It is a common saying within the diabetes community that there are no vacations from diabetes. This seems to be especially true for people with Type 1 diabetes, for whom the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin means there is no way for the body to regulate blood glucose on its own — a situation that can quickly lead to a dangerously high or low blood glucose level if the normal treatment routine is disrupted. Many people with Type 2 diabetes are, of course, in a similar situation, especially if they use insulin or another blood-glucose-lowering drug that requires calibrating doses with carbohydrate intake to avoid blood glucose spikes or dips. As the title of a recent post on the New York Times blog Well suggests, these individuals are often “thinking about diabetes with every bite.”
But some people with diabetes — especially Type 2 diabetes — suffer few, if any, short-term consequences from lapses in their diabetes routine. For these people, a vacation from diabetes may be possible, even if it incrementally raises the risk of certain long-term diabetic complications. Of course, what a vacation entails will be different for every person, and ignoring diabetes completely — by not taking prescribed drugs or completely ignoring eating recommendations — can be dangerous. But once in a while, it is undeniable that many people with diabetes allow themselves some wiggle room in their routine.
So this Thanksgiving, how much wiggle room will you give yourself? Do you think it’s important to stop worrying about what you eat every once in a while, or do you find deviating even slightly from your meal plan too risky? Do you feel guilty when you eat something you “shouldn’t,” or bitter when you skip a treat because of your diabetes? What, for you, is the right balance? Leave a comment below!