Among the many, many irritating things about having diabetes are the four-times-a-year check ups. It’s not so much the appointment itself that bothers me; it’s the way it makes me recognize, in a way I usually try to ignore, that I’ve got a disease. That’s not to say that I’m a bad diabetic (reluctant, yes; inattentive, no). On the contrary, I can be a little obsessive. That’s partly why in anticipation of next week’s checkup, I’ve been taking part in a different diabetes ritual that i hate: the food log.

Diabetics out there, you know what I’m talking about. The little booklet the nurse/doctor/nutritionist always forces on you when you leave the office. Who cares if your A1c is happily hovering at 6.0? You still might want to take a week or so to “jot down” records of what you eat, what you took, and how it affected your blood sugar. Don’t get me wrong: I love keeping a journal. I have continuously documented my life since I was about 8 years old. But a personal journal is different than a food journal. Personal journals don’t involve guilt. Food journals, on the other hand, make you feel like you’ve done something horribly wrong every time you say, eat an apple without weighing it* or buy soup from a takeout place that does not post nutritional labels or forget to calculate your carb-to-insulin ratio or eat a really virtuous lunch but then break down and finish it up with a few spoonfuls of ice cream. It makes you feel like you’re dieting, except you’re not trying to lose weight; you’re just trying to live.

(*I have never weighed an apple.)

Anyway. I’ve been keeping one for the past week and a half, and here are some of the things I feel bad about:

-Last night, I made homemade chicken noodle soup with noodles and then ate some. I didn’t measure the noodles.

-I also had a glass of sangria.

-The other weekend, I made pumpkin bread. With chocolate chips. And then ate it for breakfast.

Adding to my overblown feelings of guilt and inadequacy is a conflict I’ve felt since the moment I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 22: foods that are good for your diabetes aren’t good for your waistline. Like cheese, for example. I fucking love cheese. And it doesn’t do anything to my blood sugar. My response? Bring on the gouda. But when I’ve got a food journal, that gleeful feeling that I get when eating, say, almonds (so many nuts! so few carbohydrates!) evaporates. Suddenly I’m judging myself not just on the diabetic implications of my chevre, but on what a nutritionist would tell me if I were trying to lose weight. And, as many of you well know, it’s difficult to win with both.

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