56 Responses

  1. tmana
    tmana November 25, 2008 at 7:09 am |

    I don’t get the Diabetes Police. I get the opposite: “It’s the holidays; it won’t hurt you.” “Just a little won’t hurt you.” “Come on, try it.” Anyone else get that instead of “you shouldn’t with diabetes”???

  2. Karen
    Karen November 25, 2008 at 7:25 am |

    With some careful planning, you don’t need a response for the diabetes police at all!! Yes, you can avoid the situation altogether!!!! How, you ask? Simply smuggle your treat of choice into the coat closet and wolf it down before anyone sees you eating it. (I recommend the coat closet as opposed to the bathroom for sanitary issues.) Repeat as often as necessary, or until someone starts to question where you keep disappearing to. ;)

  3. mollyjade
    mollyjade November 25, 2008 at 8:04 am |

    “Thank you for your concern.” Smile. Change the subject. Repeat.

    In my experience, the diabetes police aren’t usually loved ones (at least not after the first few years).

  4. David
    David November 25, 2008 at 8:24 am |

    It depends upon who is asking.
    If I want to be a smart aleck I tell the person asking me:

    It is okay for me to eat anything I want. I have also been found to have anorexia and bulimia and I plan to go throw everything up in a few minutes.

  5. David
    David November 25, 2008 at 8:48 am |

    One of my interests/hobbies is that I am a magician. The following takes preparation and planning. (and practice) I carry a “flash Wallet” (Available at any good magic store). When you open it, it explodes into flame…

    When people come up to me in and make a comment, I tell them, that as a magician, I have come across an ancient secret remedy only known to a handful of insiders.This secret has been passed on from generation to generation and after many years of study, I am able to put this secret to use.

    I then tell them to watch what I can do. I pull out my wallet, reach into a pocket in the wallet, for a pinch of white powder (can be anything you want like flour, cornstarch, xanthum gum) I sprinkle it lightly on the plate of food. I then say a few mumble jumble words, while waving my hands over the food (with the wallet in one of my hands) Then while they are not watching the wallet, hit the flash button on the wallet. (which when causes a big flash of smoke and bursts the wallet into flames). After putting out the flames on the wallet (which is part of the trick). I tell them that now everything on the plate is safe for me to eat.

    After that, I generally have no more questions.

    Note: This can only be done in open areas that are fire safe (stay away from anything combustible) , and I would not recommend it for anyone who does not know what they are doing.

  6. Sandra Leal
    Sandra Leal November 25, 2008 at 9:05 am |

    I always say, “I have the good kind of diabetes!” It’s okay.

  7. Sarah Lawton
    Sarah Lawton November 25, 2008 at 9:09 am |

    I like to explain my diabetes to anyone as I am a stick shift and you run automatic. Where your body adjusts in reaction to everything you do/eat, I need to ‘shift my gears’ to keep going.

    So around the holidays when the d-police show up I ask them to kindly let me shift my gears in peace :)

  8. Windy
    Windy November 25, 2008 at 9:29 am |

    When well meaning idiots, I mean people, ask me “if I should be eating that” I say, “Watch me!!!!” Then I stuff it in my mouth and let the crumbs fall out the sides like Cookie Monster.

    No seriously, I usually use this as an opportunity to whip out my insulin pump and give a short lesson on how I have the think like a pancreas 24/7 instead of like a normal human. I let them know how the life of a diabetic is an eternal math equation with infinite variables that affect the outcome every day.

  9. CALpumper
    CALpumper November 25, 2008 at 10:12 am |

    Wow these are all SO good and so funny so far! Love it!

    I try to smile then usually walk away. Sometimes it is exhausting trying to explain. But these past few years I find myself munching on veggies quite a bit, with the help of mom displaying them nicely and in quantity. It keeps my appetite at bay for the big dinner and keeps others from having any reason to say anything, we all need our veggies, no one can argue with that.

    It is never until dessert that anyone tempts my ‘tude with any remark. Funny because the mashed potatoes I love so much do more damage than any dessert! After almost 24 years I am so used to Not having sugar that desserts don’t tempt me. It is everything else I have issue with.

    I guess after so many years I am blessed with my family being so understanding. So I stick to them during the Holidays and no “unknowns” that may cause me to say something that they simply will not understand.
    (see below)

    i.e. (thank you SO much for this Ashley, after what you went through my 55 seemed So Lame but you brought the humor girl, as always!)
    sorry about the 55, they can be just as whacked as a 25, if they’re on the right day in the right place if we are facing mecca, clap our hands twice and howl at the moon like the wolf with the red roses and then simultaneously taking a deep breath and stepping backward with the left foot while exhaling on the right

    Not many would find any humor let alone understand that. But I do. Most T1s do. Some others do too. So I try to hang onto those moments, brief encounters or exchanges when some D-Police Renegade decides it’s time to pique up and ruin a good moment between me and my need for carbs.

    Happy Thanksgiving all!

  10. Debi Martin
    Debi Martin November 25, 2008 at 10:31 am |

    We smile and tell the police how lucky we are that modern diabetes care allows for the same type of food plan that we should all follow: occasional treats mixed in with lots of good, healthy food.
    We cover our bases by saying, “Even 20 years ago, most people thought that people with D couldn’t have sugar. Now, we use a system that just counts the grams of carbohydrate in the food, whether it has sugar or not. Isn’t that great?” Serves a threefold purpose: kindly points out that we should ALL be eating well (not just people with diabetes), gives a quick educational bullet point about modern diabetes care, and finishes with consensus-building. Woo-hoo!

  11. Jenni
    Jenni November 25, 2008 at 10:50 am |

    My response to a “can/should you eat that?” question is almost always to educate the asker on what it means to be on an insulin pump – I can, in fact, eat this, as long as I guess how many carbohydrates are in the dish. Also, it isn’t about the *sugar* per se, but more about the carbohydrates, so a bagel and a small slice of cake are worth about the same amount…and I like to choose the cake most of the time.

  12. Glenda Steffee
    Glenda Steffee November 25, 2008 at 11:04 am |

    “Well, thank you very much for your concern! And I love YOU, TOO!” and with a big smile on my face. It’s usually my adult daughter pulling the police routine on me. All I need to say to her is that I’ve checked my levels and I’m doing just fine so stop worrying about me. I will often also invite her to take a walk with me after we get home knowing that it will help lower my numbers AND give us time for long conversation. I’ve managed to knock my A1C down from a 9 to a 6.2 and my family knows that I’m determined to be 5.something by New Year’s.

  13. Karin
    Karin November 25, 2008 at 11:24 am |

    “I’ve only been doing this for 25 years, so thank you for your insight. When were diagnosed?” I’ve only had to say this one time at any gathering…news travels quickly when you use biting sarcasm.

  14. George
    George November 25, 2008 at 11:30 am |

    “Guess who’s off the Christmas Card list for next year!” ;)

  15. George
    George November 25, 2008 at 11:36 am |

    In all seriousness I would say,

    “Tell you what. Let’s sit together I can tell you how I am able to eat this.”

    then I would give them the D-101 class. I would explain that I can still have carbs, I just have to manually do what your body automatically does. That’s it.

    I have had success using this approach. Sit down and spend some time explaining. Sometimes you can even hear them explaining it to other members of the D-Police Squad.

  16. Molly
    Molly November 25, 2008 at 11:38 am |

    I guess I’m lucky. People that I party with don’t take my diabetes inventory. That’s because I’ve educated most and helped them to understand what carb counting and bolusing mean.
    Most people are more interested in chatting about my service dog than they are about what I eat. :-)

  17. Bob S.
    Bob S. November 25, 2008 at 11:41 am |

    When someone asks me if I should be eating something that isn’t “healthy for diabetics”, my response is a smile and say, “yeah, and I can eat tires too!” Tasty!

  18. Michael
    Michael November 25, 2008 at 11:43 am |

    It’s the same every holiday….My Mother requests a list of foods that I can eat, I then have to remind her that she can just fix “Normal people” food and I’ll count the carbs. It never fails though, I always end up digging through the kitchen trash can to find the Nutrition Label for the various snack crackers I just put on my plate!

  19. Hannah
    Hannah November 25, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

    D-Police: Hey, should you be eating that?

    Me: Well, yes, I suppose I should be.

    D-Police: But it’s full of sugar!

    Me: But…(dialing up dose on insulin pump so D-Police can see) I’ve just taken a major dose of insulin so that I can eat it. If I don’t eat it soon, my blood sugar could drop really low. You wouldn’t want me to pass out, would you?

    This is where you then do your best to explain carb-counting and bolusing in a nutshell to the uninformed individual! And also assure them that even though you are eating a big slice of pie now, this doesn’t mean you aren’t eating a relatively healthy diet the rest of the year.

  20. Scott Strange
    Scott Strange November 25, 2008 at 1:05 pm |

    I usually start with

    “Pass the mashed potatoes, please”

    Sometimes they are persistent…

    “I seem to remember someone else in the last 40 years saying that once… once”

    If they keep going on I say I’d be happy to direct them to a resource about diabetic concerns and issues and they can learn all about it.

    After that point, it’s pretty much “You know rule #1 in diabetic etiquette? Don’t offer unsolicited advice, anecdotes… especially about something you really don’t seem to have much first hand knowledge of”

    I’ve only had one person go further than this and she got “Why are you still talking? Go away”. She got an indignant look, you know the one, where she had never, ever been so insulted in her life?

  21. meg
    meg November 25, 2008 at 1:36 pm |

    D-police: Should you be eating that?
    Me: Should you??

  22. Dave
    Dave November 25, 2008 at 2:14 pm |

    When the D-Police arrive, I try to keep in mind that they are trying to have my interest at heart! It is hard to make them understand that for the 31 years I have had this problem, I have had to figure this out to survive.
    If they keep on, the gloves come off and I ask them” How long have they been a diabetic?” and what was their last HA1C level? I then get a blank stare, then they ask what is that? That is when I can look at them suprised and say How can you ask health questions if you don’t know these easy Diabetic questions? How can I make sure you know what you are talking about? Let me see your insurance card and copay amount? I know, kinda mean but they kept asking… They normally don’t ask more than once!

  23. Suzanne
    Suzanne November 25, 2008 at 2:21 pm |

    Oh yes, the fantastic “Diabetes Police”… all I can say is good thing they don’t also come with a siren!! ;)

    First, I don’t get angry because I know they won’t really understand why it upsets me. I also don’t go on with a long lecture because they likely won’t fully understand (or TRULY even care), but I do want to take the opportunity to educate people on the disease, so a simple:

    “Thank you for your concern, but the new motto for Type 1 diabetics is ‘have insulin, will eat’!! As long as I count what I am eating and take my insulin to cover it, I can eat whatever I want! It’s amazing isn’t it?!? We’ve come so far since I was little!!”

    That usually does the trick with no awkward moments and we are off to enjoy the rest of the gathering!

  24. Nina
    Nina November 25, 2008 at 2:55 pm |

    I really don’t get the diabetes police. I well either respond that I just have to count carbs and use enough insulin for the food or I don’t say much and let them think what they want. I have had diabetes since I was ten and I get tired of educating people so I often just let people do their thing and move on. I realize that I should tell people the truth when they are misinformed but it really isn’t my job nor is it something that I would like to do anymore.

  25. kdroberts
    kdroberts November 25, 2008 at 3:08 pm |

    There are the two types, and each has a naughty and nice answer.

    1. The persistent “a little piece of X wont hurt” person
    Nice – That’s true but it will make my blood sugar go a little bit high and I get cranky when that happens. I want to enjoy the rest of the day so I think I’ll leave it.
    Naughty – Well, I was trying to be polite and not hurt anyone’s feelings but it just looks disgusting and I really don’t want to eat any of it.

    2. The “you shouldn’t eat that” person.
    Nice – I have a meal plan for each meal and because I knew I would want a treat for this meal I cut back elsewhere so I could have a small amount of X without making my blood sugar go up too high. It’s just about give and take in order to get a balance.
    Naughty – Yeah, you’re probably right. Looks pretty awful doesn’t it? Smells pretty bad too.

  26. Randee
    Randee November 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm |

    If I’m feeling talkative, I spring a type 1 diabetes lesson at them … that usually leaves most D-police backing up & walking away! I find that people making snide comments do not really want a mini health lecture on the wonders of science, including how the pump & GCM work, in response.
    Otherwise, the answer to the question of “can you eat that?” gets the following sarcasm: “let’s find out … hope I don’t explode!”, followed by my extreme delight in eating whatever it is!

  27. Cindy
    Cindy November 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |

    I usually just tell them that as long as I give myself enough insulin to take care of what I eat, I won’t have a problem and it’s pretty easy to do that with my pump. The only thing that will happen is that, just like everyone else who indulges, I’ll get fat (usually said to a person who is overweight).

  28. Jimmy Moore
    Jimmy Moore November 25, 2008 at 4:23 pm |

    Although I don’t have diabetes personally, my friends and family know I eat like one by controlling my carbohydrate intake. So when the “diet/diabetes police” attempt to tell me what I can and cannot eat, I simply remind them that this is MY journey to better health. Even after losing 180 pounds and keeping it off while managing my blood sugar levels for five years, I STILL get this from well-meaning but absolutely ignorant loved ones.

  29. LBLICE
    LBLICE November 25, 2008 at 5:10 pm |

    Whenasked if I should be eating that, I usually respond with, May I see your badge please? Last I heard you were working,(insert job title) your the food police now? Pop whatever offending Item I have in my mouth, smile, and stroll away.
    Or the other, I’ll gas up soon, and take outmy Insulin pen, with the question, Wanna watch???

  30. Gina
    Gina November 25, 2008 at 8:31 pm |

    Ok so Thanksgiving is my holiday… I love love love Turkey day. Everyone knows it too. Since I was a kid and before the big d.

    If the d-police are on the loose. (Usually my mom)

    The day pretty much goes like this.

    Me: Piling on a pound of every single side I can get my hands on.

    Mom: Giving me the look of motherly death.

    Me: (I see her look at me and I respond to the look of death.) Mom, seriously…I didn’t eat a single carb since I woke up. I’m low. My blood sugar is 40.

    Mom: Still looking at me. Shaking her head.

    Me: It’s Thanksgiving and I am giving thanks to you by eating all of this delicious food you made today. I did not want to make you think I did not like it.

    Really, though I am low. Big GRIN… lol

  31. Stephanie
    Stephanie November 25, 2008 at 9:35 pm |

    This will be my first holiday dealing with this possibility, so I’ve enjoyed reading all of the responses. I’m sure I’ll be using several of them.

  32. AngelaC
    AngelaC November 25, 2008 at 10:34 pm |

    Diabetes Police: “Can you actually eat that?”
    Me (after swallowing): “Well, it was edible and I did chew and swallow it, so I do believe that constitues eating.” :-)

    Or: “Can you actually eat that?”
    “Well, let me take a bite and see.” (chomp) “Yup, I can eat that.”

    Great contest, Amy!

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  34. Tarra
    Tarra November 26, 2008 at 9:08 am |

    I have several ways i deal with this. When i am asked it i can have that.

    1. I ask them if they know the difference between type 1 and type 2. Most people assume i am type 2 because it is the most common. I then take this opportunity to tell them briefly about the differences.

    2. Then i take the opportunity to explain that i eat healthy but i am allowed to have treat also. I try to explain things so that when they encounter another diabetic they may not question if they can have it next time. I think this is a great time to educate and inform.

    3. I stay patient. I know people are not all educated in certain things so i try to not get mad and make the most of it.

    I have had several people thank me for explaining things to them. I think people end up misinformed due to various media and television presentations that are not accurate.

  35. Cara
    Cara November 26, 2008 at 10:08 am |

    D police = “Are you sure you should have that?”
    Me = “I promise I won’t pass out on you or go into convulsions.” :)

    D police = “Are you sure you should have that?’
    Me = “I probably shouldn’t, but just because it’s unhealthy. I can eat whatever I want.”

    If I’m feeling talkative, I do a lesson, but sometimes you just don’t.

  36. A-D
    A-D November 26, 2008 at 1:10 pm |

    Okay, I enjoy explaining diabetes to those who genuinely do not understand. That said, there are the police (some who are type 2’s and some who apparently don’t want to listen) who are unwavering in their assault on my meals. It is for those people that I reserve responses like the following:

    Them: “You know that isn’t sugar free”
    Me: “Yes, I also know it’s not fruit cake… and speaking of fruit cake… where DID you get your medical insight?”

    Them: “You know you shouldn’t eat that, it has sugar”
    Me: “I would love to stay away from everything that breaks down to sugar, but alas, it would lead to a nasty side effects the real medical professionals term to be “death,” you really don’t hear anything I say, do you???”

    Them: “Should you be eating that???”
    Me: “Wow, probably not without some more wine – good catch, thanks!”

    Them: “Can you eat that????”
    Me: “Until I start putting on the pounds the way you have, I think I can get away with it – thanks!”

    As I read these, I begin to see why I’m not invited back more places… ;)

    Happy holiday to all!



  37. Zazzy
    Zazzy November 26, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    There are already a lot of good answers here – I like David the Magician. I’ve responded in the past with a variety of answers from the smark alek to the smug to the diabetes lecture to trying to ignore them and I’ve come to the conclusion that none of those work well for me.

    I am trying to think about what I could do to make the encounter with the diabetic police easier for me (and them). Let’s face it, it is usually one or two souls who probably have good intentions. If I go into the situation with an attitude based on past annoyances, chances are it’s going to end up making both me and them uncomfortable. The only person I can really change is me so I may as well reframe my attitude.

    First, I am truly grateful that I have friends and family that care enough about me to want to help – whether it really is helpful or not. Second, there are so many wonderful things in the holidays that I want to enjoy, I don’t need to stress about something that ultimately does not seriously affect me. Third, I do have other things that are worth worrying about so I’m not wasting my energy over this.

    So, I plan to put on a genuine smile, thank that person for their concern and say that I’ve got it covered. We’ll see if that works.

  38. Megan
    Megan November 27, 2008 at 2:14 am |

    My friends and family are all pretty well aware of what it means that I’m on the pump, and none of them are likely to try and police what I’m eating. Getting to this point has taken years of conversations and training! (which was all well worth it.)

    To strangers or people who know me less well who tell me that I shouldn’t eat something, or warn me about the sugar content, I simply tell them that I’m on the pump (here I might take it out and show them) and that means that as long as I know how many grams of carbohydrate are in something and bolus appropriately for it, I can eat more or less whatever I want. This works on everyone except my Type 2 grandfather, who, 13 years into this, still hasn’t registered that my diabetes and his are different animals.

  39. Lauren
    Lauren November 28, 2008 at 1:00 am |

    I usually run into the “a little won’t hurt you, you only live once” type of person. Since I am trying to maintain my 5.2 A1c, I allow myself very few “what the hell” moments. People tend to get offended when you refuse to sample their goodies time and again. This can be awkward, but one messed-up glucose reading can ruin my afternoon, so I try not to cave.

    As for the “you can’t eat that” crowd, sometimes I say to them, “there is this miraculous thing called insulin that lets me eat carbohydrates just like a normal person, I just have to be a careful that I match my insulin dose to what I’m eating, which is the tricky part.”

    One response I received: “Really, carbohydrates affect you? I thought you couldn’t have sugar. Did they just find out that carbohydrates matter, too?”

    At that point, I change the subject.

    Oh, and here is one little gem from the other day. I excused myself to guzzle juice in the middle of a lab because my glucose was bottoming out. I was in the forties and feeling beyond terrible. My classmate said, “How do you know it’s a blood sugar problem, and not just a panic attack? You look pale and freaked out. Just try to get your mind off it.” Argh, so frustrating.

  40. ellisal
    ellisal November 28, 2008 at 1:47 am |

    D police : arent you supposed not eating that? it has high carb content.
    i’d say : it seems like you have gained several pounds since we last met,so i dont think you should be eating that.
    (i then smile and just walk away)

  41. Kristin
    Kristin November 28, 2008 at 6:45 am |

    I usually start with a detailed explanation of what carb counting is and how to do it. They are usually surprised that I can name the amount of carbs of almost anything on the table. Then I tell them the carb count of what they are about to eat.

    Usually they are too amazed that I actually weigh and measure my food most of the time to continue “diabetes police”-ing!

  42. Angela
    Angela November 28, 2008 at 7:06 am |

    To “you shouldn’t/can’t eat that” or “we don’t have anything sugar-free,” or “oh, don’t worry, we’ll have dinner on the dot because I know you need to eat at certain times,” I answer in a friendly way, “Nope, it’s ok. I wear an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor, so I can eat whatever and whenever I want.”

    People who learned a teeny bit from an under-educated Type II try to transfer that knowledge to me… but they think they’re being understanding, so how can I be rude? Snappy comments usually are, so I prefer the friendly-and-direct approach.

  43. Paul
    Paul November 28, 2008 at 7:29 am |

    I have always been pretty blunt and usually no family members question what I do but I did shut up one relative when they started questioning me by saying “you got your medical degree when???….. I have been living with this for a long time (36 years) without any problems so I think I know what I’m doing”

  44. David
    David November 28, 2008 at 8:03 am |

    I find that if I am a little pro-active at the beginning of a meal, it goes a long way to silence the diabetes police. I generally have an idea of who might say something to me. So, just before the meal I go up to them and ask if there is anything they know about that I should avoid. Generally there is one or two desert items so high in sugar, in their mind it may “kill a diabetic” (as one person told me last night) I ask them to point this out to me. Most often, it is something I would probably avoid anyway. However, by identifying the item in advance and avoiding it, (since there are generally other desert choices available), the police stay off my back. In the mean time I watch carefully the amount of carbs (mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc) I take and have a good time.

  45. Tim McClintock
    Tim McClintock November 28, 2008 at 10:06 am |

    Diabetes Police – “Are you really going to eat that”?
    Me – Absolutely! I’ve been specifically planning for this meal, and looking forward to it all (day/week month/year!) Here is how I’ve done it . . . You know how Olympic athletes train day after day after day, sacrificing, doing the things that many people are unable or sometimes unwilling to do, giving it their all, doing their absolute best, even when no one is watching? They do that so that on the day of the big race, when it really counts, and when everyone IS watching, all of that planning, training, and sacrificing comes together with a big payoff! In that one moment, their expert knowledge of the possible, along with their dream of what was once the impossible, come together with their finely-honed skills, their trusty and ever-present equipment, and their perfectly balanced body in a way which allows them to go far beyond what they first thought they could or would even attempt to do on a normal day. Well, todays is that day for me . . . And what you see before me is my big payoff! Join me, and let’s celebrate together!

  46. Patrick
    Patrick November 28, 2008 at 10:54 am |

    “Don’t worry, I brought extra insulin. Just for this.”

    This is pretty hard to say with a straight face, as I have an insulin pump. :P

  47. Florian
    Florian November 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm |

    If you really want to smile and maybe even laugh a little take a look at the 10 Best Responses to the Diabetes Police by the Glucose Goddess at Funny, funny, funny.

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    Don’t Forget! « Lemonade Life November 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm |

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  49. b wolter
    b wolter November 28, 2008 at 10:05 pm |

    Are You My Doctor and have You read all the newest news of diabetics?

  50. Don
    Don November 30, 2008 at 10:23 am |

    I don’t get the diabetic police. as a matter of fact my mother has diabetes also and with insulin, my pills and diet I have my diabetes under control for the most part. my poor mother on the other hand has sugar levels that are always fluctuating no matter what. she always has to be very careful of what she eats. what she says to me most often is… “how do you do it?!” LOL

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