Have you ever been told that?
People that know I am a healthcare professional AND that I promote carbohydrate restriction, often ask me how I “get away” with telling people what they CAN and CAN’T eat and how to deal with opposition from other healthcare professionals. My answer is, “I don’t tell people what they CAN and CAN’T eat.” That is not my job.
I don’t believe in taking away a person’s free will to choose what they CAN and CAN’T eat. My job (as a Certified Diabetes EDUCATOR) is to EDUCATE my clients on the benefits and health risks of each type of food so that they can make educated decisions FOR THEMSELVES. So it’s not a matter of CAN and CAN’T, it’s more like a matter of SHOULD or SHOULDN’T. 😜
Take me for instance. No matter how much weight I have lost, I will NEVER be at a point with my weight that I don’t have to worry about it. I have to think about that with every bite I eat. So CAN I eat chocolate every day? Sure. I CAN. It’s my right to choose. SHOULD I? No! And that’s the point. (In fact, many people, when being told that they “can’t” do something, their first reaction is to want to do it more.)
I try to help my clients understand the IMPACT of their choices, then they are free to make their own decisions about food*. I stand behind them whatever their choices and help them try to achieve their goal to the best of their ability. And guess what, my clients achieve AMAZING results by using the education and tools I give them to make their own decisions. Often when their primary care provider sees these results, they are very supportive.
I didn’t always feel this way. I used to wonder “why isn’t diabetes more important to some of my clients? Why are they so resistant to making important changes for their own health?” Then something amazing happened to me. I started seeing clients in their homes. I started to realize that some of these clients have MUCH bigger concerns than their blood glucose control. I have seen clients facing stressors that no person should have to bear. I have seen poverty, I have seen depression, I have seen illiteracy and cognitive decline. I am meeting many at a time where their diabetes just is NOT the focus of their life AT THAT MOMENT. It has been an amazingly humbling experience in helping me to focus more on what is important to the client, not what is important to me.
So while you will not hear me say the statement above, you may hear me say something like “fruit is not your friend.” Lol! I may help clients to understand the difference between fruits high in sugar and those low in sugar, and recommend the latter if they absolutely do not want to give up fruit. Often, after testing their BG after eating fruit, they may decide on their own to avoid fruit. Goal accomplished while preserving a clients right to choose.
Above all, be kind. Diabetes is hard enough to live with, without judgement from others.
(*In my “Intensive Diabetes Management Program,” clients with diabetes are trying to achieve normal, non-diabetic blood glucose targets. They have signed up for the program with the knowledge that strong dietary recommendations will be made. Having explained this up front, I feel comfortable in making more strict recommendations to help them achieve these goals. Even so, clients are still free to follow the recommendations or not. I support them either way.)