30 Days With Diabetes: Diabulimia Research

I’m not a stress eater. In fact, when I’m stressed, I typically lose weight from “not eating.” Back in 2014, when I was commuting 5.5 hours per day to and from Baltimore and DC and nearing the end of a long-term relationship, I dropped down to 118 pounds (my lowest adult weight to date).

Fortunately now, the people closest to me know this about me and are great about checking me on this matter. So is diabetes. Before (and even after) I was diagnosed with Type 1, I struggled with a positive body image. I engaged in unhealthy behaviors, and although never diagnosed, I exhibited the signs of an eating disorder.

Even when diabetes came along, this was a hard habit to break. I ended up developing a binge eating disorder because I resented diabetes for not allowing me to indulge in certain foods anymore, and then I started omitting insulin so I wouldn’t gain weight from the binge eating. This is called “Diabulimia.” It’s something I’ve written about before on this blog. 

And just last year, researchers in the UK reached out to me, asking if they could use my blog in a qualitative analysis they were doing on those with Type 1 who blog about diabetes and diabulimia. After a few follow-up questions and some back and forth, I consented. Their research ended up getting published in the journal, Diabetic Medicinea journal of the British Diabetic Association.

While I no longer exhibit signs of an eating disorder and work daily to maintain a positive body image (even forcing myself to eat when I’m stressed), it’s interesting to think my experience might help inform treatment methods and influence biases in the health care community. I hope it does. I’m certainly thankful to be alive.

This post is part of my 30 Days With Diabetes series

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