I am NOT a doctor, dietician or expert. Do I know everything there is to know about diabetes? Heck no, but I do know what it’s like to live with it.
Monday, October 3, 2016
*As I began to write this post, I realized that I had never mentioned
here that my mother passed away on August 6th. She made it past her
98th birthday and had a good life. This hasn’t been an easy summer
but I’m doing ok (and so is Ray).
I had a rather unusual
conversation the other day while I was waiting to see my new doctor. The person
offered his condolences on the passing of my mother and then went on to comment
on how amazing it is that she lived to be 98. Many people have mentioned her
age so I wasn’t all that surprised, however, he added that it was especially
amazing due to her size. Interesting comment. (My mother was a large woman and
had been most of her adult life. She was only 5’4” tall and weighed roughly
220 lbs during the last year of her life.) The conversation continued and I
happened to mention that my oldest son is now 40. “Really! And how old was his
dad when he died?” 42. “And two of his sisters died young too. One of them
drank a lot, didn’t she? Your son should be fine as long as he doesn’t abuse
alcohol or drugs.”
In case you’re wondering, the
man is still standing and didn’t require any medical intervention after our
conversation ended. I wasn’t offended by anything he said because I’ve known
this guy for decades and he’s… different. He meant no offense and none was
taken. I’d like to clarify that my dear sister-in-law did enjoy her beer but
that is not what killed her. All 3 of those siblings died of massive heart
attacks out of the blue at a relatively young age. They had bum tickers, they
weren’t overweight and were fairly active people.
It wasn’t until later in the day
that I began to think about what was said and what was implied:
My mother lived to a ripe old
age, despite the fact that she was overweight, which this person felt was
unusual. My first husband and his sisters died at a young age and appeared to
be healthy humans so there must have been something they did to hurry their
Our society spends SO much time
worrying/obsessing about what someone looks like and makes assumptions based on
those looks as to what that person’s health might be. (Appearances also cause
people to make assumptions about someone’s moral fiber and whether or not they
are “worthy”, but this is about health and you don’t want to get me started on
that other can of worms.) Just because my mother was heavy, this person assumed
that it was a miracle that she lived so long. He knew nothing about her health.
He assumed, based on her appearance, that she was an unhealthy individual. Mom
suffered with bad knees, which was definitely exacerbated by her weight, and
couldn’t see due to macular degeneration, but her overall health was fine. Her
heart was strong. She survived lung cancer (never smoked) and other various
things throughout her life but she was damn healthy! Heck, she still had all
her own teeth! My first husband, on the other hand, was a healthy-looking man.
He had developed a bit of a gut but he was active and didn’t appear to be ill,
and yet he died so young. This just threw my acquaintance. He couldn’t
comprehend how this could be! So unless my son abuses drugs or alcohol, he
should be fine. What???
I’m so tired of how people are
judged because of how they look. Fat-shaming is a perfectly acceptable form of
bullying that is getting worse as the people in our society get larger. I have
learned that weight loss is not as simple as calories in/calories out. I have
learned that exercise can be difficult when you’re dealing with pain. I have
learned that dealing with diabetes/elevated blood sugar is different for each
individual. I have learned that “doing what I’m supposed to do” isn’t always
easy when a low mood hits.
Fact: There are overweight
people who run marathons and/or work out regularly.
Fact: There are overweight
people who eat very healthy diets and thin people who eat nothing but crap
Fact: There are skinny people
who are in horrible health.
Fact: Overweight/obese does not
equal “unhealthy’ and thin does not equal “healthy”.
I am certainly not suggesting
that people not worry about carrying excess weight. I feel that everyone, size
aside, should do their best to improve their diet and add regular exercise to
their lives. The point of this post is to, hopefully, have people stop and
think before they judge. I’m most likely speaking to the choir, since if you’re
reading this you are already well aware of how much stigma there is in the
world and how important it is for us to take care of ourselves regardless of our size, but I simply had
to get this off my chest!
The next time you see someone
who is overweight and eating dessert, don’t judge! How is it your business what
that person eats? Just maybe they have been rocking a new food plan and are
simply having a treat! Maybe it’s their birthday. The point is: don’t judge.
You have no idea what their life is like.
If you see someone in the
grocery store who has a basketful of processed carbs, don’t judge. Maybe they
just need some education about how to improve their diet. It’s not your job to
correct them or look down on them.
The next time you see some thin
person rocking some yoga pants, don’t assume they are healthy. Don’t fall into
the trap of thinking that they are “better” than you just because they look
like something the media has made us believe is the ideal.
To all the haters out there:
Just. Stop. Who the F*** do you think you are?
Regardless of my size, or my
health or the fact that I choose to go without makeup and fancy hair, I walk
with my head held high because I know that I’m a good person. I’m someone who is
kind. I do what I can to be as healthy as possible. How I look, what I believe
or what food plan I choose to follow doesn’t make me any better or worse than
the next person.
Don’t judge a person until you’ve
walked a mile in their shoes.