Obsessive Weight Control and Diabetes


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 insulinDiabetiquette Humalog 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.

Diabetiquette High BS

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)



Filed under Confessions

8 responses to “Obsessive Weight Control and Diabetes

  1. ROF

    Wow! Powerful piece. That’s a lot of straight talk. Thanks for that. Bet it will help someone else be honest and be brave.

    Maybe your nitch will be helping people help themselves…

  2. I never knew that people could keep their blood sugars high to lose weight. Way to keep a positive outlook on a serious situation!

    • Thanks, I really appreciate it! There are a lot of scary things diabetics can do to change their bodies and minds, most of those things you learn at diabetes camp 🙂 Maybe we should team up and do a “the brain and diabetes” post…

  3. Pingback: The Everything Guide to Cooking for Children with Diabetes | diabetiquette

  4. I’ve become like the worst blogger ever. Not only do I post way less frequently than I once did, but now it apparently takes me forever to respond when other DOC’ers link back to me with posts about topics near and dear to my heart. That’s just embarrassing. My slackiness aside, thanks so much for writing about insulin omission and the complicated issues around body, body image, and diabetes. I hate that any of us have suffered with these problems, but as you suggested, it really helps to know none of us are alone with these struggles.

    • There is no need to say you’ve become the worst blogger ever! Just say, “I’m going for quality not quantity.” That’s what I try to say about the amount of times I check my blood sugar. 🙂 Thank YOU for all the work you’ve done to bring these serious issues to light. Hopefully one day, kids won’t have to deal with these issues…

  5. Pingback: Before or After? When to Bolus | diabetiquette

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s