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How Family Can Help or Hinder a Diabetes Diet

Posted on October 01, 2019



Adjusting to a new diet after being diagnosed with diabetes is challenging in the best of circumstances. Without support from loved ones, it can be even harder. Some DiabetesTeam members struggle with family members who don’t support their lifestyle changes. It takes work to find compromises that can help them stay on track with their nutrition.

Lack of support at mealtimes creates stress for DiabetesTeam members. A member with limited mobility explained, “My sister (who I live with) does all the shopping and cooking. She loves breads and pastas. Plus she buys herself sugary snacks. It is hard for me to sit here all day being surrounded by foods that I love, but can't eat.”

One member expressed frustration about her husband’s unwillingness to adapt his habits. “I too struggle with meal planning as my hubby is deeply rooted in figuring out what to eat last-minute and not shopping ahead. Not having the knowledge of what dinner will be means you can’t plan your carbs or calories for the rest of the day. Frustrating.”

Several DiabetesTeam members, already overwhelmed with their new nutrition requirements, struggle when all the food prep and planning falls to them. One woman whose husband also has health concerns wrote, “It's frustrating that he hasn't gotten on board to help me with cooking and planning meals. He is home full-time and I work outside of our home full-time. I feel very overwhelmed.” Another member empathized, “Not getting support at home is really awful. I do all the meal planning at my house too.”

Over time, some members are able to find a compromise. The member with limited mobility was able to get through to her sister by bringing her along to a medical appointment. She wrote, “My sister is now starting to realize the impact [her food choices are] having on me. She went with me to the doctor today and we all discussed what I can and can't eat. My sister is hopefully going to follow the diabetic guidelines with me in order for her to lose weight.”

One member who manages all meal planning has successfully enlisted her husband to “cook what I've planned a day or two a week, after we both get home from work.” Another member reported that her boyfriend is “helpful in some ways like dealing with a healthier menu plan and being okay with my desire not to go out to eat as often as he would like,” but has a tendency to eat up her diabetes-friendly snacks and leave his own “goodies.”

Some DiabetesTeam members are lucky to have their family’s full support as they strive to stick to their nutrition plan. One mother with diabetes wrote, “My children are grown, and they go out of their way to make sure when we visit meals are within my diet.”

Another member shared her daily check-in routine with her sisters who also have diabetes. “We have a pact to keep each other accountable. I used to feel shame and guilt when I cheated and ate too many carbs (used to be a bread-aholic). But the buddy system assures me that although I fall sometimes, it's imperative that we get back up, dust ourselves off, and fight the good fight to stave off infections, hospitalizations, pain, headaches, and amputation(s).”

On DiabetesTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with diabetes, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Support with sticking to a diabetes nutrition plan is among the most discussed topics.


Here are some conversations about support with new diets:
 

 

Can you relate? Do your family members help or hinder your dietary changes? Share your story in the comments below on or DiabetesTeam.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

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