Diabetes dietitian Helen Gibbs explains the link between emotions and over-eating.
Karen was tearful from the start of her appointment.
She had gained 12 kg after starting on insulin for her type 2 diabetes six months earlier. She was taking 120 units of insulin a day, but her HbA1c remained high.
The 62-year-old carer choked up with tears when I asked what she wanted from the appointment. After time, tissues, and a glass of water, she began to tell me her story. “I had such good intentions to have breakfast before I came today but I ran out of time. I realised I was going low, so I pulled in at a petrol station and picked up a sandwich, which is OK, but I also bought lollies and a soft drink, you must think I am such a bad person.”
Through tears she told me about the last 18 months. Her diabetes wasn’t under control, which meant she had to move onto insulin to control her blood sugar levels.
She was struggling at home too because she had finally agreed her intellectually disabled son, Tane, should go into supported living. “Everyone said to me I would have plenty of time to look after myself – but I can’t stop binge eating every night. I used to do it when he was there, but only on bad days. Now it’s almost every night. I said I would stop when I started the insulin, but I couldn’t. Look at me now, I am a failure.”
I didn’t think she was a bad person or a failure – just sad, tired and hurting. I told her it was natural to be struggling with such a big change in her life but that perhaps she hadn’t made space for the grief she felt after Tane left home, she hadn’t processed this huge decision.
Brief interventions are short term interventions that aim to address a specific concern in just a few sessions. These interventions tend to focus on the present and aim to address a specific problem using a range of approaches. Talk to your diabetes team or GP if you think
you would benefit from brief intervention counselling.