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July 26, 2001

Daily Care

Question from Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia:

I am a 29 year old female, I play a lot of sports, I am six feet tall, and weigh 65 kilograms. I have had diabetes for about 10 years, which I haven't looked after since diagnosis, but I've been thinking more about my health for the last few months. I have two healthy children under the age of five who I love dearly, so during my pregnancies, I made myself look after myself for the sake of the children. I guess that makes no sense considering I don't look after myself and now it will be a hassle on them and my husband. When I was pregnant I was weighed 103 kilograms. My main problem being that I am a bulimic and have been since getting diabetes because, after being underweight all my life and very healthy, to be told that I need to diet after leaving hospital was all to much for me. I know this may seem a easy way out, but for me it seemed a good idea when I was 18 years old. However, know I just want to be around for my kids, have more energy as being sick is tiring enough without working full-time and looking after two small children. What can I do to help myself?

Answer:

You’ve taken the first step — acknowledging that you have a problem. I’m certain that you already know this but it must be said — eating disorders like bulimia are very dangerous. Your blood sugars cannot be effectively controlled using purging.

My concern is that you are skating on very thin ice and may not survive to see your small children grow into adulthood. Most women with diabetes try extra hard to manage their blood sugars during pregnancy “for the sake of the baby”. How about managing your diabetes for the sake of your now-born children who need their mother? How about managing your diabetes for yourself?

Please seek out someone with whom you will be honest and tell them of your behaviors. Eating disorders can be deadly. Fitness and health are preferable goals over being “skinny”.

CMB