting ( while my obese cousin who does not have diabetes sits across from me eating a plate full of lasanya, chickenculet, potatoes , keashe, meatballs, bread, ham and you name it ) so what I normally do is eat only the protein food that is available along with any vegetable dish I can find and I normally do ok … But I still am not enjoying myself because I don’t know what it is but no matter how careful I try to be with eating on the holidays my bl always goes above 200 ( don’t know if it’s cause after eating there is nothing to do except to sit around or cause even the food choices I made were not as good as I would normally eat because when I cook for myself I cannot live without measuring cups or else I cannot calculate my carbs properly ) and then comes desert and I try to be as good as possible and say out of the like 10 deserts on the table I will let myself pick one and only have one serveing and even when I do that I always end up haveing to ask my aunt for a bottle of water because I end up getting the type of high bl that registers at 270 and even after correction doesn’t go down until at least 5 or 6 hours later … Now this is why I can only enjoy the holidays at my relatives house if and when all I do is let myself munch on carrots , diet soda, and coffee and half the time they don’t even have any of that stuff … Does anyone else go threw this and if you do not what is it that you do that makes you be able to eat with your family without haveing to be punished for it when the day is over

You gave a great example, Marie, about how food can be about so much more than just food, especially when it’s related to childhood feelings of being nurtured (or not!), control, rebellion, feeling different or less than/feeling deprived etc. I have 17 years recovery from an eating disorder and what I had to do to achieve that is to restructure how I thought (and felt!) about food. I did not go to thinking of food as “just fuel to make your body work” because to me there are many pleasurable and creative aspects to food I wasn’t willing to give up, but I worked on recognizing and getting rid of all that other emotional baggage I’d attached to food. For awhile I had a sign attached to my fridge that said “there’s no love in here!”. But that removing of emotional baggage around food is a hell of a lot harder when you’re around family who are often where all those feelings began, and some of whom might not have changed at all in ten years! But you can!



One thing you need to do is take back the control over your own food. You can do that in several ways. You can flat out decide you won’t go to those family gatherings! That’s pretty extreme, but if they are all pain and no pleasure, than it’s something to consider. Who says you have to go?? But assuming you enjoy some things about the family gathering another way to have control is to ask for it. Depending on how receptive your family are to these things (and how strongly you can state it!) you can sit them down and tell them that there are to be no more comments about what you do or don’t eat; that you are an adult, and like all adults you will make your own decisions about how you eat and manage your D. (It’s up to you if you roll your eyes to the over-eating cousin when you say this or not…lol.) This may or may not work, but they may just be shocked enough to accept what you say! Another option is to literally take control over what you eat either by hosting the gathering so you can prepare things that work for you as what others like, or, if this is not practical, bringing along with you things that you can eat, at least as part of your meal. Like say a delicious sugar-free dessert that you can enjoy while others eat the sugary one (they may actually like it if they try it!) Even if your family doesn’t do a potluck type thing you can still bring along one or more dishes to “protect yourself”. When I first stopped eating sugar I had a good friend who was an excellent pastry chef. She knew what I was going through so she made me a cappuchino and a fruit and cheese plate so I’d have something to enjoy when others were ooohing and ahhhhing over her cakes. I really loved her for that. Or you can just leave at dessert time.



Most of all, I recommend thinking about what positive things there will be at the gathering, such as playing with your brother’s new baby, or enjoying your aunt’s funny stories and really focus on those things. Or take a break when it’s too much and go up to your niece’s room to see her new dolls (kids really help take our mind of things.) If you have a husband or boyfriend or even just a close sister or friend that will be there tell them about your feelings ahead of time and then plan a sign to give them when you need to walk out to your car together and scream and vent or when you just need to go home early. Remember, food is just food, but relationships are why we gather together (and if it is a religious holiday that you hold significant, also the meaning of that).

Yes I can completely relate, it can really feel isolating and its days like this that I can become bitter if I allow myself to. I usually eat the meat, bring my own broccoli with chz, green beans, eat the deviled eggs etc. and try to act like it doesn’t bother me even tho I secretly wanna piece of that cake lol

I know that the “extended bolus” features are supposed to work for appetizer environments but I’ve never had much luck w/ that and will just do multiple bolusesn to cover the lounging around eating that precedes the main event type of eating. I’ll end up with one or two for appetizers, one for dinner and then one for dessert, as needed. This can lead to the reverse problem of running low and, in a lot of cases the pre-dinner insulin will all be rolling and, if I’m still in the 70s after dinner, I’ll just toss the dessert in.

I find small plates can be helpful, since then you don’t have enough room to fit as many carbs on your plate? Say “everything looks fabulous but I want to start being healthier and I don’t want to eat as much as Cousin Fred” [note, only say this if Cousin Fred’s appetite is already being commented on or if you have a playfully obnoxious family, don’t mention him if everyone is more straightlaced or somber for Easter or whatever!!). If they don’t have small plates, bringing your own may be a bit less conspicuous than bringing a whole meal for yourself? Or not.

I don’t ever say “I can’t” eat anything, I say “I don’t want” to eat whatever.

Marie,
You’ve hit the hot button on holidays! Our cultural comfort food.
We’re all with you as you go through it. Think 40000 people are going through this. Add more zeros if needed.
I look the meal over and put bits of food on my plate to string it out longer ahead of the main event. Then I take more bits during the meal and string it out. And today, since I’m bringing dessert, I’ll take a 1/4 portion and string that out til the end.
I have a loving, medical, professional, family but they are the same as yours. It’s only the family of T1s themselves around the world who I figure do get the real picture of what has to be done with a meal. I go into it as callously indifferent to food as I can.
I might be more at home with cavemen sitting around a fire with their roasted meat where I could eat and not have to make decisions.

My family is pretty good about it. But I realize I’m lucky in that respect. Eating at friends is different, they really can’t keep straight what I can and can’t eat. I’ve decided to just let this go, if positions were reversed I probably would have trouble keeping it all straight.

I always assume there will be limited or no choices. I usually eat something before hand so I’m not hungry with only poor choices available. I always have nuts in the car, they are very filling and blood sugar friendly, jerky is another good emergency food. Bring a D friendly desert, its always appreciated.

I am always open about things I can’t eat, but go out of my way to be polite about it. I look on it as an opportunity for education. There are lots of T2s and pre diabetics out there and as a T2 I feel leaving an opening in a conversation for some one to ask a question is a good thing. If no question appears, move on, most don’t want to hear you rattle on about your condition.

Oooh girl, you hit on my feelings about holiday meals EXACTLY. I especially hate the overzealous relative who says “Oh, don’t even set that down by Carrie, she can’t have that, and it’ll just be too tempting”…and the one who’s like “Oh no she has that little pump now, it automatically regulates her, she can have whatever she wants!!” And then they proceed to get into a fight over MY disease…good God it’s just a mess. I’ve actually had some non-diabetes commentary issues with my family in recent years, so I usually don’t go over there for holidays, and when I do, I just kinda shrug it off. As for the highs after holiday meals, I think even people without diabetes are high after those meals, so my best advice would be don’t beat yourself up for it. Everyone deserves a little splurge once in a while.
Be well!

Sounds like you have a good approach to the “talking about it” thing, BadMoon - it’s hard to hit that balance!

For me, I think I used up my “picky eating card” when became a vegetarian. Everyone remember’s that, but don’t get the diabetes thing. My family were all meeting at an Italian restaurant recently and my nephew e-mailed me saying, “it’s good for you, too, Zoe, they have great pizza!”. Hmmmmm. Actually that worked out, strangely. I ordered pasta which I figured I could handle better than pizza. I bolused at the time the waiter had answered as an ETA. Everyone else ordered the pizza and it turned out there was a problem with the pizza oven so the food didn’t come for 45 minutes. I ignored my nephew’s wife who is an RN and probably worried she’d have to take care of me, who kept urging me to eat bread. The food came, I ate my pasta and was fine…probably because I’d waited 45 minutes after bolusing!

It’s every holiday at my family get togethers. Today will be my first holiday as a type 1 now that I think about it. I can eat too. dang. I’m gonna shoot 10u and pig out! we shall see how it goes. lol

Last year, my sons and dh made a big deal out of dinner for Christmas. “It’s all about the food” is exactly what they said. Well, I’m sorry it’s not all about the food, it’s all about family and the reason you gather together. If your family in 10 years hasn’t gotten the clue about you and food yet, they aren’t going to, it doesn’t concern them personally. So don’t make yourself miserable about not going…Go and bring your own meal. Not cool, but maybe if you do it once or twice they’ll get the hint. Or offer to bring a dish that you can eat, go with the meat of the meal and bring some vegies. Make your own dessert, or pass and you’ll do fine. If anyone asks about it, just simply reply, I came for the people not the food…I don’t eat things that are high in carbs for my health, but being with you warms my spirit and fills me up enough. Mushy yes, but they’ll get it eventually. This is a prime example of diabetes running our lives or us running diabetes. Don’t not do something if you want to, figure it out so that you can do what life offers you and enjoy it.

Why is it that so many people would not consider feeding a vegan a piece of meat but consider it OK to feed a diabetic sugary sweet things - I am lucky that my family generally takes others dietary needs into consideration. People with special dietary needs generally make them known (vegan - or gluten free for example) and most people will try and meet their guests needs - I regularly will grill meatless artifical food for guests but these same people can’t prepare a sugar free dessert for a diabetic child?