I recently uploaded two images on my IG page and the activity soared. The combined post showed an image of my breakfast with the caption ” How I eat breakfast from my local diner and keep my carb count low. Swipe to see.”
Once swiped, there is a video of me throwing the bulk of the french fries and bread in the trash. Some people were outraged that I was wasting good food, some commented that they do the same, some commented that I should bolus, and some suggested that I ask the diner to hold the fries. I watched the increase of comments and likes throughout the day. I only replied every once and a while.
However, with each new comment, various thoughts came to mind. First, one of the biggest cultural adjustments I’ve had to make since being diagnosed with diabetes is being comfortable with not cleaning my plate. I was raised to “clean my plate” no matter the carbs, no matter my level of fullness, and this no matter what mentality taught me to put the plate above my needs. It’s taken years to reverse this type of thinking.
Second, I felt slightly sad that no one showed this much concern for me during the times when I made my own body the trash can. When I ate too much, ate too long, expanded my stomach, and packed on the pounds. Some people seemed to care more for those french fries than for my glucose levels, which in turn is my health, which in turn is me.
Third, it was insightful to see what came out about different ways of managing diabetes. For those who bolus, it was a natural reaction to say eat it and bolus. But when I replied, since I’m not taking insulin right now, I only have a trash can and metformin, it was a learning experience about the steps different people take when managing diabetes. I guess technically, I had a trash can, metformin, and a gym membership (but I was at work and couldn’t exercise within 30 minutes of eating).
Fourth, I realized that there are a lot of us who secretly or openly participate in higher food waste to live healthier. It would be nice if every diner could give me only six french fries when I want a taste rather than a full order or offer me one slice of toast when I want a sample, but in the real world things aren’t that simple.
Lastly, it made me realize that we need to talk about trash and food waste more often because it’s a silent part of diabetes management for many of us. When I was newly diagnosed and thought that I couldn’t eat grits anymore, an older woman in a support group meeting shared, “I still eat grits every day, I just eat only 1 cup.” Surprised, I asked, “Only one cup? You must throw away a lot of grits because I can’t cook just one cup?” She energetically responded, “I sure do. I throw away grits every morning after I have my portion!” She laughed. “Better out than in,” she continued.
I learned then that “cleaning the plate method” couldn’t go with me on my new journey of healthy living. What about you? How to you deal with food excess and diabetes management?