Community Views: Life Lessons After Diagnosis

Last updated: January 2023

There is no question that diabetes is one of the most life-changing diagnoses when it comes to your everyday lifestyle.

To learn more about how this diagnosis has changed what life looks like for community members, we reached out to our Type2Diabetes.com Facebook community. We asked people to fill in the blank: "One thing I have learned about myself after being diagnosed with diabetes is that _____."

More than 300 community members shared their answers, and we identified some common themes. Here is what was said.

I struggle with willpower

The biggest issue that community members spoke about was difficulty eating according to their doctor's instructions. This makes sense. It is a huge change to completely overhaul our food choices. Food is so many things in our lives, from a source of comfort and energy, to a way to celebrate life events. Saying no can often feel like missing out on pleasure or fun.

For many people with type 2 diabetes, it takes time to fully alter eating habits. Even when you have, slip-ups sometimes still happen.

"I have no willpower. As soon as I say to myself that I cannot eat that, all I want to do is eat that."

"I am not very compliant about the diet."

"I do not need dietary advice. What I really need is someone to follow me around and slap carbs out of my hand 24/7."

"I have no willpower. I love ramen, noodles, pasta, and pizza and everything unhealthy. I also have an overeating disorder. It is a struggle, but I still have to try to work on it."

I did not understand diabetes until now

Our community's honesty is so refreshing. Several people shared that they judged people with diabetes or did not understand the disease – or both – until they were diagnosed. Once diagnosed, people had to learn the various causes of diabetes and that having diabetes is far from a moral failing.

"I learned I had been judging people with diabetes."

"I have begun to understand that diabetes is not a punishment for bad eating habits."

"I did not really understand being diabetic until I became diabetic."

I am frustrated by this diabetes diagnosis

Many people shared that learning to live with type 2 diabetes is frustrating. It takes time to learn how your body responds to each food. Different people with type 2 can react differently to the same food, which means most people learn how to control their blood sugar only through trial and error.

"It is a take-one-day-at-a time disease. It is very frustrating."

"I can have a cup of soup and a small salad, only to wake up with an out-of-control number. This leaves me shaking my head."

"That all people with type 2 are not the same. The things that spike my blood sugar are not the same as for my sister, who also has this disease."

I am stronger than I thought

Community members also shared that they were surprised by how willing and able they were when it came to making big lifestyle changes. They managed to get their numbers in a healthy range. Along the way, they discovered that they are stronger and more determined than they had ever realized.

"I am fortunate that I was able to lose 30 pounds and stick to a healthy diet for the most part."

"That I am actually stronger than I first thought I was."

"I can lose weight and get my numbers in the healthy range without diabetes meds."

I had to learn to prioritize myself

This is a big one and cannot be overstated. One of the biggest lessons echoed by several community members is that their journey with type 2 diabetes got easier once they learned to prioritize themselves. They learned to value their health by continuing to make food choices that might be different from what others are choosing or from what they would have picked in the past. By choosing self-care first, they found a way to make peace with the diagnosis.

"I have to care more about myself than the desire to make a poor choice."

"I never thought I could resist Oreos until I had diabetes. It turns out I care more about my life than any treats."

Thank you

We want to say thank you to everyone who shared their experiences for this story. It is encouraging and inspiring to see so much input from the community.

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