As a long term person with type 1 diabetes, I have also battled a life long war with weight….I am one of those lucky people who got not only the gene that led to type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune problems, but the “fat” gene – lucky old me. I am wondering how many more of me there are out there? I imagine there are many of you.
This has meant that at various times of my life I have been slightly pudgy ( a good term for a 10 year old girl with “puppy fat”), quite overweight ( a good term for an adolescent with type 1 diabetes, really does heaps for the way you feel about yourself and the fitting in with everyone that can be so hard for young people with diabetes), fat (an often said term by young men when out and about as a young woman who is overweight and does wonders for your self esteem- not), overweight (the doctor when you hop on the scales – why do ALL doctors, even those to whom weight is irrelevant in their job ask you to get on the damn scales?), obese (now this one hits home hard when you have had your first baby and in response to post natal depression and a total lack of ability to control type 1 diabetes post baby and breastfeeding for the first time, you eat yourself silly) and finally “curvy” (by a loving husband that wants something to hang onto!).
I am very proud of having had 3 beautiful children despite type 1 diabetes, to still have my own legs, eyes and kidneys, and to be travelling well despite a number of health issues. And I am trying to embrace my body. I am still carrying weight from my now 2 year old son, but I am trying hard to love my body and thus myself. I am also a lover of chocolate and having given up many foods during my lifelong battle, I have now given this up – maybe it is temporary, maybe this week I will break and have some, who knows?
Here is the dialogue – “If I can just l lose 5 kilos….10 kilos…..life will be so much better, I will feel so good” – sound familiar??
But will it? And how much will I go through to get there? Is this yet another trick that keeps us ever yearning for more? Like the need for shiny shiny cars, houses and designer babies, is the battle of the fat just another part of this mythological perfect life?
Wouldn’t it be nice if life were simply about nothing but life? You know what I mean? Like getting up and getting food for the day, hunting and gathering and storing this, spending time with your people, looking after the fire and keeping things safe – maybe life like this is what we humans are really all about.
As a person with type 1 diabetes, losing weight means constant vigilance on the carbohydrates, to reduce insulin and thus lose weight; constant vigilance on the insulin to deal with hypos not wanted but commonly coming as carbs and weight drop off; constant vigilance to deal with exercise made pointless in the weight loss battle by those nasty hypos….and many many choices. Weight, fat and body become all consuming in an attempt to stop consuming.
At the moment, each time I eat I am trying to see it as a choice. I can choose to have processed foods, chocolate and the things that tend to become habitual for me and which tell me that they “make me feel good” – what a lie that is, such a temporary high! OR I can choose to have some fresh fruit, light crackers, a handful of nuts, sugar free jelly and low fat yoghurt, a large salad and some fish – and really genuinely feel good about that..
The problems come when this has to be maintained in the long run to keep the weight at bay and as I get older this gets harder.
So here I sit cup of tea in hand, bowl of strawberries and cherries beside me, hoping that chocolate will not rear its head this week and that I can stay off the scales for a day – seems the battle will continue….let’s see if I can be happy with wherever I am today, here and now, alive and lucky, slightly pudgy, somewhat fat, a little bit overweight, not necessarily obese, cuddly and curvy, a wonderful survivor and definitely, most definitely, happy.