Emotional Eating with Diabetes is Ginger Vieira’s 2nd book. It tackles a subject all too familiar to people with diabetes and perhaps, not acknowledged enough by everybody else.
I’ve blogged about my struggles with food but not in great detail. So I want to share my emotional eating story.
I’m a really emotional person and someone who has lived with type 1 for over 18 years (and through childhood and teenage years) so put that together and add in some 1st world body issues and you have someone who can review this book from a very personal place of experience.
And while I think I’ve got a good grip on my emotional eating issues (they don’t resurface often), I’m like an alcoholic in the sense that I need consistent reminders to stay on the right path and out of the dark side. I really benefited from reading this book. And I think I’ll read it every single year from now on for support.
It started when I was 12 and had only been living with type 1 for a year. I would beg my mom for gum at the grocery store and then sell each piece at school for 10 cents, which I’d then pool together to buy an alternate lunch at school each day-a Little Debbie oatmeal cookie or fudge round. I hated diabetes and the rules that came from my doctors so much that I was going to spite them any way I could. So I ate what I wasn’t supposed to for lunch.
Then I started sneaking in candy bars and granola bars when no one was looking just to eat what diabetes wouldn’t let me eat. (Do remember, this was before fast acting and 20-some hour insulin so back then we did have to abide by some rules that we don’t have any longer.)
I would binge and then feel like the worst person in the world. And I developed a cycle of rebellion mixed with self-hate and a neglect for self-respect (ironically something I was all for in other manifestations). People didn’t know I had a problem because I hid it. And that was probably the first sign of a problem for me.
My health suffered, my weight went up, I had a hard time keeping up with such a destructive way of living.
Eventually (after years of hard work), I began to enjoy eating healthy and learned how to treat myself in a respectful way when it came to food. And because food matters so much in diabetes, my health improved dramatically-no, my life improved dramatically.
If this sounds at all like you or you want to stop feeling obsessive about food, get this book. It’s written in a straight forward but friendly way that will acknowledge all your fears and anxieties and help you through them. This book will give you a guided path to where you want to be and show you how to be kind to yourself along the way.
I agree that the “can’t eat that” mentality is harmful. Ginger stresses that we make our own decisions and instead of telling ourselves we can’t have something, we either choose to or choose not to. And that’s how I do now with bread, rice, and pasta and other heavy carbs. I choose not to have them but I know that if I want them, I can have them. There is a difference between enjoying chicken and veggies and eating that same dish while staring longingly at the rice side that is “forbidden”. Our minds are very susceptible to this kind of pressure and they are bound to crack.
Every now and then I eat my favorite food-ice cream, and I eat it really slowly, savoring every bite. And I remember how I used to eat it so fast my tongue would burn and I would ask myself “What are you doing, you’re not even enjoying this?!” That’s when I realize I’ve come a long way. And yes, it took baby steps, the way Ginger describes in her book, but eventually we can get where we’re meant to be. And the journey is so worthwhile. This book is succinct, kind, and best of all I believe it’s effective.
I strongly recommend it.