The One In Which I Come Out as a Diabetic

Published June 1, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

Well, last week I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Cue the trolls:

  • But you brought this on yourself!
  • Serves you right, you should have just put down the cheeseburger!
  • I told you it would happen eventually.
  • Don’t you care about your health?
  • If you’d just lost weight, you wouldn’t have got diabetes.
  • Well, you’ll just have to lose weight now, won’t you?
  • You’re driving our taxes/health-care costs up!!
  • You’ll probably die now, thanks to your obesity.
  • You’re a walking heart-attack/stroke, it’s just a matter of time.
  • Turns out being fat DOES mean you’ll get diabetes after all huh?  Told you so.  Maybe you’ll see sense and give up this fat acceptance rot now.
  • Get off the sofa fatty, no wonder you got diabetes, all you do is just sit.

I could go on, but we’ve heard them all before.  I just wanted to sprinkle a few out there to save the trolls some breath.

Thing is, I’m not at all unwell, nor was I when it was discovered during a routine annual blood work up (the kind every one of you should get annually, whether you’re fat, thin or in between).  I have no symptoms, and every other blood test came back embarrasingly healthy.

I’ll talk more about my thoughts, feelings and the stuff around my diagnosis later (especially about my anger in taking Metformin to prevent diabetes for YEARS but developing diabetes anyway), but I just wanted to announce to the world that I am now officially… wait for it…




Guess what?  That doesn’t mean I’m lazy, that I eat too much, that I should have lost weight and I wouldn’t have got diabetes (tell that to my 81 year old Grandma and various other relatives on both sides of my family who sent that gene my way – who are a liberal mix of fat, thin and in between) or that I’m going to die.  What it does mean is that my doctor and I are working together to optimise my health and mitigate any future issues.  We are not approaching with dieting, and we are looking for a Health at Every Size (HAES) plan.

I do have to eat more.  Yes, this fatty has been instructed to eat more because I am not eating enough.  I need to add more Low GI foods to my daily intake.  The worst thing?  I cannot find Low GI information that isn’t loaded with fat shaming and weight loss crap.  It’s of no use to me if it’s shaming me for my body, only if it’s informing me on the best foods to add to my daily intake.  It’s frustrating and confusing because there is so much conflicting information and I see so much fat loathing and scare-mongering that I just opt out of viewing it all together.

There is a Facebook community for Diet Free Talk for Diabetes/Insulin Issues in infancy (email me if you want to be included – it is a closed, private group to keep the fat hating trolls out and preserve a safe space for us to talk) and I hope to come up with some more resources I can share with you all in time.

But most of all, today’s message is this:

A person’s health, and their body, is their own, and nobody has the right to judge, bully, troll, lecture, vilify, disrespect or discriminate against anyone for their health or their body shape or size.  Even if their weight DID contribute to an illness, it’s nobody’s business but THEIRS.

So unless you have something constructive and supportive to add to the topic of diabetes and fatness, you are not welcome here.

99 comments on “The One In Which I Come Out as a Diabetic

    • Thanks Amber. I found the Diabetes Australia website horrible – it’s full of “OMG YOU’RE GONNA GET GANGRENE AND YOU’D BETTER GO TO 5 DIFFERENT SPECIALISTS AND DIABETES KILLS!!” kind of thinking. I really don’t see the benefit to that kind of doom and gloom extremism for anyone. isn’t too bad but the database is very confusing, and the weight loss stuff sneaks in too.

  • Also, I’m sorry you wound up copping diabetes, it’s not an easy thing to deal with, my dad was diagnosed when I was about 15. He was rake-thin, so nobody could blame it on his weight, but no doubt you’ll get a lot of it. The whole fat = diabetes appears to be based on the assumption that fat people eat high-GI foods, thus putting too much pressure on their pancreas, yadda yadda, you know the drill.
    Good luck getting it under control, a good diabetes educator is an amazing resource and ironically enough, the amount of years you’ve spent dealing with assorted diets/weightloss crap probably gives you far more knowledge than the average person has.

    • Just on the rake thin thing, I was talking to a friend of a friend a few months ago who mentioned he had T2 diabetes, and he’s one of those wiry, muscular small men who lead mega-active lives. I asked him if anyone had commented on his health or his body shape/size in relation to his diabetes, and he told me that people were very sympathetic to him, but his overweight (his word) mother got a whole different response from the very same people when she was diagnosed with T2 diabetes. Apparently she deserved what she got, but he didn’t, according to many people.

  • I’d enjoy the opportunity to be part of your Diet-Free Community 🙂 My partner is a Type 1 diabetic, and so was my father, so I’ve spent my whole life involved with diabetes management in one way or another. I am always interested in learning and sharing ideas, and I hope I’d have something useful to contribute.

    And I totally agree with what you say. When I was diagnosed with PCOS, I had a (female) GYN stand over me with hands on hips and literally say, “Look what you’ve done to yourself. Don’t you wish you’d dealt with your weight sooner?”. Nevermind that I’d had the PCOS symptoms since I was an average sized 11 year old. Blaming and shaming are just not OK. Never.

    • You too? I had that last year, and too sorta misquote Kath, I am embarrasingly healthy. Seems some health profs can’t come to terms with fatties being ok and not riddled with disease.
      I don’t know if I should say sorry Kath, cos I know you’ll be ok.

      • Thanks Annie. Many folks seem to view it as this horrible thing to happen to me and that my life is never going to be as good. But I feel like the same me as I was a bit over a week ago, and I’m not sick in any way, so I refuse to buy into the fear-mongering and stop living my life to the fullest.

    • Carly I will email you tomorrow with details, I will just find out from Spilt Milk how to make it happen.

      I have PCOS as well, was thin until 11 or 12, started presenting with other symptoms at 12, but wasn’t diagnosed until 32. Uh-huh, 20 years! I DID lose a whole lot of weight in an effort to “cure” PCOS, and guess what? It got worse, and then the weight just kept coming back no matter what I did. But until my current doc, all I got was shaming from medical practitioners who were supposed to be helping me.

  • Oh mate, don’t cue the trolls, cue the love. Diabetes sucks but if anyone can manage it you can. Good luck negotiating the minefield which is modern nutritional advice. I’m so sorry this has happened to you. *hug*

    • Thank you Sassy, I must say I’ve never had a post have as many comments, or as supportive comments, as quickly as this one has. I’m rather touched at everyone’s support and encouragement.

  • Just like your health is nobodies business, it also is not their business how you choose to approach changes in that health.

    Good luck with navigating the path that is right for you.

  • People of all sizes get diabetes – I work in a Diabetes Australia registered pharmacy, so we see everyone local with diabetes and seriously, the linking factor is being related to someone else with diabetes! I was really angry when I read an article in our local paper talking about people with Type I diabetes and how people should be sympathetic to them because they didn’t “bring it on themselves”. Yeah, there’s a healthy distinction!

    • I saw a version of that approach in an article a while back lilacsigil. It was all shaming T2 diabetics for their “unhealthy lifestyles” while all sympathy over the T1 for their “genetic bad luck”. Ugh.

  • Good luck with all of this.

    I was also given a T2 diagnosis a few years back. At this point, I have successfully and officially reversed my diagnosis through exercise and nutrition alone (I no longer use any pharmaceuticals).

    I was fat at the time of diagnosis, and I will say this in all caps because it’s important, I AM STILL FAT.

    So I am here to tell you that it is very possible to sort out a highly viable strategy for managing your metabolic care that respects your boundaries and your body.

    I strongly suggest putting on your peril-sensitive sunglasses, reading as much of the diabetes management literature as you possibly can stomach, and looking at what actual practices were being recommended and why. Then essentially use yourself as a lab rat to see what works for your specific individual body.

    Be prepared for surprises. I discovered through reading and talking to friends that there is no universal diabetes management scheme and that different bodies may respond very differently to the same things. Not all high-GI foods will affect your blood sugar in the same way, nor will all low-GI ones — it bears some fairly careful observation to figure out what you do well with. Similarly, I’ve noticed that my body responds very differently to some forms of movement/exercise than it does to others. There’s no point in mentioning specifics or telling you what to eat or not eat, how to exercise or not, because, as I say, different bodies are different.

    Knowledge is power. Your body has its own very specific patterns. The more and better you know them the better you can do the job of giving your body what it needs to function as well as it possibly can. And that has nothing whatsoever to do with your weight, your size, or anybody’s bullshit assumptions about them.

    To your health!

    • Thanks Hanne – I get what you mean about the need for peril-sensitive sunglasses – I can’t believe the amount of fear-mongering that is in most diabetes resources. On and on about how my feet are probably going to drop off and my arteries turn to marble straws and my teeth will all fall out. Every resource seems to suggest a slew of specialists to poke and prod every bit of me (and probably to all fat-shame me) but it’s so hard to find real, practical, everyday living advice. Particularly ridiculous because I am in no way sick or in pain, my blood is just too sweet.

      I am lucky that my GP is supportive and practical and hasn’t tried to apply that methodology to me at all. I intend to arm myself with a pile of questions for my next visit, knowing I can trust her for no-nonsense information.

  • I don’t know of any in particular, but I wonder if gestational diabetes resources might manage to avoid weight loss and fat shaming? Or am I assuming too much?

    I’m sure you’ll manage it well – and from my sister’s experience it seems that each body responds differently to different foods (surprise surprise!!), and so trial and error is a great teacher.

    • Most of the women I know who have had GD were fat shamed as well, even those who weren’t fat. The big nasty DIABEEETUS tends to attract that kind of “treatment”. But I’ll keep an eye out in case there is a useful resource.

  • Well Kath……..ME TOO! I would love to be included in the facebook group. I am on metformin and januvia – it’s working great to keep my numbers normal. The dietary change that I made were to eliminate most white flour and sugar from my diet. NOT so that I could lose weight, but so that I could keep my numbers under control with the oral meds. It was worked wonderfully and I am feeling great. I know that you will manage this just fine and trolls be damned. Just like you, there are people in my family that have diabetes and aren’t heavy. I had gestational diabetes as well. The thing with that was I failed the three hour glucose test, was labeled with gestational diabetes and then I ate what the diabetes association recommended and tested my sugar all throughout the pregnancy. In the entire eight months, I never had a high blood sugar. So, that was weird to me. I have known about the insulin resistance for over 25 years, however, no doctor ever gave me any constructive advice on how to deal with it….except for, of course, lose weight. That didn’t work out so well for me – at least on a long term basis. They NEVER the PCOS

    • La, I will email you too when I know how to invite you to the FB group.

      I am on Metformin (again – doc told me I could go off it about a year ago cos my numbers were good) but now it looks like I will probably have to suffer through it for life. I fucking hate the stuff, it makes me sick, even the supposed gentler formulations. I think Metformin needs a whole post of it’s own at some point!

      • Metformin can be a tad brutal. It can give me some gastrointestinal issues upon occasion, but I’m one of the people that can tolerate it. One of my relatives tried it and it was causing some seriously embarassing problems. There has got to be a better way.

  • Finding it a little bit amusing that the google ad at the bottom of this article is currently “Lose your belly without losing the things you love”

    Actually, very amusing.

    • Katelyn – on my article or the Swapit page?

      If it’s on my article, that’s because Google auto-populates advertising on WordPress by keyword. You can get around that by joining WordPress (it’s a free account) and signing in, then the ads disappear.

  • I wasn’t done….they never addressed the PCOS even though it was blatently obvious that I had it (now that I know the symptoms).

    All this to say, I am with you – I will not be shamed into blaming my weight on this diagnosis. I have (and have had for most of my life) several endocronological conditions that have contributed to this problem and I cannot change the genes and processes of my physical body. All I can do is take care of my body the way it is and under the conditions that genetics dealt me. I’m not going down in flames. I will eat as HAES dictates, take steps to get some exercise and monitor myself as any diabetic should. If they want to blame it on my fatness, then so bet it.

    Keep on keepin’ on girl – you will find your way to handle this illness and will be living a full, healthy life! Best of luck to you!

    • Ahh and you’re a fellow Cyster. I’ve been saying all along that PCOS, diabetes, weight and a bunch of other things are FAR more interconnected than most doctors will admit.

      • They certainly are – I just don’t understand why doctors aren’t dealing with it. Most of them just do the fat shaming thing – like we can actually drop this weight and keep it off with our condition(s). It’s just not going to happen – so, let’s move past that and address the REAL issues. What is so hard?

  • I’m normally a lurker, but I am also a HAES medical student, and I can’t recommend Jenny Ruhl’s site ( more. She details the strategy for making a personal plan to manage your diabetes (the short version: get a meter and test, test, test). You’ll notice the article on the top of the site:

    You Did Not Eat Your Way Into Diabetes!!!!!

    That’s as non shaming as I can think of.

    Best to you, it’s a lot to figure out, but I know a lot of people that have done really well.

      • Best to you, managing this illness in a reasonable way is a trick, but a learnable trick. I’ve seen people do it against incredible odds (as someone with a different chronic illness, these folks help me take care of myself)–we can be amazing at taking care of ourselves.

  • I work with the geriatric population and I see no more incidence of diabetes of any kind in heavy people than I do in slender or mid-weight people. Type II diabetes becomes somewhat more likely with age in people who have the genetic component for it.
    Yep, the trolls would say the same of me, who had hypertension onset at the age of 46 in a family that tends towards having vascular problems and hypertension. The thin = healthy bandwagon would see only that a fat woman got hypertension, not that my father died from complications in part brought on by untreated hypertension (he didn’t realize he had it until he had a stroke) and that every other member of the family no matter their size eventually presents with it.
    Fuck the trolls. I’m sorry you have to deal with diabetes but I know that you are a responsible person and will manage it!

  • I’m sorry you feel you have to deal with the usual hatred at a time when you need time to think and regroup to meet your challenge.

    Having read your moving posts on your experience with weight loss diets, I can think of few people who’ve expended more effort, more time and dedication to losing weight, in the way we’ve been assured was sure fire if we put the effort in.

    Indeed, I want to be careful in saying this, but when you mention Metformin, it’s interesting because what we’ve been recommended, (repeated) WLD has itself been implicated in bringing on a diabetic state. Either way, from what I can tell, some people will develop it, regardless and there isn’t really enough evidence on what can be done to delay or prevent or even what effect the lead up to developing it has on one’s metabolism and weight enough to judge anyone.

    I think Hanne Blank is right about different things working for different people.

    No matter what anyone says, you cannot be reproached by anyone who can see this in a rational manner. And it is time those who cannot see this in a rational manner were discounted as they discount others.

    • wriggles – I truly believe dieting and attempting to be thin is probably what has fucked up my metabolism and brought on the diabetes earlier in me than my thinner relatives who HAVEN’T dieted but have got T2 diabetes as well. Many, many years of an eating disorder can’t have been good for my body.

  • Oh bugger that is a pain in the arse for you. I am one step away from getting diabetes apparently. If anyone should have it I should. I am a death fatty and have been for years. A doctor told me I don’t deserve to be as healthy as I was. Ha! Still here sister.

    Take care dear lady 🙂

  • The revolting amount of shame-tripping about weight connected to the topic of t2d is why I have derisively referred to it as “the diabeeetus.” It’s like some horrible punishment you’re supposed to get for “refusing” to be thin, rather than what it actually is, which is (in non-geriatric populations) an illness with one of the strongest genetic links of all illnesses — stronger, in fact, than almost all forms of cancer! (In geriatric populations, it happens because one of your major organs has to start crapping out on you first, and since people aren’t dying in their 50s of heart attacks and strokes very often anymore, the pancreas is often the first thing to go.)

    And that’s without figuring in the dramatically broadened diagnostic criteria that has happened in the last 15 or 20 years. Nobody should be blamed for getting T2d any more than they’d be blamed for colon cancer, but so much of this is framed as, “Hah, you thought you could get away with actually EATING, you greedy slob!”, people really do not want to know the truth. Nobody wants to hear that they’ve been starving themselves all this time for nothing.

  • I’m sorry lady! My father had T1, and I’m pretty sure they’ve bumped him to T2 now that he’s getting on in years. But I’m with everyone else. Not your fault, trolls can go stick their noses elsewhere, and you’ll do fine. If you need some good recipes I can hit my mom up for some. She’s been cooking for a diabetic for years. She’s figured out which recipes you can use a sugar substitute for instead of actual sugar, and which you can’t. Some recipes turn out really horrible with sugar substitute. Let me know!

    • Thanks for the offer hon. I’m actually trying to avoid using sugar substitutes. I would rather avoid sugar altogether (though I don’t believe that is necessary either) than use artificial or processed substitutes. Mostly I don’t want to get too far into “special” food and stick to making everyday food work for me. Getting to “special” leads too much into diet/eating disorder territory for me.

  • Do you have family history of T2 diabetes? I do and am quite nervous about even giving blood at the doctor now. From what I’ve read there seems to be a strong genetic predisposition to T2.

    • I didn’t think I did Lesley, but it turns out I do. I knew Grandma had it (but only developed it in her 70’s) but I apparently have other cousins and uncles, and on my father’s side the women all have it.

  • My significant other has diabetes, his BMI around 40. He finds that staying away from any food that has been processed is a good idea. No flour, white rice, no pressed potatoes, things like potato starch, corn starch, HFCS, etc. He takes glyburide, not metformin. Metformin is standard treatment. Do your own research when it comes to drugs and diet. He does no artificial sweeteners. He eats very little sugar. I would recommend eating food as whole as possible. Even people I meet at the pharmacy say that eating food without additives makes a difference. I think eating food whole is more important the GI index, but both should be used together. Email me if you have questions.

    • I don’t believe it is practicible for me to move to some kind of unprocessed, organic diet. I don’t have the time, the skills or the income to afford it. It comes as a surprise to most people who promote that kind of lifestyle that most people actually don’t have the resources to do so. Not to mention that where I can, I already do so and have done for some time.

      To be honest, that’s part of what I’m railing against – this assumption that people with T2 diabetes must be eating nothing but processed food because they’re lazy and don’t know any better.

      I’m actually not looking for people’s advice, I’m looking for fat-shame free information resources to make my own choices. I’m looking for resources that accept that the average urban person does not always have access to raw foods, and if they did, usually don’t have the time or the skills to prepare them.

      I’m looking for real, practical, everyday information for people with real, practical, everyday lives.

      • Kath, diabetes is a very “personal” diagnosis – meaning that it’s different for every person. What I did….I ate certain things and 2 hours later, tested my blood sugar. I ended up testing most things that I eat on a normal basis and, therefore, knew what did and did not trigger my blood sugar to rise. Of course, things with white flour and sugar were an issue for me, so I had to curtail those activities. Every once in awhile, I will retest a favorite food – like real WHITE pasta! I did it the other day and my blood sugar was fine – so the results fluctuates, which can be confusing! What really did well for me was when the doctor added januvia to my metformin. So far, so good – no major side effects. But from what I read, there can be and you have to be very careful – pancreatitis doesn’t sound enjoyable at all! I like to go to to do drug checks and I read all of the reviews by real people who have used the drug. I do that so that I can know what to look for in terms of side effects – if they are going to occur. You will be in the groove in no time at all. Sounds like you have an awesome doctor as well and that helps a lot!

  • Well crap. Not fun.

    Mr. Twistie has been living with his T2 diagnosis for about eighteen years now, and despite the fact that his sugar is often four or five times what it should be (yes, you read that correctly) he still has all his toes and fingers and hasn’t keeled over and died yet.

    And I have to say, that once he stopped insisting on eating greasy five-egg omelettes and started expanding his range of vegetable intake, it has helped reduce his sugar. BUT that’s largely because a) he didn’t eat vegetables other than onions and peppers and b) he ate those massive, greasy omelettes four or five times a week back in the day, and c) he would often go most of the day without eating ANYTHING. And despite the changes he’s made in his eating habits, has he lost weight? No. He’s just managing his diabetes a little better and finding he’s enjoying his food more.

    But you know what? Despite being the poster child for How Not to Live With Diabetes all those years, he’s still here and still in possession of all his extremities. You never can tell, so it’s best to just live your life with all the joy and gusto you can muster.

    You, my dear, will have no difficulty doing precisely that.

    And if you ever need to kvetch about the conflicting information, body shaming, etc. to someone who has been through the wars and lived to tell the tale, you know where to find me.

    • Thanks Twistie.

      I keep getting those doom and gloom messages about circulation to my extremities… yet I have the hottest hands and feet around (well, barring my also diabetic Grandma, who has hands and feet so hot she could warm we kids when we were little by holding us alone) to show that there is NOTHING wrong with my circulatory system. It’s winter in Brisbane and everyone is pissing and moaning about how cold their hands and feet are, and showing me blue, chapped fingers and toes, yet I’m sitting here with healthy pink hands and toes that have such good sense of feeling I can pick small objects up off the floor with them.

      And the same goes for all the other doom and gloom warnings. I have to watch my cholesterol… it’s textbook perfect. I have to watch my blood pressure – it’s bang on normal. And so on.

      What I do have to watch is how I’m feeling, that I’m eating enough spread across the day and that I’m not bogged down by fear mongering and fat shame.

      Thank you so much for sharing your beloved’s story and your support!

  • I’m so glad you wrote about this; it is so important to talk about.

    What is often missed in discussions of diabetes (Type 2, specifically) is how tied it is to stigma and fat shame. It’s the elephant in the room that we never talked about at the diabetes clinic where I used to work.

    The truth is, science doesn’t have all the answers about why some people get it and others don’t. Hereditary definitely has a part to play in it, and I personally suspect there may be an autoimmune component as well (like Type 1), just affecting the pancreas in a slightly different way.

    But that’s neither here nor there – the point is, it is possible to live with this and be healthy and happy, whether you are fat or not. And you absolutely did not “bring this on yourself.” That’s the most ridiculously cruel thing anyone could ever come up with to say about any disease.

    Even if someone has a disease directly as a result of lifestyle choices (and Type 2 really isn’t that cut-and-dried), it does no good to shame them. It’s ridiculously uncompassionate and ethically wrong from any perspective.

    You’d also be surprised that most of the things I learned about how to help people manage their diabetes have nothing to do with food restriction AT ALL, but rather with timing and combining of food, as well as medication and exercise. Diabetes can be managed without weight loss and without food restriction, but not enough people are told this.

    Best wishes to you for good health. You are awesome.

    • Thanks Michelle. It’s so hard to find information on diabetes that isn’t full of fat shaming and proselytising the restriction of food. I know that restriction does nothing but damage me (and I do believe it’s the reason I’m as fat as I am today and that it contributed to the diabetes as well) and that as it is, I already eat better than 80% of the Australian population and am considerably more active than many of them as well. Why would I jeopardise that in the name of attempting to be thin?

      I wish I could find some resources to talk to me about this timing and combining of food – that would be far more use to me than 99% of what is currently available!

      • From what I’ve read (and I’ve read a lot) – as long as you eat things in balance….meals or snacks that include carbs, protein and healthy fat, you should be good to go. BUT, it’s kind of scary because then you get right back into that food rut where you’re counting things – which can bring dieting and disordered thinking into play very quickly. It’s a fine line to walk.

        I’ve read some articles where it’s better NOT to eat the low fat stuff because the fat contained in a food will slow down the absorption of the sugar into the bloodstream and your numbers won’t rise as much. But, like I said earlier, it’s such a different thing for each person. I would really just be testing my blood sugar a lot and see how certain food affect your own personal system.

  • Best wishes to you. I hope you find a treatment plan that is non-shaming and non-triggering.

    Nthing the “people of every size get diabetes.” My dad and his three siblings have diabetes. They’re not all the same size and shape, nor did they all respond in the same way to the same treatments.

    I am thin-privileged and am grateful that my dad reminds me, annually, to go get my eyes screened for glaucoma (and by the way isn’t it time I tried a fasting glucose test?). Even after disclosing my family history to doctors, I’ve had doctors tell me not to worry, because I don’t look like a person they expect to be diabetic. *headdesk*

    • Mate I wouldn’t wish a GTT on anyone – in fact, I prefer being stuck with the needles to having to drink that vile sugary crud. I gag and retch and cough… vile!

  • I am so glad you shared this. I am so glad that you did it on your own terms, too. I know that no matter what happens you’ll still be Kath, fierce and strong, lovely and proud! Nothing can change that! Love ya, babe! ❤

  • ahh please let me join! after being diagnosed type 2 last september i have felt equally bullied and patronised by my doctor. I have all the usual horror stories of fat shaming but since i was diagnosed it has increased tenfold. On a number of occasions I have walked out in tears after my GP has totally ignored the reason for my visit and focused on my weight my last appointment was to discuss pcos and i was told that unless i was trying for a baby there was no point treating it and anyway one thing at a time eh? Yes she actually said that apparently the British national health service will only let you have one health problem at a time now… Aside from my sugary sweet blood and slightly wonky working lady parts I always seem to be peered at in disbelief that all the other tests are perfectly normal (even when my arm is practically severed by th teeny weeny BP cuff)because well your just so fat so how can that be possible??? Sorry I’m babbling on now

    • Babble away kelly. I’m sorry that you’re not getting adequate and sympathetic care from your GP.

      Seems we have a lot in common with your T2 diabetes and our PCOS huh?

      I will let you know when I work out how to make the facebook page happen.

  • I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis. But fuck anyone who’ll try to shame you and you did NOT bring this upon yourself– that is a very dangerous mindset for anyone who finds out they have a disease/condition.

    “Seems some health profs can’t come to terms with fatties being ok and not riddled with disease.” I agree with this so much, it was why I stopped seeing my GP after he seemed utterly astounded I had excellent blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Despite some of the things said to me by random trolls (who apparently think my weight and appearance is so important…?) I think I was cheered on into disordered thinking and pushing myself into starvation by these fucking doctors more than anyone else.

    Fortunately it looks like you have a good doctor to work with– I wish I could say the same for me and most of my family and peers.

    • Thanks Rachel. So many people are silenced by both trolls and the people in their lives who are supposed to care about and for them. I refuse to be one of those people and I hope my speaking up will help others feel strong and positive.

  • My best wishes to you. I am sure that you will manage your disease well & continue to live a good, full life for many years to come.

  • These trolls should talk to one of my friends. She’s a size 4 and, you guessed it, a Type 2 diabetic. They should talk to my father, who is of average weight. He has high blood pressure AND cholesterol. I’m not fat, but I’m much heavier than them both…and I have none of those conditions.

    And do you know what else? They are all fairly healthy, hard-working, accomplished, and their conditions don’t stand in their way whatsoever.

    Down with healthism!

  • I have a list of low glycemic index foods that I downloaded a couple of years ago from a website that no longer exists (DH has type 2 diabetes and has had for 17 years). Also, there’s a group called fadiab that’s fat-accepting for all diabetics, I belong to it, this is the url – They have some awesome members who give great advice and will listen when you just want to rant.
    If you want the GI food list, let me know and I can email it to you (I’ll hunt it up tonite).

  • Kath, so many superhugs and then more on top of those. I’ve got one great-gram and a great-uncle who had T2, but I no one else. I’m hoping to avoid it, but if I can’t then I’m certainly not going to blame my weight. If anything, it might explain why the hell I’ve gained so much weight in the past few years not doing anything except stopping dieting (note that I’ve been tested for thyroid and other enzymatic issues, and the panels were all good).

    Fuck shaming. Fuck it. FUCK IT. What I don’t understand is how shame became some reasonable weapon in the GP’s bedside arsenal? Why not just ditch the shame and treat the problem? Like, why not? Really?!

    • Thanks hon. I hope everyone manages to avoid it, fat or no fat.

      Fuck the shaming indeed. It’s of no use to anyone. It doesn’t cure my diabetes (or anyone else’s), it doesn’t do anything of real benefit to the shamer and it certainly isn’t going to make me thin. It’s completely redundant.

  • Well, thank heavens you have a wonderful GP and that both of you are so dedicated to preventative health. (I don’t think I’ve ever had a routine blood test!) Now you can start your plan and hopefully mitigate the symptoms. Good luck, sunshine. x

    • Frances my love, I was in my 30’s before I started getting adequate health care. I avoided any health care for so many years because of the shaming that I wouldn’t be surprised if those years contributed to my state now.

      I hope everyone, EVERYONE can find decent health care and can have regular screenings for all of the relevant things for them, because prevention where possible IS better than cure, and if not, early detection of anything is always going to work to ones favour.

  • Kath, Connecting with you on the Internet has turned out to be a blessing in my life. Over time, emotional goodwill from you was like those first gulps of water given to a rescued man lost in the desert and dying from thirst. I have gone through major medical setbacks (respiratory, restricted ambulation, fatigue, and severely diminished core strength) many of which conventional wisdom him would blame on my size and be subject to all of the trolley judgments and comments. I have allowed myself to become so overwhelmed with shame that I haven’t posted about what’s going on with me on my blog in fear of some asshole troll or worse some asshole family member using my own words against me.

    I so admire you and am grateful to you for this post. it shows me how important it is to connect with our little community of folks who understand and can truly empathize and appreciate all that I have to go through when dealing with medical issues. when I first connected with our community and started blogging I was the recipient of such overwhelming generosity of spirit transmitted via the comments that are part of blogging. I need that in my life.

    I think you could write a book to teach folks how to find a loving supportive network of folks to help you create a treatment plan, a compassionate, empathetic, and loving treatment plan. as I work my way through the remnants of shame I have bought into about sharing my medical challenges, I probably could write one too. although, I do know for sure that yours would have much better grammar and spelling.

    Again and again and again thank you thank you thank you for everything.

  • I stopped dieting in 1986 and worked very hard on unlearning all the number obsession that goes with it; what does that steak weight, what’s the calorie and fat content, how many hours have I exercised this week and, of course, what is the number on the scale. Eventually I became “numbers free” in my day to day life, then BLAM, in 1996 I was diagnosed with T-2 diabetes and dragged right back in the numbers game. What’s my BG number, what’s my Ha1c, how many carbs are in this meal? All the old tapes of blame and shame came rushing back. Luckily, my years of fat self-acceptance and education took over and I found a great resource, the FA-Diabetes mailing list. There are lots of smart people on this list with tons of information and experience of dealing with being fat and diabetic in our thin-obsessed, health-obsessed culture. Here’s the url if you want more info

    Diabetes sucks, but life after diagnoses doesn’t have to. I can see from your post that you are way ahead of the curve on this. Good Luck and thanks for writing about it – it reminds me how far I’ve come too.

  • Hey! Me too. I can’t find a way to email you, but I would very much like to be part of a Facebook group that helps all of us who want to manage diabetes without fat hatred.

  • Oh, I’m sorry. I was diagnosed with Type 2 nearly 6 years ago, and I can remember the anger and shame I felt, because I’d tried so hard to do what my doctors had told me to do to avoid diabetes and failed, and the fear of all the scary complications. Fortunately, my doctor and I have been able to work out a good treatment plan, and I can honestly say that I’m healthier and have a better relationship with food and my body than I did before diagnosis.

    You might want to have a look at a book called The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes by Gretchen Becker and Allison Goldfine. Becker is a herself a type 2 diabetic, and I found the book both helpful and reassuring. My only caveat is that there is some discussion of weight-loss – my memory is that it was discussed in a non-shaming and realistic (i.e. most people find that they can’t lose a significant amount of weight, so if you can’t don’t worry about it) kind of way, but I was still getting to grips with HAES when I read it, so it might be that I’d look at it differently now.

    • Sending you massive hugs Kath.
      I read a paper the other day about how people with Type II Diabetes often feel that they are to blame and are ashamed of themselves. The paper was great but then the conclusion was about helping prevent obesity so people didn’t have to go through this. GAH!
      I will try dig it out.
      Thank you as always for speaking out. xx

      • Big hugs right back Samantha.

        I can totally see why people with T2 diabetes feel that way – we are openly shamed in most of the literature for “doing that to ourselves” and the media is even worse.

  • I remember when my asthmatic and diabetic grandmother apologized to me for passing down the genes that made me allergy-prone and fat. There it was–genetics as shame. I remembered thinking–“Should she not have had my father?” and also “And he shouldn’t have had me?” She was an obstetrics nurse and helped deliver I don’t even know how many babies, and she was the recorded memory of our family–the one with every phone number at her beck and call, and the knowledge of birthdays and the vagaries of the relationships of our kith and kin at the top of her recall. She was greatly energetic, occupied, a person of hobbies and habits and interests and a knitter, babysitter, crocheter, busybody and loyal friend–and she apologized to me–because–you know, we were fat. And I might get her asthma and diabetes from the fat. Like she did.

    My cousin, whose face is her spitting image, is a state trooper bulging with muscle and fighting his fat. I’m a fat beaurocrat. Another cousin, is a fat girl with my drinking habits and without my penchant for sobering up again. Grossmutter had diabetes from her twenties. None of her fat grandbabies have it. It’s luck. There’s no shame, habit, or anything else attached. And fat doesn’t seem to be a factor. Her nephew, my first cousin once removed–is assuredly fat–but he doesn’t have the diabetes and although his slender father had heart attack after heart attack–has had not one single heart event even though he is 400+ lbs and is now over 60 yrs old. He’s healthy and fat. From my personal experience, it seems like contracting a disease like diabetes is a crapshoot. It isn’t about your habits or size. Sometimes it’s just your genetic draw.

    I wish you the best in managing it. It’s totally doable and I think it can be managed at any size–it’s just about regulating sugar–and making better food choices (re: sugar). But for the most part–things don’t change that much. You still shine like an awesome fat-positive diamond and inspire some of us other fatties to open up about our big old selves.

    • Thanks Vixen. I guess you’re right about the genetics as shame thing. I never quite thought of it like that.

      And thank you so much for your kind praise, you make me blush!

  • Kath, I’m sorry to hear of this new complication, but like you said, I know you will continue on splendidly!

  • Again, I want to thank you all. I have never received as many responses as quickly as I did on this post. I had some trepidation about outing myself as a diabetic, but deep down knew I had to, I couldn’t hide such a big thing about myself and I want to be a voice that speaks out against the shaming and fat-loathing.

    I am very touched by everyone’s support, honestly.

    For those of you interested in the facebook group, email me at fatheffalump AT and I’ll hook you up.

  • I frequent a website that could be useful to you. It’s an A-Z list of low, medium and high in gi foods. They have a very small weighloss section but the site isn’t plastered with weighloss and diet crap. Best wishes to you

  • Gahhh! Of course, I come to find this late and via the round-about route. Life has been kicking me around rather mercilessly of late, forcing a retreat from the Netz and other things but, so far, health has not been an issue. Yet. It ALWAYS becomes an issue at some point in EVERY life with this thing called aging screwing up the works. Minor errors in the operating code that propagate and cascade until things start getting a bit wonky. Nothing can illustrate that like an 83yro mother who people are constantly assuming is in her late 60’s. Someone who still drives her own car, but sometimes forgets to turn off the burner after heating up her tea. And nothing illustrates the fickle nature of the coding we all carry like visiting the gravesite of that mothers daughter, my sister.

    Without any warning, her coding went wildly awry. It began cascading errors in ways that are just now being guessed at. Errors that, certainly, no one knows how to fix. So who’s fault is this? Who should have known those errors existed when most doctors are, only now, vaguely familiar with her disease? Was it her fault for not being cognizant of the errors that were probably introduced and present from the moment of her conception and ‘doing something’ about it? Yeah, like what? Even if she knew; what, exactly, was she going to do about it?

    This is one of the things that infuriates me so much when it comes to the fat=diabetes issue and the idiots who have little to no understanding of it, yet are so sure about what they think is right. Yes, we have a fairly good handle on how it works. Yes, we know enough about it to make living with the condition manageable. Do we KNOW WHAT CAUSES IT? No. Do we know who’s GOING to contract it? Well, we can guess at that. Kinda. (That would be a ‘NO’)
    So, really, who’s fault is it when someone becomes diabetic? (Extra Credit Hint; NOBODIES)

    You are a valid, intelligent, caring, person, who loves and is loved by whole hosts of people. What about any of that does being diabetic change? Nothing.

    Take care of yourself. Be good to yourself. Yours is one of many upbeat, positive, voices on the Interwebz that often manages to keep me from sliding into dark, airless, places. I’d love to keep hearing it for as long as I’m able.

    Be Well.

    • Thank you so much Bilt4cmfrt.

      That’s why I decided to be vocal about my diagnosis, because the more we are silent about it, the more the shamers win. Fuck that! I want to talk with other people who are going through the same things, who feel the same way and who need to know they are not alone. Because we are not alone.

  • Just repeating what so many have said here – the shame and blame dispensed with any diagnosis, particularly one associated with fat, is disgusting and does not help, ever. I’ve got several genetic and autoimmune health conditions, none of which are actually associated with fat in any way, yet STILL get people including doctors trying to tell me I wouldn’t have them if I wasn’t fat. As if fat actually alters your DNA! It’s so heartening that you’ve got a doctor who’s willing to work HAES-style and be positive about health. The current awareness and information literature on T2D (and even T1) is really something; frightening people doesn’t empower them. Giving them straight information and support to make their own decisions does, though.

    Good luck and best wishes to you for finding out what works for YOU! 🙂

    • What? Fat doesn’t alter your DNA? But surely you jest!

      I have had doctors try to blame allergies, a persistent repetitive strain injury, asthma and various other family illnesses on my fat. Yet my thin brother, or my thin cousins, are given sympathy and support. Yet doctors can’t see why this is offensive? Huh?

      Thank you for your support, and I wish supportive, sympathetic, positive medical care in your direction too.

  • PS I think I left out a whole middle section of my previous comment on blame as it relates to fat and diabetes and other conditions and it might not make sense or be weird without it! Sorry about that. :/

  • I hope you find treatment that works for you – which need not include weight loss, and I’m pretty sure recent research backs that up. While I’m not an expert in that field, I do know that it’s possible for people of all sizes to live full lives with type II. But stigma doesn’t help one bit (and bearing in mind what’s known about the link between insulin and cortisol, is probably actively harmful). I can’t really provide resources, but I’m sure the rest of the folks on here have some excellent ones.

    Broadening out this whole question of ‘deserving’ illness, and bringing it closer to my own experience, I work in a hospital path lab; I’m the cancer registrar, and it angers me on behalf of the patients I deal with when I hear anyone claim that anyone with a disease is ‘to blame’ for getting it. Seriously ill people do not need this. I’ve seen articles in which women with breast cancer say things like ‘Well, I’ve always been fat so I know it was my own fault I got this,’ and I’m like NO, NO, NO IT WASN’T. I also deal with the processing of Pap smears, and I get livid, believe me, when I hear people claiming it’s ‘promiscuous’ women who get cervical cancer, because I also know HPV doesn’t work that way.

    There’s a growing tendency here in the UK, where of course we have a taxpayer-funded healthcare system, to attribute diseases to ‘lifestyle choices’ (a phrase I loathe, because it implies that matters like whether or not you can afford decent food are as trivial and as much under your control as the color of your living-room curtains). What this does is, it gives sickness a moral stigma, and enables those who aren’t sick to feel that it’s ‘right’ to withdraw both their compassion and, ultimately, their practical and financial help. (I have a strong suspicion that this is behind the recent urge to link obesity with dementia, bearing in mind that caring for elderly patients is the biggest, and growing, slice of the NHS budget.) I think it’s something all of us should be resisting – but many people within the healthcare professions don’t, because they don’t see where it’s coming from.

    Sorry for the rant, but this goes way beyond diabetes, as you realize. And your last but one paragraph is spot on.

    • Rant away Emerald. We have a very similar culture here in Australia, because of our own public funded Medicare.

      Health and morality are not the same thing, and until we start to smash those mindsets, we’re never going to see any real improvement of general health levels anywhere.

  • Diabetes is an perfectly manageable condition and it is sickening the weight bias people get (especially as there appears to be weight gain associated with developing T2 diabetes in some people – caused by becoming diabetic rather than causing them to become diabetic.) Some medications also have the side-effect of weight gain. Plus the tripe about WLS “curing” diabetes. It doesnt. It starves you so your sugars drop. It doesnt change cell biochemistry.

    Congrats on talking about it. Diabetes is a genetically predisposed condition that affects all sorts of sizes and types of people ( I work at a farmers market and a lot of the farmers we buy off -mostly muscular 100 hour a week workaholic types- have T2 diabetes)

    • Thanks Ruth – there is so much mis-information out there and a lot of it is simply born of fat-loathing.

      It must be so hard for rural folk dealing with diabetes – getting adequate health care in a major city is hard enough, let alone in the country.

  • I am now a diabetic (t2) in remission. I started following the New Atkins for a New You diet in February, and have lost 40 pounds (and counting). My blood glucose readings are now normal, regardless of when I take them. And I just got my blood lipid profile results and they are so much better than last year my doc is doing a happy dance. He was a bit unsure about me doing this eating plan, but has been fully in my corner since April when, at his request, I added some refined carbs back into my eating plan for a weekend. He couldn’t believe how much a couple of slices of bread affected my glucose readings. I went from 8-10 hour fasting readings of 90-110 to 200-250.

    Good luck on whichever way of eating you decide upon. Obviously, my personal preference is the low-carb of Atkins though there are numerous ways out there.

  • Stumbled on this and love what you wrote. I just wrote about some of this last night and posted in my blog. I am so sick of “experts” who think they have a clue about why I am diabetic or what I am supposed to be doing about it.

    I used to think that people who were cruel or insensitive to fat people were incapable of seeing that most of us eat less or exercise more etc than thin people and one day I had an epiphany that I was still playing their game. Hating someone because they are fat , judging them, making assumptions, discrimination etc are no different than doing so because of someone’s gender, sexuality, race, religion etc. I don’t owe anyone an explanation of why my body type is what it is, but they owe me respect and decent human behavior unless I have actively done something egregious to lose that.

    Thanks for the great blog!

  • Hey I hope everything’s going okay! I have (T1) Diabetes, and have had for 20 years…. What I’ve found works quite well in terms of Low GI eating is basically making sure I have fat and carbs together. Also, interestingly, my condition seems much, much easier to manage since I became vegetarian 10+ years ago….. Mostly I’ve found GI lists to be useless, because they list foods individually, but if you combine any one food with any other food, you change the GI.

    I just stick with the rule of thumb that more fibre and more fat generally lowers the GI. One of my favourite meals is a salmon steak with a side of broccoli and mashed sweet potato (that’s right, I’m not strictly a vegetarian any more – well, there you go), and I can eat all the baked potatoes I want if I have them with dahl and cheese and salad-type things, and I metabolise it all quite well.

    PS. I haven’t read through the comments, but I hope this is helpful, one way or another….

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