While living with diabetes making choices can be a difficult thing for some people, while other people find it easy. In my practice, I see extreme cases on both ends of the spectrum. When making our decisions every day we need to look at positive and negatives of each choice.
That choice would be simple if not for our emotions, wants, and desires. Sometimes we base those decisions on reality and other times we don’t.
Now, managing diabetes comes with an abundance of decisions and making choices. Making these decisions are all part of Problem-solving. Unfortunately, it is a learned skill needed for good diabetes management.
All or nothing thinking can get in the way of problem-solving. For example eating a donut can be a good decision. Black and White thinking would say a donut has complex carbs, high sugar content, and it is just plain bad for you.
Let’s say you are at the office, and you didn’t have time to eat breakfast. You are starving, but luckily your boss brought in breakfast for everyone.
Unfortunately, it is an assortment of jelly filled pastries, large bagels he got from H&H bagels in NYC and a variety of donuts. What is the best choice? The better bad choice rule may apply, as all the choices are complex carbohydrates. In that situation, the donut, depending on the type of donut may be the best option.
Someone may choose the bagel because of want, and another person may decide the jelly filled pastries but I would choose the chocolate donut. I do this because after I googled all three choices the donut had the lowest amount of carbohydrate and enough fat to minimize the blood sugar spike.
Going without eating may cause eating more food than normal or binging at lunch. It may lower your metabolism causing higher insulin resistance, leading to increased blood sugars levels throughout the day. Lastly, your liver after not eating for an extended period will release glucose to compensate for the lack of food.
It is better to eat breakfast than not and sometimes you have no choice but to choose the best bad choice. I wish you the best and hope you maneuver through the sea of bad choices toward better health.
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Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.