Diabetes dilemma

I have type 2 diabetes. In some ways it would be better to have type 1. Better because no one blames you; no one says you brought this on yourself, because you’re fat. On the other hand, type 2 is better because, with proper diet and exercise, it’s reversible. Also with type 2 I don’t have to take insulin.

I’m in a bit of a dilemma because I’ve been through this before. About six years ago I was given the diagnosis of pre-diabetes. I freaked out. I have a lot anxiety and worries about my health trigger it. Every time I had to go to the bathroom I worried it was too much. Was I hungrier than usual? If my hands or feet tingled from their falling asleep, I worried about neuropathy. I was also participating in a fitness challenge, so I became competitive about diet and exercise. I majorly cut carbs and was also trying to eat vegan, though not always.

I don’t remember the details. That time is a blur, because during that time I also went off meds. I would cheer when at each weekly weigh-in I’d be two pounds thinner. Again, I feared the needle and the threat of amputation. Even then, I wondered, could I keep it up?

I went from 199 to 126 in less than a year. From size 16 to six. Some people worried that I was anorexic. I personally don’t think I was, but I did start introducing more fat and sugar back into my diet. It took about five years to gain it all back, and then some. I was 230 when diagnosed with actual diabetes at the beginning of last year, and now I’m down to 200, basically back where I started.

From what I’ve read, this is normal. Most people who lose weight can’t keep it off for more than five years. Or, according to a peer reviewed study I read they start to gain it back slowly, and by the fifth year still weigh a small percentage less than when they started.

I have also read about the fat acceptance movement. By Googling “fat positive diabetes” I found a post on fatheffalump.WordPress.com that was helpful. She talks about fear-mongering and fat shaming that are prevalent in medical discussions about diabetes. This fits into my experience with all the talk about amputation and blindness. And about blaming people for getting it.

People can get diabetes who are not overweight, and not everyone who is fat has it. On my mom’s side of the family, we tend to get overweight as we age, and I’m the only diabetic. My dad was adopted, so I don’t know what my genetic history is on that side, so I suspect that’s where it might have come from. When I try to bring this up with him, or my step-relatives I just get a broken record, and they bring up someone they know who is in Weight Watchers. Fat activists have a name for this: Fat shaming.

I’m about to start a yearlong weight management class through the hospital patient education program. No doubt, I will succeed, and will probably keep it off for at least a few years. But can I do it indefinitely? Does losing and regaining every five years count as yoyo dieting? Do I want to spend the rest of my life weighing and measuring portions, or will I eventually decide insulin isn’t that bad – the needles are much smaller than they used to be.

This is my dilemma as I move forward in the new year.”””

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2 thoughts on “Diabetes dilemma

  1. I hear you on this. I have pre-diabetes, and right now I’m like, 280 or 290 pounds. As a kid, until about 20, I had pretty much no control over my eating. I ate everything, and I ate a lot of it. Now I’m eating the healthiest that I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve been on that pre-diabetic cusp for like, 3 years. My maternal grandfather had diabetes (not sure which type,) and my mom always warned me that it skips a generation.

    Weight loss is a huge struggle for me. When I try, I don’t lose, and when I don’t try, pounds seem to melt off according to the scale, but my body stays about the same size. I dropped a pant size in the past year, but they’re getting tight again. Really, though, I’m doing my best to love my body, despite how being fat makes me dysphoric (only because it seems to highlight certain curves on my body, though it hides others.)

    But really, I love being a fat guy. I love my tummy. It’s taken a long time, but I’m glad I look the way I do. The only thing I really want physically, besides transitioning, is to be more, I guess, toned, especially in my arms. I have fat upper arms that bother me, but it seems to be a familial thing.

    I hope everything works out for you 🙂

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  2. Thanks Ohellohara. I hope you can keep it from becoming actual type 2. Have you asked your doctor about a nutritionist? I’m in some nutrition classes now. For me, they are helpful because I’ve made the decision to lose weight (again!). They can help you make some gradual changes.

    There is also a movement called Health at Every Size. I need to research it myself, but the book is available at my local library. Though I did decide to lose weight, I still want to explore fat positive resources. So I can make an informed decision and so I can talk to my doctor. It’s hard to feel good about my body when I have health problems.

    However people have told me that I seem to have more energy, and a clearer complexion, which are signs of health, though related to appearance.

    One problem I do have with the nutritionists, which I know I did just recommend to you, is that they continually say it’s not a diet. But then they tell you to get out your measuring cup and food scale, that a slice of bread should be the size of a cassette tape. It reminds me of when a certain type of Christian says, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” The words diet and religion turn people off, and for good reason, so they try to get away from them. And because I’m diabetic I feel I have no choice but to do what they say, which is why I’m looking at and posting about these other resources.

    I hear you about curves, and weight not being distributed evenly. I bet it’s especially challenging while transitioning. I feel more feminine as a fat person, but less attractive. I also think of myself as androgynous and felt that way more when I was thin. I’d feel better about my size, if I were more feminine. A lot of plus size clothing is pretty girly, and I feel more pressure to dress up and wear makeup.

    I wish you luck as well.

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