The Little Diabetes Book for YOU

As you can see, this compact new 250-page volume by Michael A. Weiss and Martha M. Funnell is actually called, “The Little Diabetes Book YOU Need to Read.” How’s that for making your book sound indispensable?Little_diabetes_book

Mike is a former chair of the American Diabetes Association who’s been living with Type 1 diabetes for over 23 years. Marti (Martha) is registered nurse and prominent certified diabetes educator (CDE), who’s made quite a name for herself in research and training. Their book is interspersed with commentary from each of them — a personal perspective from a patient and an educator.

And it’s a really neat book. I like the plain-talkin’ writing style. I like the way it’s organized into three simple sections: Learning, Doing, and Now What? I don’t particularly like the ongoing quarterback analogy, but maybe that’s just me… not a football fan.

In the Learning section, you’re encouraged to learn everything you can about diabetes itself, about your health care team, and about yourself. To me, that last item is key, because it’s the missing link in diabetes care in the past. The Old School approach was to throw orders at patients, without any regard to their personal preferences or life situation. This book represents the polar opposite, encouraging you to THINK HARD about your own unique reality: time constraints, diet preferences, culture and religion, social dynamics, your emotional state, anything that might affect your diabetes care.

In the Doing section, you’re again encouraged to be realistic: rather than shooting for “perfect” numbers, you can start by aiming for goals that are an improvement over where you are now. The authors talk about the cost-benefit trade-off of various actions, and how far you are willing to push yourself. On page 163, you finally get to the nitty-gritty of “identifying your guiding principles.” In addition to setting personal goals for daily BG levels, lipids, weight and other physical parameters, you’re asked to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much RESPONSIBILITY you want for your own diabetes plan (versus your doctor or educator), and how much FLEXIBILITY you desire.

You’re presented with simple, unalienable truths like: “The more intensively you manage your diabetes, the more decisions you will have to make. The more choices you are willing and able to make, the more flexibility you will have.” Right. If you don’t want to eat the same exact thing for breakfast every day, you’re going to have to work harder to keep your BG in range.

In the Now What? section, you’re again encouraged to do some soul-searching with regard to facing challenges and handling stress. For example, faced with a special event or holiday, your options basically are:

* Choose to ignore your plan for that meal
* Eat small portions of food you would usually avoid
* Take additional insulin
* Exercise more to balance your blood sugar
* If it’s a potluck, choose the foods you enjoy that actually fit with your goals

Pretty common sense, but it’s nice to be reminded that a logical approach will yield more predictable results.

And to sum it all up, the authors have an acronym for you (surprise!). Create a LIFE plan:

Learn all you can about diabetes and yourself

Identify your three guiding principles (role, flexibility, targets)

Formulate a plan

Experiment with and evaluate that plan.

In truth, I was amazed at how much this down-to-Earth approach to diabetes/life balance has in common with that of our book, Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes. It’s all about understanding yourself and your diabetes, and making a realistic plan for taking charge of your own health.

A central theme in Weiss and Funnell’s book is: Real diabetes is not easy. Thank heavens! Another set of authors willing to put that down in black and white.

[ Running Press, July 2007, $10.36 on]


5 Responses

  1. Carly
    Carly October 24, 2007 at 6:54 am | | Reply

    Somewhat unrelated comment- I started on the OmniPod on Monday and I am in love with it already…just wanted to say thanks, because I wouldn’t even consider any pump before I started reading your blog (and some others). Yesterday my highest BS was a 180 (post-meal). I can’t remember, in the 12 years I’ve been a Type I, ever being able to say that! Thanks Amy!

  2. CrazyACpumper
    CrazyACpumper October 24, 2007 at 9:23 am | | Reply

    I am looking forward to getting this book and reading it. It is nice to see it in print too, not easy…..

  3. Teresa
    Teresa October 31, 2007 at 5:33 pm | | Reply

    Also, an unrelated comment:

    I just wanted to see if any other 20 something type 1 diabetic (hard to find) could relate to this:
    I was watching Halle Barry on Inside the Actors Studio this week and she said something that really baffled me, and also really upset me. She said that although she is technically a type 1 diabetic, she now considers herself a TYPE 2 diabetic because she “WEANED” herself off of insulin! WHAT!?!?
    Has anyone ever heard of this? You would think that if she found a way to not have to take insulin to stay alive, that she would actually SHARE her amazing story of HOW with the rest of us! This upsets me more because I am already annoyed with her not being vocal about her Diabetes (never heard her mention it except for when the actor studio host asked a direct question referring to it). I was so excited at first, when he asked her about her life changing experience. I thought, she is finally going to tell us!! And then my hopes where crushed when she said she was no longer Type 1. I felt like crying. I felt betrayed, like she found the “cure” and decided to keep the rest of us in the dark cold night, with our insulin shots and pumps, BG meters, and highs and lows to keep us warm.

    Sorry to be so dramatic, it just really pissed me off.

    Thanks for listening to my ranting!

    Teresa :)

  4. Kate
    Kate April 19, 2008 at 5:26 pm | | Reply

    This book sounds great, I love education pieces that are uncomplicated and fun to read. I created my own line of diabetes puzzles books to help people learn about diabetes and nutrition in a fun way. They are catching on fast!

  5. Victor Shudin
    Victor Shudin April 4, 2009 at 2:45 am | | Reply

    Need publishing house for issue my little book “How to avoid diabetes, cancer and birth defects”.
    Please write me

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