Diabetes is Not a Game of Perfect!

Guest Post, Sally Marchini, Dietitian

Diabetes is Not a Game of Perfect.

Balance is my favourite word when I think about my diabetes. I always think of trying to maintain a balance between a ‘normal’ life and my target for great diabetes control. I believe the key to such a delicate balance is moderation.

Life is so full of extremes. We’re told to do this and not to do that, and how frustrating can that be when we’re also trying to enjoy our lives and manage our chronic health conditions?

The past few days I’ve been away from home staying with close family friends and one of our deep and meaningful conversations was related to ‘healthy eating’ and balance. This made me think that it might be a good topic to raise with you guys as a reminder that although we do need to remember our diabetes control, there’s no reason why we cannot ‘break the food rules’ a little bit every now and then.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide us with the information we need to ensure that we get enough of the key nutrients to meet our requirements for good health. But being the human beings that we are, there are occasions that it’s okay to make deviations from those guidelines as part of the ‘holiday’ or ‘relaxing’ process.

Some common references to this type of moderation approach are the 90/10 rule, where it’s okay to eat what you really feel like about 10% of the time as long as you’re doing what you should to maintain or improve your wellbeing 90% of the time. I like that idea because it reflects my idea of diabetes not being ‘a game of perfect’. Humans are also not perfect, so it fits perfectly.

The theme of this post, moderation, was suggested to me by my friend who we have been staying with near Yass, NSW, as we have enjoyed a few more ‘discretionary’ choices than we usually would, but have still enjoyed delicious home cooked meals that have fulfilled most of the guidelines for healthy eating.

In just four days I feel like I’ve had a mini-holiday and am re-invigorated to get back into my busy life, where I need to remember that moderation is so very important for balance and quality of life. There is no room for massive extremes in our lives and the more often we are reminded of this, the better.

I’ve been checking my BGLs fairly regularly, making corrections where necessary and guesstimating carb intakes for meals that I haven’t produced. As I’ve been out of my usual routine, my BGLs have also been a little higher than usual, but that’s okay because it’s just a few days away with a purpose to relax. I know that when I get back to my usual routine, the BGL readings will also return to their usual levels and my health will be better for the break.

There’s no point in stressing about periods in your life that you know are temporary. Just do the best you can and know that you can recover as you progress towards your ‘normal’ life. Eating well on the journey to get there can only help.

Remember that ‘Diabetes is Not a Game of Perfect’!

Sally Marchini

Sally is owner of her private practice (Marchini Nutrition), and has had type 1 diabetes for close to 40 years and coeliac disease for many years too.