Advice on a preteen sneaking snacks

(Chanel) #1

Hi I am new to the forum and this is my first post. I am a mom of a 12 year old T1D and she was diagnosed about 2 years ago. She is on the omnipod and dexacom which has helped with her numbers but she has a habit of sneaking snacks or eating more carbs then she is covered for. it is so frustrating beacause this is a daily problem and I have become like the food police! Any other parents have this problem and how to deal? We don’t know any other diabetic kids her age around our area we live on Oahu…

(Dania) #2

I was diagnosed 6 years ago when I was 11. I definitely went through a phase when I would eat more than I was covered for. If you have not already, I think it would be really good and important to remind her the long-term risks of high glucose levels, such as potential blindness. This is not to scare her, but to remind her of the responsibility she has to keep her body healthy. If she eats and finds herself wanting to eat more or have a snack, there is nothing wrong with that! But it is important she knows she must take additional insulin to account for this. At this age, it can sometimes be hard to gage how large an appetite is and to manage glucose levels.

(Dennis J. Dacey, PWD) #3

I hear you Chanel @Kaimana04 that you are feeling like you are “food police”. That is OK, but please listen to what Dania @daniarahal is saying- her wisdom shines through.

You asked for thoughts from other parents of CWD - I don’t fit that category but both Dania and I will speak from what we are learning while living with diabetes. Very certainly an active 12 year old must eat - I know my grandkids eat much more than I. Some background: in the 1950’s when I was diagnosed with diabetes there was one way and only one way of hoping to live at least 10 years with diabetes - at a recent family gathering two of my sisters reminded me of things I didn’t even know they did to help me survive.

That “one way” of managing diabetes was one shot per day of a long-lasting insulin [NPH or Lente made from pigs and cows] per day and then eating prescribed foods, in precise limited amounts, at prescribed times. Yes, it was treatment by starvation and I “cheated” at every chance I got and ended up paying the price.

Have good communication with your daughter, help her understand the very real threats that Dania mentioned and also let your daughter know that she may eat additional foods - but do not cheat [herself] - as long as she is “smart” and take appropriate insulin. A careful balance between activity, food, insulin.

Among others, here are two cautions:
(1) be very careful about stacking insulin in her body and possibly / probably causing hypoglycemic events. She must know how long insulin remains in her body and the times it will peek.
(2) Unrestrained eating, even if she covers her eating with additional insulin could easily contribute to excessive weight gain. So avoid excessive eating - I eat more than 200 grams of carb every day but my metabolism and activity have kept my BMI just about 20.0.

(Chanel) #4

Thanks for responding. I do nicely try and tell her and explain things that could happen and I guess maybe because her age she just doesn’t think of those long term effects. I feel bad because we live on Oahu in Hawaii and no absolutely no other t1d! She has really no one who can relate. I am trying to get her to join this or some type of online support as well.

(Chanel) #5

Thanks I appreciate your response I am glad I have a place to now talk and ask questions with other t1d/parents. I am trying to get my daughter to join a forum. We live on Oahu in Hawaii and we don’t know any other t1d.

(Chance) #6

I think Dennis and Dania have covered the issue pretty well but I would like to add a couple additional thoughts. Like them, I too do not fall in the parent of a CWD category but rather I’m a 17 year old CWD myself.

There’s a couple things that I’ve figured out recently that conveying to your daughter might help rectify the situation. This is all from personal experience so your mileage may vary. The first thing I want to mention, which is highly inspired by Adam Brown’s book Diabetes Bright Spots and Landmines, is that it’s often hard to find motivation in preventing complications that seem so far away (especially as a teen/preteen). What may be more motivating is focusing on the benefits of achieving better BG control today. I’m not sure if your daughter feels the same way or completely realizes it, but being out of range makes me feel less like my best self and taking steps, like eating well and doing the right amounts of insulin, to spend more time in range can make me feel better right now. For some (and potentially your daughter) this could be much more motivating than using the fear of long-term complications (although they shouldn’t be discounted either).

To make that a bit more relevant; if you can convey that even though going through the extra effort to do another dose of insulin (or five) to get the right amount for the food she wants might be bothersome, it could make her feel better in both the short and long term.

Second, I think you might find it a lot easier to solve this predicament by taking the time to figure out her rational of why she feels the need to sneak food and not cover for it in the first place. Knowing the root of the problem makes it much easier to solve it because the problem could be anything from issues with carb counting to not wanting to put up with the diabetes to really anything small or large. You can target potential solutions much more effectively when you figure out what’s causing the behavior in the first place.

For example, if the issue comes from not knowing the correct carb count for her favorite foods or in the portions she is eating (eating from the bag/container is a good example) it might help if you could find a way to make it as easy as possible to carb count for the food she wants to eat and to actually do the insulin for it. One potential idea off the top of my head could be taking the time to partition foods into specific size servings like 1 cup/1 sandwich bag/etc. and labeling them with known carb counts so your daughter can just grab, bolus, and go. If she isn’t sure how much she wants to eat, the beauty of a pump like the Omnipod is that you can just do small boluses as you eat the food instead of having do an injection each time you want more.

In short, finding a way to motivate her to be open with what she wants to eat and properly dosing her insulin while finding the root of her not doing so in the first place could go a great way to solving the problem. All the points from Denis and Dania ring true for me and I agree they are important to emphasize along the way. Best of luck to you and your daughter, stay strong! (and remember all of us are here to help each other!)

(Austriana) #7

I think that everyone else has covered on the issue, but one of the things that I have learned when it comes to snacking is that a better alternative to carbs are ones that have none. Nuts, meats, cheeses are some of the best examples of having something that fills up your stomach without having to take another shot for it.

(joe) #8

@Kaimana04 hi Chanel,

there has been a lot of great feedback so far but I would like to offer 2 things:

1 - its REALLY tough to tell a kid NO CANDY NO SUGAR TOO BAD. in 1979, that’s what they told me. Of course I didn’t listen I just stopped telling anybody what I was doing. This may seem like a flip remark but I do believe that an overly restrictive diet can make a kid want to go underground. Too many rules can make one unruly. Please consider letting her be a kid once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with cake or candy (obviously, in moderation) just like her peers. With the right use of insulin, there is nothing forbidden in her diet.

2- some kids eat and not bolus because they fear hypoglycemia. I am guessing you’ve never had a hypo (I could be wrong) but they are terrible. for a kid, a hypo feels like a massive panic attack. all you need is 1 or 2 and you will do things so that you don’t feel them anymore. anyone with t1d knows it is impossible to completely avoid hypos. As a kid, however, you might just try.

hope you are both doing ok!

(Nancy) #9

As a 52 year T1D (Dennis and I are probably the oldest ones who have had D the longest :grin:) I can share, from my experience, that you can’t tell a 12 yr old about the repercussions of mismanaged control. “Future” and “forever” aren’t concepts that a human can truly comprehend until their mid-20s (google it).

My suggestion is to show her how to count carbs and compute her dose. The earlier minimeds’ had a lock function to prevent a youth from accidently bolusing. I don’t know for sure if limits could be set to prevent more than a certain amount.

Best of luck -

(Luisa) #10

My son was diagnosed May of last year and just turned 11 a few weeks ago, I can feel your pain… I am working through the same thing that you are and agree with some of the responses on here, focusing on today and how it can help her and make her feel better now is the route I am going to begin with, I can see how this may be more effective as my son would be more concerned with TODAY rather than the future (as a kid) Good luck, we are currently exploring what our options are with a pumps etc as I hope that will help him too. We got this! xoxo

(Chanel) #11

Thanks for responding I appreciate any advice before joining this group I know no other t1d parent and I’m glad to get advice from parents experiencing similar things. I love how you say to focus on the now and today. I been trying that and a little more exercise with her and the past 3 days her numbers are looking way better!

(Luisa) #12

@Kaimana04 Oh yes, exercise definitely helps and the more she does it I am sure the more you will see how it affects her and how it can be of help. We have been given the chance as parents to teach them lessons they will take with them for the rest of their lives when it comes to managing their T1D, some adults who are diagnosed in their adult years may struggle with some of the things we are trying to teach our young ones now. All we can do as mothers is know that we are doing the best that we can to prepare them for years to come :):smile:

(bsteingard) #13

First, I’m glad to hear your daughter’s blood sugars have been better over the last few days!

I’m also not a parent, but I was a kid who snuck food all the time, and I agree with Chance’s advice to find out why your daughter’s sneaking the food. It might be part of some sort of rebellious phase or she might just have her own weird logic for sneaking food. When I was around 12 or 13 I used to eat loads of oatmeal cookies during lunch at summer camp. I think I ate 14 of them on a dare, once. And that was on top of my sandwich and fruit and milk and other carb-loaded cafeteria fare. My blood sugar when I got home would be through the roof and my poor mother could never figure out why. The reason I usually ate so many was because I loved oatmeal cookies but hated raisins and my summer camp’s cafeteria was the only place I knew of that served oatmeal cookies with no raisins. They also didn’t serve them every day, so I had to eat them while they were available or not at all. At least that’s how I justified it as a kid. It all made perfect sense to me then, but looking back on it… a ziplock baggie would have been a much better option.

Joe also makes an excellent point regarding the fear of hypos. I’m in my 30’s and I still eat out of fear of hypos.