DEAR AMY: I am in my 60s. I have type 2 diabetes and am on oral medication.
I have always been very active and try to eat healthy. I am always battling urges for chocolate and sweets. That would not be a problem if I lived alone or with others who were watching their food intake, as I would not have the food in my home.
The problem is that my husband is constantly buying ice cream, cupcakes, chocolate cakes, candy, etc. He feels that he should not have to be deprived because I have diabetes. I do not eat most of the sweets that he brings into the house, but too frequently I break down and cannot control myself.
At that moment, I truly believe that I can take “just a little piece” and then wind up eating the whole thing … and more.
I know that I should be the one in control of what I put in my mouth but sometimes I cannot control the urge. I have spoken to him about this but it falls on deaf ears. I compare it to an alcoholic who is constantly being teased by a bottle of alcohol on the counter and being told that “you just need more willpower.” It may seem minor but I know that my future health is being greatly compromised.
Do you have any suggestions?
DEAR DIABETIC: The difference between someone who is addicted to food and someone addicted to alcohol is that human beings have to eat and because of this we are surrounded by the triggers you are so eager to avoid.
Your husband is not helping, of course. He either has no idea of how challenging this is for you or (worst-case scenario) he is actively sabotaging your efforts. This might be either deliberate or unconscious on his part, but it is surprising how often family members will actively disable a loved one’s efforts to be healthy.
One obvious solution would be for you to install a lock on a cabinet, where he can store his stash of sweets. This might help by removing these sweet triggers from your immediate grasp. You also need to continue to work on your own eating habits, however, because these temptations abound – especially during the holidays.
Visit your local library or do some online research into how to handle your food cravings. Meditation and mindfulness might be very useful for you. I do firmly believe that it is possible to break the hold sugar has on you, but it takes successful abstinence – or healthy substitutions.
DEAR AMY: So many horrible events have taken place around the world lately. As a mother I feel sad and overwhelmed and worried about my children. Can you suggest a way to explain these violent and tragic happenings to young children?
DEAR UPSET: Protect young children from graphic and violent imagery – both fictional and actual. Explain that sometimes people get hurt, that it’s not their fault and that it makes all of us sad. Also make sure to pass along this timeless wisdom from my hero Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ”
DEAR AMY: “Should I Stay or Should I Go” wondered about the parameters surrounding the decision to stay in a marriage “for the sake of the children.” You gave her decent advice, but I want to communicate from my own experience that staying together for the sake of the kids can sometimes be a selfish act. When I was a child and my parents were in a horrible marriage, it was a huge relief when they broke up. In retrospect I believe they stayed together in order to continue to fight. It had nothing to do with our happiness.
DEAR BITTER: I hear you. Each case is different, but nothing is worse for children than growing up on a daily battleground. I hope you have found positive ways to cope with this legacy.
Write Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.