The Workplace Ice Cream Social

Reminder email just went around. Come on down for the Workplace Ice Cream Social! Everyone loves ice cream! Yay!

These things make me feel like such a curmudgeon. I guess I just overthink this stuff. I mean, yes, I will go to the effort of figuring out how to bolus for a sugar bomb like this and deal with the post-indulgence complications if there’s an overriding factor, like if it’s my granddaughter’s birthday, because then it’s her birthday; that’s the point. Nor do I feel like I’m missing out on the fun if I decide to abstain while everyone else is having it because any day spent hanging out with my granddaughters is a fun day, whether there’s ice cream involved or not.

But this is an event where the ice cream is the whole point. The appeal is all derived from the simple fact that everybody loves a sugary treat. Well, I enjoy a sugary treat, but it’s not simple for me to do so. Yes, “you can have anything, just bolus for it!” is the smiley face banner we march under these days, but the flip side is “It’s a lot easier not to!” Because it involves some tricky calculations that rarely come out 100% correct, and the more insulin you have to take the harder the mark is to hit and the more of a pain it is to get it all balanced out later, not to mention complicating factors like the homeward bike commute that could get pretty hairy if the exercise supercharges the insulin still on board for the ice cream, so should I take less for that? or dual bolus some for the fat–lots of fat in ice cream–but then that will be coming on right around homeward bike ride time and etc etc etc we go. Or the other alternative: do I go to the event but not have any? I generally like my co-workers but hanging around a bunch of people enjoying a treat I’m not having doesn’t exactly fit the HR Morale Builder “Ice cream! fun!” equation any better than “Ice cream! Complicated!” does.

So grumble grumble grumble. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s a good thing, truly, and good on HR for setting it up. But.

1 Like

Yep, I’ve been through this and agree with your take on it. Last time I was not in the mood for the whole diabetes/food discussion with people I don’t know well so I took a half scoop in a bowl – strangely the same people who look at you weirdly for not wanting ice cream seem totally fine with omitting the cone. Then I stood around chatting while it mostly melted and I nibbled about a tablespoon’s worth, which I’d prebolused for. In between some conversations I tossed the rest with the bowl in the trash. I have a friend who just says she’s lactose intolerant, but since I’m not I don’t want to go down that road.

Not to mention the fact that more insulin=more weight gain. Yes, this is one of those . . . dilemmas. Good a word as any.

Your take on this issue is not overthinking. It’s just that only people with diabetes who try to do the right thing by their health are the only ones who will really understand. Some people with other health limitations will get it but for the most part, people don’t really care. This bit of social complexity in living with diabetes sometimes makes me think it’s one of the harder aspects of dealing with any D-issue with non-D’s. Or worse yet, dealing with people who think they know what you’re up against.

During my work life with many of these casual food celebrations, I’ve run the whole gamut of responses. I’ve eaten the full serving of whatever they’re serving and deal with the fallout. I’ve also showed up and not eaten anything and then had several questions about why I was not enjoying the fare. If I’m not in the mood to revisit diabetes 101, the conversation it provokes is not pleasant.

I like @truenorth’s “faking it” tactic. You can still participate and it is an ice cream “social.” At least you’ll get the social part right. People either don’t notice your low food consumption and it’s not so obvious and in-your-face as eating nothing at all.

By the way, I find I can reliably dose insulin to good effect if I limit my ice cream serving to 1/2 cup. It’s not a lot and far less than the average person’s serving size. Good luck and please let us know what you do and how your coworkers react.

I’m not going to miss out on goodies! :slight_smile: I bolus as best I can. Life is short, so while I don’t constantly overindulge, I AM going to indulge from time to time. We are all going to be dead for a very, very, very, long time. End of sermon. :slight_smile:

For me, ice cream hits me very slowly, so don’t over-do a bolus. Consider an extended bolus, but since you are biking, not sure you would need much insulin–you don’t want a horrible low on the ride home. I’m active, and any time I’m active my food intake requires a drastic reduction in bolusing.


I find myself more often than not in @Dave44’s camp. Not getting the calculations 100% correct is a bummer, to be sure, but once every few months, it’s not gonna kill ya. (And at least for me, calculations may not be 100% correct even under the most ideal conditions.) On the other hand, coming across at work, or any social gathering, as “not really a joiner” isn’t exactly helpful in life either. One more part of the diabetes equation. If it was me, I’d enjoy some ice cream, I’d enjoy the conviviality with my colleagues. I would hope I was clever enough (and you certainly are clever enough, from what I’ve read here) that my later corrections got me back in line within four or six hours. A nuisance, but in the big picture, no big deal. Unless, of course, these Ice Cream Socials are happening every week …

1 Like

When I was working, there was no way I could avoid the donuts! :slight_smile: Glad they weren’t an every day occurrence.

Now THERE is a word! :slight_smile:

1 Like

I occasionally stray into the world of sweet indulgence but not always, probably more often not. At work when I do indulge I get confused questions from one co-worker. Her question “Why do you partake of this when the other day you refused a similarly sugar laden treat.” My answer, Sometimes you just have to choose your battles. LOL, it all depends on how much I want that dang donut.


Years ago, I was at an office party — birthday, I think. And I was asked about cake and ice cream. And I simply said that I was diabetic and if I ate that, I would be zoned out for the rest of the afternoon. No one really inquired further, but if they had, I would have welcomed the discussion. I’m always open for a “teaching” or “learning” moment.

After the party, a lady came to my office and told me how brave I was to acknowledge being diabetic. She was obviously in considerable distress and said that diabetics would be ostracized by friends if they knew. She wouldn’t even tell me who was diabetic — I think it was her husband. I wasn’t successful in changing her mind, but clearly she needed to have that talk. I never got the chance to have further discussions, but I’d like to think this was a first step in coping with the social stress of diabetes. If I had just eaten the cake and dealt with it later, this conversation would never have happened.

Who knows how many other people at that party heard what I said and didn’t say anything? Perhaps they needed to hear that another diabetic talked openly and honestly about their diabetes.

1 Like

Lie. Say you are lactose intolerant. Or, you could say that you are allergic. I invent strange food allergies when its easier than explaining sometimes. Works like a charm.

I usually show up with something that I can easily bolus for if I show at all… if people ask why I say “I’m not waiting in that line” Lately only been attending mandatory events or if not revolving around food.

I am very open with my diabetes at work. Everyone knows I have it and they see how hard I work at it, and we have food fests all the time. And I do mean all the time. And yes it is usually things I don’t usually touch. But I sometimes say, fruit and granola bars could be a good selection once in awhile. I have never felt pressure to join in. If someone asks, I just say what I usually say, it’s not worth the time and effort to eat something I didn’t plan for. I make my lunch everyday and know what the carb count is on everything in my lunch box. I don’t sweat it anymore about what people think. It’s the same when I do go all out and have that piece of cheesecake at one of these functions (my downfall!), I don’t care what anyone thinks. And I think they all know by now that the "you shouldn’t be having that , you have diabetes,"doesn’t work with me. It might be easier for me because everyone knows and there are 6 people in the wearhouse that I know who have diabetes. And 5 more with family members. There are a lot of us, everywhere!

1 Like

Ah, comments like this really bother me. I was reading a book about fasting by Jason Fung and at one point he says that people who are not willing to eat at weddings and the like are “party poopers” or something along those lines. I put down the book and haven’t picked it up since, because the comment just bothered me so much.

I don’t eat at birthday parties, weddings, work potlucks, lunches, office parties, lunch meetings, staff meetings, celebrations, or most other events because I have life-threatening food allergies. Unless I know who has prepared the food and/or know its exact ingredients and that there’s a low risk of cross contamination, I don’t eat it. I’ve had people attempt to provide safe food for me and still reacted because they did not understand cross-contamination or some foods contain unexpected ingredients. I either eat before going and socialize only, or I bring my own food and eat that.

The fact that I do not eat the food available does not make me or anyone else a “not really a joiner” or a “party pooper”. I actually think society is far too obsessed with what other people are eating. Sure, offer food as part of the fun to those attending, but often when I go to these types of events people are so obsessed about the fact that I’m not eating and ask me multiple times if I’m sure I don’t want anything to eat. I am way more relaxed and enjoying myself way more when I’m eating food that I’ve prepared that I know will not result in an allergic or blood sugar crisis than I am eating mystery food wondering if I’ll be injecting myself with an EpiPen or struggling to keep my blood sugar in a safe range after eating.

What I wish most is that people around me would just let me handle my own food situation, either not eat at all, eat food I’ve brought, or advocate for my own dietary needs depending on how I assess the situation. The idea that people may be watching me and thinking negative things just because I’m choosing to prioritize my health is really disturbing. Everyone is there to socialize, presumably, and it annoys me sometimes that every single social event also has to have food attached to it.

No, please, no… A food allergy is a real, serious, potentially life-threatening medical condition, just like diabetes, and lying about it just spreads misconceptions and makes things harder for those of us who live with the real thing. If you say that you’re allergic to something when you’re not, but then turn around and eat a dish that has that ingredient hidden somewhere in it, or eat something off the same plate the food you’re “allergic” to has touched, you’ve just made things more dangerous for people with real allergies. When we say we’re allergic, we need people to understand that it means that if we eat something with a minute trace of that food, or eat something that has touched that food, or use shared equipment or gloves or cutlery that has touched that food, we will have an unpleasant and possibly life-threatening reaction. Just tell the truth and say that you have diabetes and don’t want to spike your blood sugar and leave it at that.


Lying to avoid telling coworkers you are diabetic could some day cause you to end up in the hospital–or worse. Besides, lying isn’t necessary. You could just say “no thank you”.

Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World is one of my favorite songs. This lyric rings so true to me about human nature:

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you

We often use indirection and proxies to say things to others, especially others who are not in our close social circle. I wonder how life would be if we were more direct with others? It’s tricky and many of us don’t want to be “too forward” in dealing with people.

Food serves as an almost universal proxy for communicating with people we care about. When we want to say, “I care about you,” or “I’m worried about you,” or “I love you,” we instead show care and concern about them enjoying a shared meal as a substitute for plain speaking. Plain speaking, additionally, is fraught with all kinds of hazards that might create misunderstanding.

A mom who likes the boyfriend a teenage daughter brings to a family picnic might simply serve him a larger piece of pie or cake as way to say, “I’m glad you’re my daughter’s boyfriend!”

Food and human interactions are complicated. Unfortunately, those of us whose health is bound up, more than the average with food, must navigate this social maze and it’s not easy.

My heart goes out to people like @Jen because I know that their diabetes is just the tip of the iceberg for them. Jen, I appreciate your frank writing about this issue. I know it helps me to think about some perspectives that I would not have thought about otherwise.


Just to note, it wasn’t my opinion, but what I imagine would be the opinion of others at the event. (Hence the scare quotes to indicate that this was not to be read as my term, versus Coming across at work as not really a joiner isn’t exactly helpful, where the phrase is clearly my opinion, not anyone else’s.)

Frankly, I don’t care who eats or doesn’t eat or why or why not, so long as everyone has a good time.

Gathering around the hearth or table to share food and company has a long, long tradition among humans. Can’t really fight it, though I understand the obstacles it presents to you and many others.

1 Like

Those I work most closely with know about my T1. I am truly lucky as they now ensure that when organizing workplace socials there are cheese, cold cuts, nuts and veggies options to balance out the sweet treats. It has even influenced others to make different food choices.

1 Like

The food situation at my work is unfortunate. Far too often there is a celebration with cake or a mandatory meeting with cookies. My self control is not endless. My bolusing is variable in accuracy and my waistline does not appreciate it. It would be so much easier if the sweets were out of sight and out of mind.

Another quirk about social dining is the implied mutual consent/permission to overindulge. It’s as if we’re each telling others that it’s okay to eat another cookie/cupcake/donut or drink another cocktail. “Go ahead and enjoy yourself, life is short, one more won’t hurt you!” When people are low on willpower to begin with it doesn’t take much of this tacit social permission to overcome the shrinking discipline. We humans are strange social creatures!