Learn to Deal with the ‘Diabetes Police’

Learn to Deal with the ‘Diabetes Police’

Posted by Linda Ly, M.D. on Nov 18, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Friends and family care about you and your health – and that’s great. But I know their concern about how you handle diabetes can cross the line into unwanted advice or judgmental comments.

When good intentions go bad, it can feel like your every move is watched by the “diabetes police.” And if the criticism is in public, it can really sting.

Your first impulse may be to fly off the handle and tell these well-intentioned souls to mind their own business. Instead, my advice is to take a deep breath and remember they have your best interests in mind.


What can you do about the “diabetes police”? 

  • Step back for a few seconds. Remind yourself their comments originate in their care for you. They probably don’t even realize they’re out of bounds. If you can manage it, the best reaction may be a quiet “thank you” or “I appreciate your concern,” especially in public. You can always take it up with them later.
  • Take the opportunity to educate them about diabetes. Many people have misconceptions, and this might be a chance to set them straight. I recommend using as much tact and grace as you can muster.
  • Level with them. Tell them you appreciate their concern, but getting on your case isn’t beneficial. Give them positive ways they can help, such as joining you in an exercise class or cooking a healthy meal.
  • Set limits if you need to. If all else fails, you may need to have a heart-to-heart and ask them to give you a break. Let them know you’re doing your best, and you’re willing to talk to them privately about their concerns.
  • Take a look in the mirror. Managing diabetes is a big job, and everyone slips up. But are you doing your best? Don’t beat up on yourself, but set daily goals and work toward them.
I find that tact, open communication and respect for the other person’s concern can go a long way toward managing the “diabetes police.”

Have you ever been pulled over by the “diabetes police?” How did you handle it?

Ly_LindaLinda Ly, M.D., is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who cares for patients at Meyerland Plaza Clinic.  Her clinical interests include preventive medicine, hypertension and diabetes.

Topics: diabetes, type 2 diabetes

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