Once again off list topic but this has been bothering me lately.
When I was younger, probably about 12, I remember hearing for the first time about how women in the 60’s or 70’s used to take insulin
to control their weight. No, they didn’t have diabetes, but they took shots anyways just to stay skinny. I mean people also used to drink Isopropyl Alcohol but whatever.
I also remember the day I realized that my body didn’t look like everyone else’s. I think that’s a realization most kids come to at some point in their life. Well, ok they are either born knowing everyone looks different or it hits them like a ton of bricks one afternoon at recess during ‘shorts’ season.
Another point that sticks out in my mind was one trip to the Endocrinologist (that link is a definition) after I’d been put on an insulin pump. What I’d done was stopped checking my blood sugars and stopped bolusing for food. I set my basal rate super high so I wouldn’t have to worry about having diabetes. Who wants to remember that fact? Exactly.
Well my Endo, Roxy, called me out and asked me if I was keeping my blood sugars high to keep my weight down. Easy question, I was thin, ran consistently high sugars, and was a ballet dancer. This did not occur to me before. I’d heard of insulin keeping weight off but never that being high could keep you thin!
Ah the possibilities.
So, logical kid that I was and also horribly embarrassed by my adolescent body and accumulation of scar tissue around my midsection, my thought was, “Oh shit. If I start lowering my sugars I’m going to get fat!”
Now, more than 10 years later, I still find myself wondering if that’s the case. If I’m able to lower my A1C to the coveted 6.5 marker (which I WILL do, because I’ve decided it’s so) will I get fat?
The adult part of my brain is completely furious with the 13-year-old kid that runs what I eat. How can I say that I was ever fat? Why can’t I accept my body as is? Why does thinking about food make me feel anxious? Why do I hold myself to such an unrealistic ideal? Who EVER told me that keeping a high sugar would help me lose weight?
Well now, I don’t know. Lee Ann Thill wrote a post about this not too long ago. Lee Ann struggled with some of the same issues and I expect many other TODs have felt the same things.
There’s a paragraph in Lee Ann’s blog post where she gives some scary statistics about insulin omission. Many women around my age (15-30) believe and are terrified that they might gain weight if their blood sugars fall within a close to normal range.
Well I’ll be damned. It’s nice to know there’s more out there.
Lee Ann later talks about hating her body because it failed her. (check) She considered herself diseased and broken and not worth the space she consumed. (double-check, I’ve said this out loud). She says she “almost never thought about diabetes” (check again). She also never took her insulin (the check goes without saying).
It is sort of humbling to have your past thrown in your face like that (without it actually being your own past) and it made me realize something.
Hey, I’m normal.
Lee Ann is doing some fantastic work advocating for Diabetic Mental Health. She says she’s found peace with her body. I can only say that I aspire to be Lee Ann someday. I want health, I want peace, and I want to be there for any other girl or boy that’s been putting themselves through hell trying to convince themselves that they AREN’T normal.
Please check out Lee Ann’s work and PLEASE, if you’re struggling like I am, check out the Diabetic Mental Health link above. (Or you know, contact a doctor)