Guest Blog: Living With Diabetes--How to Manage Choice

Friday, November 4, 2016
As part of our partnership with DiabetesSisters during National Diabetes Month, Livliga is posting this guest blog from a member of the DiabetesSisters' community. As you can see from this blog, portion control is a key aspect of managing and living with diabetes. Livliga is all about portion control. That is why we want to share this important story.

Thanksgiving is THE time of year for over-eating. I don’t know about you, but I usually eat myself sick! It’s the darn mashed potatoes and gravy! You see, I tend to rationalize my turkey-day binging by pointing out, “oh…well, it is only once a year, right?” Family is gathered in one place for the first time this year, and they are all splurging. Going overboard is okay, then. Right?! I’m just following suit?

In the aftermath of the family gorge, after everyone takes a nap (tryptophan is what we blame the sleepiness on, but it actually is just over-eating), they wake up feeling warm and just the right amount of full. However, I don’t. Over-eating for me, a person with diabetes, requires a longer recovery period. I can’t just power-nap it off. My blood glucose levels become much more variable, and consequently, so does my mood. That’s right, I get cranky and antisocial after every Thanksgiving meal because the experience I have with my body fluctuates with the roller-coaster that my blood glucose levels become.

Every Thanksgiving I fall into the same trap. Here is the good news, though, I know about the trap now. I am aware. I’ve been through enough of them to see this pattern and decide to do something about it. I will not make an impossible goal of not partaking in the festive eating at all, but instead will make a goal to focus on my portions and keep them small.

Adam Brown enlightened the Diabetes Online Community with his n=1 study. In the article published by DiaTribe, he unraveled the results of an experiment he conducted on himself (he is a person with diabetes). One thing he found is that any meal containing over 30 grams of carbohydrate introduced greater variability in his blood glucose levels. He cautioned readers to consult their health care provider before making any changes to their diet regimen (of course), but offered a moment of reflection. That moment of reflection lead me to question my own carbohydrate threshold. What amount of carbohydrate introduces that variability for me and my diabetes? Just a little food for thought during this Thanksgiving holiday.

So, this Thanksgiving, I’ll taste everything (even the mashed potatoes and gravy), but not got overboard! Small portions means I can try everything I want to try, without feeling sick later. This year, I am making a promise to myself to not over-eat and thus be happy and social during the one time of year we all gather in one place.

Healthy Lifestyle Idea

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About the Guest Blogger

Heather Gabel is a PhD student researcher studying peer-support in the context of diabetes at University of Illinois at Chicago. Gabel has a background working in the non-profit sector with organizations like DiabetesSisters and Diabetes Hands Foundation. In her blog, Gabel writes about the intersection of patient experience and academia.  

About DiabetesSisters

DiabetesSisters is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health and quality of women with diabetes, and to advocate on their behalf. Founded in 2008, the organization offers a safe environment for women living with diabetes through online ( and in-person programs such as forums, blogs, webinars, National Conferences, Leadership Institutes, and monthly peer support group meetings throughout the United States.

Download our FREE Managing Your  Diabetes Through Portion Control eBook!

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