Are You Becoming a Nudnik?

When sharing your diabetes wisdom, action speaks louder than words


Do you discuss your diabetes with everyone you see? Do you constantly offer health advice to friends and family? Do they hate when you do that? You might be on your way to becoming a "nudnik," the Yiddish term for someone who is impossibly annoying.

Dorothy ignored her type 2 diabetes for years, but when her vision started to get fuzzy, she began to run to the bathroom constantly, and her energy level dropped, she decided that it was time to take her diabetes seriously. She met with her doctor and read every article that she could find on the topic. She attended diabetes classes, shared tips on online diabetes message boards, and became a loyal viewer of dLifeTV.

Learning led to doing. Dorothy checked her blood sugar several times each day and watched her carbohydrate intake. She even clipped on her new royal blue pedometer to count the steps she walked each day. She set walking goals, eating goals, and even started to lose weight. Best of all, she achieved an improved A1C, the measure of her glucose control for the previous three months. She was in heaven. But she took her enthusiasm a bit too far.

At her book club meeting, Dorothy suggested that a friend have a glucose tolerance test when she complained about being tired. At a restaurant, she grilled the waiter about the contents of every dish on the menu and then commented on everyone else's food choices. She urged one friend to change his fried fish order to broiled, reminded everyone to limit their alcohol, and urged the group to forgo their gooey desserts and opt for fruit instead. At home, she reported her daily pedometer totals and urged her family to wear one too. She talked constantly about bad carbs, good carbs, fats, and cholesterol. She was becoming a nudnik and her friends and family were not pleased.

When you first learn that you have the power to improve your diabetes, it is exciting. What other condition changes so dramatically with just a small amount of attention? If you alter your food choices by one slice of bread, your blood sugar level will respond. A brisk 10-minute walk can lower your blood glucose level for up to 48 hours. Yes, you will probably want to announce your newfound power to the entire world…but the world may not want to listen.

If you think you've crossed the line and have become a nudnik, step back a bit. Speak to your friends with actions, not words. At a restaurant, focus on your meal needs alone. If a friend complains that she is not feeling well, mention that you have a possible suggestion and leave it at that. Don't worry. Those who want help will ask for it. They will see that you are more energized and fit, and will probably want to know how you did it. A picture is worth a thousand words and your improved look and attitude will tell your story beautifully, all by themselves.

Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.


Last Modified Date: June 20, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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