Julie Cunningham

Julie Cunningham

MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES, IBCLC

I believe people with diabetes can enjoy good food and good health without feeling ashamed of their bodies.

Hello! 

Welcome to Tame Type 2 Diabetes in 30 Days!

I’m Julie Cunningham, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. I didn’t set out with a burning desire to become a nutritionist. The truth is, I chose this career because I took an aptitude test that said I’d be good at it. (I would have also made a good librarian or a lawyer, if you’re wondering.)

Secondly, I decided to major in nutrition because dietitian was on a list of careers that were predicted to explode in the decade after I got out of college. As it turns out, diabetes has exploded, but job opportunities for dietitians have been pretty steady over the last 2 decades.

Early on, I learned that the thing I liked most in nutrition was helping people manage diabetes. I love that someone whose blood sugar is 500 today can be 200 tomorrow. I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people change their long-term health, and I love that I get near-instant results with diabetes.

I’ve been working in diabetes care for over twenty years, and I’ve talked with thousands of people who feel guilty, ashamed, and confused about their diagnosis.  Most people don’t feel like they’re getting the time and attention they need from their healthcare providers.  They’re told to lose weight and take medication and they walk out of their doctor’s offices feeling lost and confused.

Over 4,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes in the United States every day.  That’s three new people being diagnosed with diabetes every minute in the US!  The number of people with diabetes is climbing all over the world, and more than 90% of those people have type 2.

If you’re ready to clear up your confusion about taking care of your diabetes, Tame Type 2 Diabetes is for you.  

Here’s the plan: every day for the next 30 days, I’ll give you one or two very specific action items. They’ll be bite-sized and manageable. If you stick with the plan, read the posts, and complete these very small action items, I guarantee that you’ll feel tremendously better about your type 2 diabetes (or prediabetes) 30 days from now. My goal is to help you enjoy good food and good health without feeling ashamed of your body.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Day 1:  Let go of the guilt and get ready to Tame Type 2 Diabetes

In 1958, less than 1% of Americans had diabetes.  Less than 1%!  

Today 9% of us have diabetes, and according to the CDC, it’s estimated that another ⅓ of us have prediabetes.  When we add the people with diabetes and the people with prediabetes together, almost half of the US population (43%) has high blood sugar.  

How did this happen?  The short answer is, we don’t exactly know how this happened. 

The long answer is:

  • we became more sedentary
  • our weight increased
  • we had much more access to food, including fast food and snack food, than we ever did before
  • our bodies are not designed to live in such a state of abundance with so little exercise

You’re not alone.

You’re in the same boat with more than 100 million other people in the US who have high blood sugar, too.  So, stop feeling like you’ve done something wrong, like you’re guilty, and like your personal eating habits created your health problems.

If I’m not guilty, whose fault is it that I have diabetes, anyway?

We have a public health crisis when it comes to diabetes.  Our cities are built for cars, not feet.  Our restaurants compete to serve “value-sized” portions, not good health.  Our grocery shelves are stocked with items designed to help manufacturers make a profit, not to keep us nourished.  Yes, your individual eating and exercise habits affect your health, but hanging on to guilt and shame just keeps you stuck, and you can only move forward from where you are right now.  

Day 1 Action Item

Write a letter to your guilt and shame and tell it goodbye!  Think of all the ways body shame and negativity have held you back from improving your health, and let that shame know that you won’t be listening to it anymore.  

When you’ve finished your letter, decide whether it’s most helpful to you to keep the letter and use it as a reminder of how far you’ve come in the future, or whether you’d like to get rid of the letter and symbolically get rid of those feelings at the same time.  Some people find it helpful to burn the letter or float it down the river and watch it disappear.

After you’ve written your letter and tucked it away, or burned it, or floated it down the river, your job is done. If you feel any little bit of guilt or shame creep up, let it float down the river, too — we don’t need it anymore. I’ll see you tomorrow, and we’ll get clear about you are with your diabetes right now, so we’ll know where you want to go.

This post is the first in a series, 30 Days to Tame Type 2 Diabetes.  If you’d like to receive the series (one email a day for 30 days) via email, please sign up using the button below.  I’d love to have you!