Monday, January 25, 2010

Diabulimia

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.

*Peace.

7 comments:

  1. I have "been there, done that" all the way, Hon. Though I'm not a 25 year veteran I was diagnosed at 14 - which was the worst possible age for me. Putting 2+2 together at diagnosis having lost over 20 pounds that just started my long road of many hospitalizations to finally being where I am now. Really, only finding out I was pregnant with my Daughter put me over the edge to try be healthy.

    Still a struggle, as you well know, to manipulate things from time to time - especially for things like weddings. But we know it's better to not, especially when you've come so far.

    No one likes to talk about Diabulimia . Not even my parents, doctors or Husband. I'm so happy you wrote about this. Thanks.

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  2. Seductive is the absolute perfect word for it. I've struggled with Diabulimia for 10 years. I've managed to reign it in over the past two years because I'm trying to conceive, and having a healthy baby is so much more important than being thin.

    But, that doesn't mean I'm happy about my weight gain. I hate it, and the lure of withholding insulin is so, so strong. I consider each day that don't withhold to be an accomplishment.

    I'm glad that more and more of us are talking about it because, for the longest time, I thought I was the only one.

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  3. I get the comfort zone. I'm not at mine. I hate it. I don't know what to do yet I do. I'm just lazy right now. Ha.

    I've never been one to be seduced by any form of diet to lose weight. It was never an issue until I turned 30. Will be 32 this year. Best get my act together because not much will change unless I Make the change.

    Btw, don't do it. I think you are beautiful and perfect just the way you are: You. :-)

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  4. I'm with Crystal. I have a comfort zone and it's about 135. I am 63 inches tall, 10 pounds overweight---at least I think I am. I only weigh myself when I go to the Doc. I go strictly by the way my clothes fit.
    When I was dx'd in 2004 I lost a lot of weight. When I was on pills I didn't gain at all but as soon as I switched to insulin I gained weight. I've never experienced diabiliuma (sp) only through all the vets, but it's something the whole world needs to know about.

    You'll get to your comfort weight. Lol I really like your Doc and love it when you talk about Jillian Michaels.

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  5. The "insulin weight" is ALWAYS tough. Two weeks after I began my insulin regime I gained 20lbs (in addition to the 15lbs I lost while untreated). I had always been tall and slender so this rapid weight gain really messed with me. Within the last year and a half I've lost the majority of the weight (weightloss is SO hard being a D). However, I still deal with body image issues. I wonder when I will start to feel comfortable in my body again.

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  6. Don't do it Kel- the short term effect is not worth the negative long term affects to your physical and mental health!

    I get the whole comfort zone thing- and my weight is about 5 lbs away from where I'd like to be. 4 yrs ago, I was 20lbs over where I wanted to be.

    Keep working out -and get strong! Muscle does weigh more than fat, and it's more slimming.
    Do you lower your basal rates when you work out? That helps prevent the lows from a crazy good workout
    Also check out Amy's post regarding type 1's taking metformin along w/ their insulin. http://www.diabetesmine.com/2010/01/metformin-for-type-1-diabetes-really-why.html
    My Doc put me on Metformin 2.5 yrs ago and I had great results!
    I had less spikes, my a1c was great, and I lost about 8lbs.
    I stopped taking it this past summer, but have still managed to keep both the a1c & the weight in check
    Kell- Hang in there- YOUR FABULOUS

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  7. ^^ 謝謝你的分享,祝你生活永遠多彩多姿!.........................

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