My history with dietitians

I was diagnosed in 1993 when I was a 20 year old student. I had lost all of my body fat by the time I was diagnosed; even my cheeks had disappeared.

Shortly after, I had my first experience with a dietitian. It was a long time ago so I don't remember much except that she put me on a 2,000 calorie diet and within a couple of months I had the opposite problem with my weight.

I knew absolutely nothing about my diabetes, or what insulin was, never mind how it worked. When hypos came on, my brain went into survival mode and just ate every thing in sight - none of this fast acting sugar lark. I really don't know how I avoided being hospitalized for either a hypo or DKA!

My second visit to a dietitan was some years later. I think my diabetes team suggested it because of my weight and I went along with it. This lady gave me advice such as to remove the breaded coating on Donegal Catch (the most popular and pleasant way to eat fish) and to remove the skin from chicken. I thought it was a bit unrealistic to remove the breading from my fish. If I was going to take that kind of advise on board I don't think I would be having fish very often. So, I completely ignored everything she told me and didn't see her ever again.

As you can imagine, I was not enthusiastic about dietitians.

Moving on to my third encounter with a dieitian and enter a new phrase "Carb Counting". This one has a name, Karen. Lovely Karen. This was 2002 and I was trying to start my family. I think Carb Counting had been around for a while in the US (where I was at the time) but I don't think anyone had every heard of it in good old Ireland. It was eye-opening and Karen was not giving me any lists of foods that I should not eat. She was working with what I ate, it didn't matter what it was. She had me fill out a food diary!!! What a new concept! I have never looked back.

Carb counting has come a little ways since then and I tend to use a weighing scales to measure my food instead of the US standard cups and I've moved on to developing insulin to carb ratios.

And thankfully, dietitians in Ireland have come along way too. They seem advise you to lay off the fats and refined sugars but they don't tell you "never". They're starting to focus on portion sizes of what you eat instead of elimination. They're communicating more with their patients. It's a new era and long may it last.