Robbie McCauley in “Sugar”

When Robbie returned to her native Georgia, still in the early days of dealing with diabetes, she had not yet fully accepted her condition and the discipline it demanded. She did not have a plan for staying balanced, and when she found herself back at home, enjoying a family celebration, old habits kicked in. “I went there and lost my mind around the table. I ate everything.”

After being hospitalized to balance her blood sugar levels, Robbie realized she could no longer be in denial about the daily necessity to stay in balance, and take care of herself first.

“I’ve since done everything possible not to be in denial about the condition. I first admitted it to myself, and then to those I trust to help me.” She started by using the buddy system – having a trusted friend or family member remind you to be disciplined in challenging situations, like food-based celebrations.

“My sister has an eyebrow,” she says. “It goes up when I’m about to reach for something I shouldn’t.”

But her biggest tool is having a plan in place long before the event happens. Robbie recommends a creative approach – journaling. Keeping a journal is a tool that allows you to “live artfully,” — consciously envisioning how you want the event to happen, instead of letting circumstances take control.

Map out the event in words and pictures, and put a special focus on that one time you may allow yourself to indulge a little. That one thing must be something that means something to you, something you look forward to and can really savor, like Robbie’s favorite southern home baked dessert – a slice of sweet potato pie.

Journaling helps give perspective, “because you’re thinking ahead, and also looking back,” says Robbie. “Think about your values — what’s really important to you, like being with family and friends, planning fun activities to do together, like taking walks or playing games,” she suggests, adding, “There’s so much more in life than food.”

Read Robbie’s story, and learn the inspiration for her acclaimed play, Sugar, here.

Robbie_c copyWe congratulate Robbie McCauley on her recent fellowship award. The Foundation is excited to collaborate with Ms. McCauley on its new program that aims to help diabetics use the artistry of storytelling to reduce the negative emotional burden and stress associated with the chronic disease while increasing awareness and understanding.