Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Big fat, little fat

So far this year, I have lost weight. I have moved from a BMI of 30.4 to one of 27.1. This means that my label has changed from 'obese' to 'marginally overweight.'

So what?

I've moved from a big fat category to a little fat category. I'm still diabetic. I'm still on two oral meds to keep my numbers under control. My feet still hurt. I still have to be very careful what I eat, in order to keep both my weight and my BG numbers to behave. I'll still have to work hard at maintaining the weight lose for the next several years.

How have I done it? I think the best term for my eating habits this year is portion control, or perhaps, partial anorexia. (Can I be an anorexic at a weight exceeding 160 lbs? I don't think so.) I've substituted a meal replacement bar for the greasy breakfast burrito from the catering truck that appears at our worksite at 8:30 am each day. I try to choose a small lunch, often a salad, or broth-based soup. I try to listen to my body and stop eating when my appetite is satisfied. I often leave food on the plate. I don't have to finish it just because I served it up. I eat more often, but smaller, snack-type meals. I do not count carbs. I do not follow an exchange diet. I don't even follow the McDougall diet, which I would like to be doing. I'm sure I'm a nutritionist's nightmare.

I once read a magazine story-and I believe this to be true-that the psychological effect of excess weight is the same, whether the amount one carries is small, say 10 pounds, or large, 50-200 pounds. In other words, losing weight is just as hard, no matter what the amount of weight one has in mind to lose.

I don't think people in the big-fat categories are going to believe that. I know they're not going to believe that I understand what they're going through, especially at my current weight, or if I continue to lose weight. It is still my goal to lose another 8-18 lbs.

I don't know whether the foot pain has reduced my appetite. That could be. I do know that my foot pain is not an acceptable excuse for weight gain.

I'm all for fat acceptance. I'm all for good self image, no matter what one's size. Love your body, whatever it's size and shape. Your body supports your life. It deserves to be honored and supported for that role. I'm never going to look like Tyra Banks or Paris Hilton or any tall slim actor. (Thanks goodness I don't have to live their lives, either.) That's okay. I'm happy to look like me, with all my lumps, scars, and bulges.

However, I am not content to be complacent about weight. Excess fat is dangerous to my health. I believe it's dangerous to yours. You, especially if you have diabetes (type 2) or are at risk for diabetes, must lose weight, if you're overfat. Losing that extra fat is not optional for you. You must pursue health, with your whole heart, with both hands and feet, with your mouth and your eyes and every fiber of your being.

So what weight is OK? I don't know. I think you should work toward getting your weight to a normal or near normal level. The experts say, if you can lose about 10% of the weight you carried at your diagnosis, your blood sugar levels should improve. So, at the very least, you should weigh less than your lifetime maximum weight number.

I've heard it said, that for every extra pound of weight, the body has to grow a mile of blood vessels to support those extra cells. What a stress on your circulatory system!

I do know that if you're over 600 lbs, your life is very difficult, for many reasons. The Americans With Disabilities Act sets up 600 lbs as the weight limit which must be accommodated. In other words, if you weigh 601, you may not be able to get transportation, depending on where you live, or other accommodation, even if you claim your weight or obesity as a disability.

In reality, a weight of about 350 lbs, male or female, can put you close enough to that limit, especially if you need help to get around. If you are over 300 lbs, and need a motorized mobility device (and I won't push you at that weight in a manual chair, sweetums), the weight of the device and its machinery and batteries can quickly send you over the 600 lb mark. Please don't go there.

Lose weight. Pursue health. Acknowlege the reality of your life, both your eating and your movement habits. See what you can do to improve them. You're capable of making powerful changes, even more so than you realize.


  • At 1:01 PM, Blogger MileMasterSarah said…

    I love to read your blog! I tell people, when they ask me how I run every day and the distances, that I always can choose to not run. And that there is ALWAYS a reason to NOT run. It is my responsibility not to look for the reasons to NOT run but to look for the reasons that I WANT TO run. Replace that word run with any exercise (tai chi, walking, aerobics, tae bo, jumping jacks). Weight concerns I believe should focus on feeling good, not on the avoidance of feeling shame or guilt. I believe you have so much to offer this world, please keep on sharing


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