Diabulimia - The Deadly Eating Disorder
Ok, so November is nearly over but it is still Diabetes Awareness Month. Because of that, I've decided to write about a very serious issue linked to Type 1 Diabetes - Diabulimia.
Diabulimia is an eating disorder where Type 1 Diabetics stop taking or reduce their Insulin to lose weight.
Most people haven't heard of it but it's much more common than you would expect. Diabetes UK believe that around 4 in 10 women aged between 15 and 30 take less insulin to lose weight. For young men, it is around 1 in 10.
Although I haven't suffered with full-scale Diabulimia, I have felt how enticing it can be.
As I have rambled about MANY times before, I am hating the fact that I have gained weight since diagnosis. I've put on a stone since being diagnosed in July and to be honest, I often feel disgusted with myself.
Whenever I look in the mirror, I fixate on fat and the changes that have happened in the short time that I have had Type 1.
We are drilled to think about carbs and calories and to read food labels. I also dread every consultation with my DSN because it leads to being weighed.
I often find myself being nostalgic and remembering the pre-diagnosis days when I could eat all of the pizza, chocolate and takeaways I wanted and I would LOSE weight.
That's when the temptations start to kick in. I find myself wanting to skip injections knowing full well that my BG will run high. But with high BG comes weight loss...
I have skipped injections and under-dosed on numerous occasions, but luckily thus far the Libre has been my saving grace. Within an hour or so after eating, I scan my arm and shock myself into action.
It may sound insane because I know that skipping injections causes crazy highs, but when I actually see the figures, it makes me actually see the gravity of what I'm doing.
I always end up checking my glucose with Count Dracula (my finger pricker) and then I administer a corrective dose.
I've also intentionally skipped my basal Insulin injections a few times before and have gone to bed without a care in the world. The following morning however, I wake up wracked in guilt and I give myself a mental telling off.
Luckily so far the risks of allowing my blood glucose to run high has been enough to stop me in my tracks. The chances of going into Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) are incredibly high, not to mention the damage that can occur further down the line...
Saying that, I can see how easy it would be to fall deep into the Diabulimia trap when you want to look your best; before a summer holiday with the pressure to have a perfect bikini body, or perhaps before your wedding day to make sure you're the picture-perfect, blushing bride.
I try to be very aware of this very real but also very dangerous temptation that hangs over our heads on a daily basis. I'm making note in my diary when I even think for a second about skipping or amending a dose so that it is there in black and white.
I'm considering attempting a low carb diet (after Christmas 🎅🏻) but am very wary of the LCHF (low carb high fat) diet. I'm researching the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis so will not be trying anything until I'm a bit more in-the-know.
For anyone reading this who is struggling with Diabulimia, even if like me it's just the temptation to skip injections, please reach out to someone. I am always happy to listen and you can also find support at Diabetes UK or Diabetics With Eating Disorders (DWED).