For 26 years of diabetes, body image has been a constant thing for me. I read too much about how insulin will put weight on you and how certain foods are terrible for diabetics. There are 8 million ways to eat and there are followers and believers in every way out there. With diabetics, people can become very dogmatic and almost religious about how they eat. I have fallen into this trap in the past as well. In the grand scheme of things, people need to do what works for them.
When I was following restrictive guidelines I thought I was winning with my disease and in control. There was something deeper going on. The problem with these restrictions for me are that once I mess up a bit, everything goes out the window and I binge. I had eating disorders in the past. I wouldn’t eat enough. It is hard to type that out because I have always been a bigger athletic looking guy who trained hard. I was scared to eat because having to take more insulin or possibly put on weight. I didn’t want to go birthday parties and work events scared me to death because I had to think of some reason why I couldn’t partake in some cake. Cake is something I used to live for on birthdays. I didn’t know how to make the cake or certain foods fit into how I was eating. This made me seem like some food snob. I had no problem killing a big old bacon cheeseburger no bun of course, but couldn’t fit a slice of cake into what I ate. What I thought was control was killing me.
I have written about this previously, but a huge eye opener is when my wife and I started dating and she pointed out that she ate more than me. I currently outweigh her by more than 100 pounds. It was crazy what and how I let my poor self image do to me. I think that no matter what I will still have some level of body image hang ups. Never being good enough is the thought that is behind my hang ups with diabetes and these insecurities.
How have things changed over the years? One thing that has been very effective is accepting the fact that I am a bigger guy. Looking at old pictures of my father’s father and realizing that we almost are the same guy physically even down to the red hair. He weighed around 200 or so until his last few years. One other huge one is that I have been training with weights for over 20 years. seeing my strength numbers increase has made the weight gain okay. Noticing my body composition rather than the number on the scale helps hugely as well.
Here’s what I want you to realize from my experiences:
Your self-worth is not determined by a number on the scale.
Restrictions will lead to guilt and burnout.
Get stronger and you will gain confidence.