1.4 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in the year 2019 (the most recent year we have data for). That makes a total of 28.5 million US adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Additionally, 98 million people (or 38% of the adult US population) have prediabetes. What we don't know is how many of those folks received any education about diabetes. Anecdotally, I can tell you most people with prediabetes and diabetes have gotten very little education, but plenty of lecturing.
There's the thing: diabetes is super interesting from a medical/academic standpoint. It involves several hormones, body systems, organs, genes, and more. Yet, it gets boiled down to "carbohydrates are the problem." I'm not suggesting everyone who has diabetes needs to take a biochemistry class to learn about their condition, but surely there's plenty of middle ground to work with.
My experience of people with diabetes (PWD) is that health care practitioners offer too much overly simplified and unhelpful advice (like cut out sugar or do more exercise), too much weight stigma (fact: any amount of weight stigma is too much), and way too much blame put on the PWD. As a result, PWD end up confused, frustrated, and full of shame about their diagnosis or the worsening of their condition.
Here are some facts I wish more people knew:
Type 2 diabetes has a strong genetic component. So, you can "do everything right" and still get it. And even if you aren't "doing everything right," it's still not your fault if you get diabetes.
Diabetes is a progressive disease, so even though it's important to take care of it, it will get worse over the course of your life. This is not your fault, because, again, diabetes is a progressive disease.
There is no cure for diabetes. Even if you lose weight, you will still need to manage your diabetes.
You might be thinking to yourself, "my doctor told me I have to lose weight." I have no doubt your doctor told you that. After all, we know that weight loss can be helpful in managing blood sugars. We also know that the effects are not permanent. We also know that most people who lose weight will gain that weight back plus more. And we know that restrictive eating (or dieting) is associated with disordered eating, and that weight cycling (losing and gaining weight repeatedly) can make blood sugar control more challenging.
The conclusion I have drawn (and perhaps you have too, at this point) is that focusing on weight is unhelpful at best and harmful at worst. A better approach is to focus on sustainable behaviors that help keep blood sugars in range regardless of weight. In addition, many PWD already have some disordered eating, so addressing the relationship to food will be essential even before tackling diabetes.
With these concepts in mind, I have created my Intuitive Eating for Diabetes Program. This course provides the education PWD need to be successful at managing blood sugars, the weight-neutral approach to food called Intuitive Eating, and the one-on-one support to get it all done.
If you are curious about whether this program might be right for you, schedule a call with me. We ask that you call your insurance provider to check on your benefits using this document as a guide. I will answer all of your questions. We'll discuss the program topics, program fees, and how it all works. I can't wait to talk to you!