When you have diabetes, you know that obesity and other stigmas exist. But what can you do about them? Here are some ways you can overcome stigmas in your own diabetes management — while also changing the way people around you view diabetes.
Focus on Self-Care
Try to focus more on self-care and diabetes management than your appearance. Ask your medical team to help you come up with a plan based on self-care behaviors instead of just the number on the scale. If your team won’t support you, it’s time to look for a new healthcare professional who will work with you without obesity stigmas.
Focus on Actions
It’s true that in many cases, losing even a small amount of weight can improve type 2 diabetes. However, instead of focusing on a number, think about actions you can take to manage your diabetes. This includes making healthy food choices, finding ways to be more active, checking blood sugars regularly and following your diabetes care plan. Remember, many actions work together to improve blood sugar levels, no matter your body size.
Beware of Social Media
Social media and news posts often fixate on special diets and specific exercise programs designed to help people achieve what is considered the ‘ideal’ body size and shape. Unfollow sources of these types of posts that make you feel shame.
Help Educate Others
Many people believe in the obesity-related stigmas surrounding type 2 diabetes because they’re uninformed. Help educate your friends and family members. Teach them about the causes of diabetes. Let them know people of all shapes and sizes can develop diabetes. Even if you do everything right, if diabetes runs in your family, you still may develop it.
You can also educate loved ones about what it takes to manage diabetes and how stigmas negatively impact you physically and emotionally. Arming people around you with facts and eliminating common diabetes myths can help them develop empathy and compassion —breaking the stigma cycle.
The guilt and stigmas linked to diabetes can be difficult to live with. If you feel you’re having a hard time coping with stigmas, consider joining a support group of like-minded people or seeking help from a mental health professional that can help you start viewing type 2 diabetes in a more positive way.