Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Losing weight — and keeping my blood glucose in order — would be so much easier if the pantry and refrigerator weren’t filled with food I don’t need to be eating.

Willpower would be good, too, but I confess to not having a lot of that: If it’s there, and I like it, I eat it. Even if it’s something I shouldn’t be indulging in.

My husband does the grocery shopping. Which is good, because I don’t like to do the grocery shopping. I’m not sure he wants me to, either. He is the coupon king and I just go in and get what I want, regardless of coupons or sale items.

The problem is, he picks up what’s on sale or has a coupon, whether we need it or not. “What are we going to do with pomegranate-mushroom baking sauce?” I’ll ask.

“It was on sale.”

Thanks to his insistence on grabbing sale items (hopefully that also have coupons), the pantry, refrigerator and freezer are stuffed. In the case of the pantry, whatever items can’t be crammed into those shelves have overflowed to a cupboard I could use for storage and shelves in the hallway that were meant for storage. Storage, that is, of small appliances and large bowls; not for the world’s largest collection of peanut butter, soup, pasta, and diced tomatoes.

The problem is not so much that the cupboards are stuffed; the larger problem is that there is no space for what I want. Is there space in the refrigerator to cram in that salad? How about some tuna fish for the pantry? Sugar-free frozen pops for the freezer? The answer in all cases is likely to be “no.”

It would be great to nuke a frozen entrée and have that with a salad for lunch. If only…

He is thoughtful. He brings home things he knows I like. However, while I like many of the foods he searches out just for me, they’re frequently in my “oops! be careful” category. So I eat them up in order to rid the house of the offending cuisine — only to find that he’s stocked the larder with more. I finally had to tell him a couple of days ago (again) to please stop buying certain food items.

Maybe he will. For a while. Or perhaps he will hear me when I say I need space for the foods I buy. I can tell you he doesn’t listen when I tell him to stop bringing so much food home! We have so much I can’t find anything! I even have to be careful to wait until he’s away from the house to put food out for agencies collecting for the food bank; he’s been known to go through the bag and remove items he doesn’t believe I should be giving away. (If you have 10 jars of peanut butter, what’s the problem with giving away two of them? Besides, they were on sale.)

What to do, what to do? It drives me nuts, but it’s one of his few faults (aside from working too late every day, using the stationary bicycle for clothes storage, taking over part of my clothes closet, letting his mail pile up on the dining room table…and I’ll just stop there). Perhaps it’s part of his nurturing side. He also overbuys for the cats. Probably from a closeout table, but hey…

Do you think it would work if I told him he could indulge me, but with only one item instead of enough to fill whatever empty space exists? And in small containers only? My philosophy has long been “one package, one serving” — no matter whether the package is one ounce or one pound.

Yep. I really have to get him to change his habits. And whaddaya mean, I need to change mine instead? Can you just imagine the wasted food if I were the one to change?


  1. Dear Jan.

    All this stuff can become useful if there is total economic collapse. All the prepared foods are high calorie.

    If we start rationing even junk food can become diabetic friendly if you dont eat much.

    My favorite female has not only filled two fridges and one pantry but the whole storage room in the basement.

    Must be in her genetic code some of her viking ancestors starved to death.

    Posted by CalgaryDiabetic |
  2. There could be something to that genetic code, Calgary. My in-laws escaped Russia/Poland/whatever country it was at the time and may well have been hungry horders. I recognize that I have my own issues from when I was a (poor) single mother and went without so my daughter could eat nutritious meals. Like Scarlett O’Hara, I swore I would “never be hungry again.” :-)

    And, yes, we’re well-covered for a natural disaster!


    Posted by Jan Chait |
  3. I think that you have hit the key on the head Russian Poland and Slovakia were not fun places. And the fear of starvation may be built into our genes or epigenome.

    We have never had to live in an environment of ridiculous superabondance such as North America.

    Plus all the stories of the starvation here in the great depression and the occaisional hypoglycemia may have convinced our bodies that starvation is just over the conner.

    As a result some of us store it in our bodies and my paranoid female with a BMI of 20 stores it all over the house.

    Posted by CalgaryDiabetic |
  4. Actually, everyone has starvation in their not too distant past. It’s not just specific ethnic groups.

    The genetic effects go much deeper than hoarding food. That’s why our bodies hate to lose weight and will do alomost anything to stay fat. The tendency to store tons of food in shelves and fridges is more of a cultural inheritance from hard times. The genetic stuff is more powerful and harder to change. I wrote about this in Chapter 5 of Sugar-coated Crisis.

    Posted by David Spero RN |
  5. Jan,
    Take charge. Go with him. Buy what you need. He does not have to make your food choices. Each of you take a cart to get what you need. Put your name on your stuff or have a cupboard that is yours. Prepare meals together using ingredients that are in both recipes. It can be done. It just takes some coordination and lots of patience. It will be worth the effort!

    Posted by Airborne mom |
  6. The issue Jan raises of family members’ sabotaging you is important for all of us. Bringing home lots of unhealthy, hard-to-resist food is not really an act of love. But how to talk them about it? Sometimes in support groups, we have had other members of the group talk to the family member about what it’s like. Might that work for you? What else can be done?

    Posted by David Spero RN |
  7. Well, I’ve gone on and on about it now for quite some time that my husband has taken to doing things behind my back. Last night he secretly called the boys to ask them what kind of girl scout cookies they wanted him to buy (even though we already agreed we WEREN’T buying GS cookies this year). He actually told them not to tell me, LOL. I don’t know which way is worse…continuing to do it openly or now doing it on the sly!

    Posted by Jolie |
  8. Don’cha just love it, Jolie? lol I went to the freezer last night to get some ice and found that the space I had carefully emptied so I could stock up on some low-cal frozen entrees…was taken up by various and sundry things, including a giant box of frozen fish nuggets. I don’t know that anybody here eats frozen fish (I certainly don’t), but it does explain his comment the night before that he’d gotten a jar of tartar sauce on sale.

    I had to buy three boxes of GS cookies - one from each of my little GS friends.


    Posted by Jan Chait |
  9. I had a teacher tell me something one time that really stuck with me. “If you don’t need it then it is not really a sale.”

    Posted by April |

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