I have been a Diabetic for 25 years. 25 long ass years. 25 years of injecting biosynthetic human insulin in order to survive. Admittedly, I was not Diabetic role model material for most of those 25 years. My A1C’s would fluctuate anywhere from 7-10. My blood sugars were never steady. I have had more near death experiences than any person should ever have. But…I was thin. I was 5’8”, 130 pounds for most of my life.
Until I became a pumper.
I have gained 30 pounds since being a pumper. I complain to Doc B at every visit about my being a fatty and I’ve written his response several times….’A chubby Diabetic is a healthy Diabetic.’ Yes, well, this is true. My A1C is better than ever and I feel great. But I’m still 30 pounds out of my comfort zone.
I am pretty sure I am not overweight. But, this is about what feels good to me and what I feel comfortable weighing. Some people say I don’t look overweight. Those people do not see me naked. Some people say I should diet. I have been dieting for over 1/2 of my life. Seriously. I don’t sit down with a bag of chips, a box of cookies, a quart of ice cream and eat until it’s gone. I have always eaten small healthy portions to coincide with my disease. While the pump has given me access to eat foods I never would have before, I do not over indulge.
Over the past few years I joined a gym, hired a trainer, bought a bike, started running, and worked out daily with zero weight loss. The only thing I lost was money and time. Oh, and I injured my knee. Yay. As a matter of fact, since starting Jillian’s 30 Day Shred 2 weeks ago, I have gained weight. No, do NOT tell me muscle weighs more than fat. I know this is true but it still doesn’t help me to feel better about myself. Rawr.
So, I have a wedding in April, summer is coming, I want to look good and I want to feel good. These things have caused me to consider sabotaging my Diabetes. While doing research on restricting insulin intake, I ran across a disorder called Diabulimia.
Diabulimia is a term that is rarely heard outside of the Diabetic community. It’s rarely a term that is heard inside the Diabetic community. It’s taboo….and rightly so. Diabulimia is a disorder similar to bulimia & anorexia. It involves Type 1 Diabetics taking less insulin than they need or cutting it out completely. Insulin causes weight gain in many. Not having insulin puts the body into a state where it breaks down muscle & fat. The body is unable to process the sugar that is consumed resulting in it being secreted from the body instead of stored. Thus, extreme weight loss occurs. This is why at 16, I was 5’8” and weighed 90 pounds.
While weight loss is a good thing, lack of insulin in a Diabetic can create issues that are risky and dangerous. I remember how I felt at 16; the year before I found out I had Diabetes and it was not good. In fact, it was so horrible that I still remember and always will. For example, short term symptoms would be constant urination and thirst, extreme hunger, weakness, exhaustion, memory loss, mood swings, dangerous high blood sugar levels. Oh, and death. Long term symptoms would be severe kidney damage, blindness, neuropathy, possible amputation, heart problems. Oh, and death.
Diabulimia most commonly affects adolescents and young women. This behavior is reported by 2% of pre-teen girls, 11-15% of girls in the mid-teen years, and 30-39% of those in the late teenage and early adult years. For more information, check out Diabetes Spectrum. Parents of young girls with Type 1 Diabetes should put a lot of focus on self image. I wish I had been taught that appearances do not matter. Beauty fades yet personality, heart and character linger forever. Why we aren't we taught to love ourselves exactly as we are, I'll never know.
Even so, I have to admit, that this quick and easy weight loss is seductive. The disorder is not seductive because I think that goes to a dangerous level that requires therapy. The seductive part is the idea of manipulating my insulin for a short period of time in order to drop 20 pounds.
Do I dare?
Probably not because it’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I am proud of myself. Proud of the way I am treating and handling my disease. I want to live to see my daughter graduate college, get married, and have children. I also want to have all of my appendages when I do so. But still….the thought…and temptation remains.