“Hi, My Name is Amy and I am a High Maintenance Eater”

I have been a high maintenance eater for as long as I can remember. I think my parents would say I was fairly high maintenance even before I was diagnosed with diabetes at 14 years old. I have never liked to try new foods and mostly stick to what I like. Routine makes my life easier as a women with type 1 diabetes, which is all fine and good 90% of the time. I cook dinner for my family almost every night and eat almost all of my meals at home and that way, I eat what I like and my blood sugars stay relatively stable.

It’s the holidays that screw me up.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve there will be dinner’s out and parties and various celebrations, and for all these years that I’ve lived with diabetes, I always end up with high and low blood sugars during the holidays. I can eat the exact same meal at my mom’s that I would prepare at my own house and somehow, after dinner I’d be low. It has made me careful when it comes to what I put on my plate, and a side effect of being “careful” is feeling high maintenance when I don’t eat half the food that is presented at Thanksgiving dinner. “You don’t like mashed potatoes?” someone will ask and I will want to scream. Of course I like mashed potatoes, I love mashed potatoes but I can’t eat them. Someone else will say, “Aren’t you going to have some of the pumpkin pie?” Or “You’ve got to have a bite of this stuffing!”Most of my family understands my eating habits and it’s only when there are new guests at the table that questions are asked. (And of course the holidays are only a few days out of the year, I can have some pie and bolus extra to cover the delicious desert if I want to, but most of the time it’s not worth the trouble.)

With a few days left until the big dinner, I’ve decided to take a new approach. From here on out I’m going to think about the way I eat not as HM, but as taking care of myself. It’s a lot easier than it was years ago as there are a range of vegans, paleo, and low carbers out there reading nutrition labels who help me feel less alone in the quest for the foods I want to eat. So, with the swarms of (picky) specialized eaters out there, I’m going to embrace my HM self and hold my head high when I explain that no, I’m not eating any mashed potatoes. Pass me the brussel sprouts instead.

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