Thursday, October 11, 2012

Focus on Health, Not Obesity

I'm still ruminating about the pitfalls of listening to our overly weight-conscious society's judgments. I just read a blog by a Type 2 talking about how to lower the body's natural setpoint to the new weight, by bringing up studies that show that people who lose weight don't function metabolically like people of the same weight who have never lost weight. He mentioned that one year out from weight loss, the body is STILL reacting as if it were starving, and still striving to regain the lost weight. And that he would slightly increase his carbs in order to maintain his weight in the expectation that his body would eventually accept this weight as its new natural and become metabolically sound again.

This just rings false to me. I don't think there is any evidence that the healthy body will EVER become metabolically sound at a lower weight than that achieved by natural, intuitive eating. Of course, one should eat when hungry, and stop when full and not become overfull. And of course, it's better to eat savory foods, and not overdo the sweets. I think that's a given. But if a person follows that philosophy, maybe their body's natural setpoint will be above what the arbitrary BMI tables say is normal. And trying to lose weight down to a specified goal might actually be eating disordered. Dieting doesn't work for the VAST majority of people who try diet after diet in the hopes of permanently losing weight -- maybe that's because diets themselves encourage disordered eating?

I think it's time for us as a society to rethink just what we're talking about when we talk about weight. I think weight is not really the issue; health is. We're genetically diverse, so why is it a problem when our bodies are diverse in shape and size as well? I want to see the media portray in equally good light people of all shapes and sizes, not just the naturally skinny. Obsessing ALL your life on how to be skinny is really not a good way to live, and of course, Type 1's are susceptible to diabulimia, and that can be deadly. But anorexia and bulimia affect non-diabetic women as well, and if they don't die of it, they can get very sick, and never be healthy again. Let's concentrate on health and let weight take care of itself!

And PS the guy who wrote the blog just called it diabetes, and I mentioned in my response that he would do well to be specific about what type he was talking about, because it does a disservice to Type 1's who may NOT need to lose weight, to have their ignorant family, friends, co-workers, etc. nagging them to lose weight in the hope that it would cure their diabetes!

Friday, October 5, 2012


I HATE the feelings of being fat and wanting to restrict, and omit my insulin, but the answer is NOT to cheat and NOT to restrict insulin and food, because simply losing weight and being ketotic will NOT make me feel any better. And I know that. But what would make a person struggling with those feelings feel better? Could she be as loving and supportive to herself as she is to others? Could she do something loving for her body? I don't know what that would be, but there must be something. Can she find the courage to be grateful to her body for giving her life and letting her do the things you want to do? Can she see that there is SO much more to her than just her body, and that she is a worthwhile and lovable human being no matter what?

Your body is NOT the enemy. It is your friend, and it will give you the chance to live and love, as long as you let it. The hard part is letting it. Those crummy feelings that come up are just that -- feelings. They are NOT reality. You are NOT ugly, and you may not even be seeing your size accurately -- your body image may be quite distorted, and you need a reality check there, too. Can you understand and believe that you eat and take insulin in order to nourish your body so it can serve you well? If you can believe that, and stop judging and criticizing yourself, then the guilt simply goes away, and you stop hating yourself without even trying.

The REAL enemy is the eating disorder. Call him Ed. He's abusive, and he cajoles you into thinking you have to depend on him in order to be loved, but he's a liar and a cheat, and you DON'T need him in your life. Get a divorce!

Monday, October 1, 2012

No D Day

OK, today is the day that we people who usually blog about diabetes are NOT going to do that. So I'm going to tell you a little about myself.

I was born in Great Falls, Montana, and raised in Los Angeles. When I was 8, we took a family vacation to Ensenada, Mexico, and I was fascinated by the fact that people were talking some kind of bla-bla-bla to each other. (Remember, I was only 8). But then a startling idea took hold: I was in the lobby, looking at the clock, and I suddenly realized that they weren't thinking "clock" and saying "bla-bla", but that it really WAS a bla-bla to them.

That inspired my life-long interest in other languages, and I resolved to become fluent in another language. In high school, I took Hebrew, French and Spanish, and in college, I took Japanese, and a smattering of Russian and Hausa, the language of Northern Nigeria. I was lucky enough to be selected to spend my junior year abroad, and actually DID become fluent enough in Japanese to be comfortable with conversation and to read at about a 4th grade level.

When I got back from Japan, I finished my major in Linguistics, and eventually decided to become a teacher of the deaf, because sign language is a real language, too (at the time, many people thought it was just pantomime and gestures), so I got my MA in Special Education of the Deaf. I did that for 5 years, and then switched to teaching English as a Second Language (which I had done in Japan), and eventually Japanese, too.

At some point, I found out about Esperanto, which is a language created and published by a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist in 1887. It's fascinating, because he intentionally made it as easy to learn as possible, eliminating such bugaboos as gender, verb conjugations, irregularities of noun formation, and by regularizing formation of classes of words. I learned it in 10 hours (remember I have background in French and Spanish, and it is based mostly on French and Latin), and I have since used it to make friends worldwide, and to travel all over the world. It has been a lot of fun.

So my life has been very wrapped up in language, which of course expands to include culture, art, food, music, architecture, and everything else that is wonderful about our human family. How lucky I was to be able to take that vacation to Ensenada! :-)