Diabulimics, what next.

Diabetic young women are playing Russian roulette with their health, according to Ann Goebel-Fabbri, Ph.D., a psychologist at Joslin Diabetes Center and Behavioral and Mental Health Unit in Boston.


1 out of 3 women with Type 1 Diabetes engage in this dangerous behavior known as “diabulimia,” or underdosing their prescribed insulin shots in order to drop that ungodly weight. 

The risk of losing limbs, eyesight – or their life doesn’t stop the behavior.

Not surprising since we have created a culture that has made F-A-T a four letter word.  What scares me most about this story is that I can relate to it. I remember not caring one bit about the damage I was doing to my body.  If someone had said to me;

“Are you willing to give up your right leg to be thin?”

My response? A resounding YES.

 I had my eye on the prize, and I was laser focused. The goal: to trim every inch of fat off my already skeletal frame in order to be “perfect.”

I’ve got news for you – there is no perfect. Perfect never arrives.

Never was I more miserable than when I was a “beautiful, young Paris model,” the one so admired. As the pounds shed away, so did my self confidence. 

I no longer felt pretty, or happy, or funny, or anything- I felt like crap, day in and day out because I was starving myself to death to look good for other people.

The other reason this story saddens me is because I know this much is true; this is one lesson that can’t be taught.

You must live it, to get it.


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9 Responses to Diabulimics, what next.

  1. Emily says:

    Another great post Mama V-

    i can realate to what u have written about losing a leg, if someone said that if i lost a leg or a arm 2 be thin and pretty i would of said yes straight away because being perfect was my only goal in life and was the most dangerous goal that i ever set myself, i am still deep into my ED but am ready to recover, i need to realize that being thin and perfect is not everything, its going to be hard but im sure il get there one day, just like u did. its so awful to think that many people out there includiny myself are attually willing to risk making themselves dangeroulsly ill just to be thin and perfect, and when u do lose weight it is never enough i should no that, its a vicious circle, once ur in its hard 2 get out alone. but we can all recover with help.
    Thanks for posting this heather, is a real eye opener for me, just like all of ur great posts are for me.

    love always,
    take care,
    Emily x-x-x-x

  2. kerryelizabeth says:

    i’m glad you posted this. i dont have a lot to say about it–but i had seen a news story on the subject and was shocked by it! im glad you are helping spread the word on it.

  3. mamavision says:

    Hi Emily: Keep believing in yourself. Fill your head with the right influences and stay positive. The process is almost like deprogramming yourself, because I don’t think we realize how brainwashed we are into thinking thin+pretty=happy.

    Here’s a fun thing to do, go to the mall this weekend and pop into Sephora or the makeup section at Macy’s. Just stand and watch the whole scene.

    The whole environment is really psycho if you think about it. You see a bunch of women who have been conned into believing these magic potions and lotions are going to make them happy and loved.

    You and I know its all B.S!


  4. Julia says:

    i think, yet again, you are creating this into something it is not. the article talks specifically about how traumatic it is to go from super skinny to 15 pounds heavier within a weeks time and how these women feel at the mercy of their illnesses. can’t you relate to how that must feel? why do you turn around and cheapen what these women feel by simplifying it into an issue of culture and society’s pressure to be thin? it comes down to the basic issue of feeling in control of your body and your life. these women are essentially told their lives are no longer as they knew it for so long. everything becomes about food and insulin. that’s recipe for an eating disorder.

    you don’t seem to understand or acknowledge that eating disorders can and are about more than just the evils of the fashion industry and the media…

  5. Josie says:

    Julia – you are absolutely right.
    People tend to fall into eating disorders at traumatic times of their lives, and getting a life-threatening illness is most definitely traumatic.

    We must also remember that people don’t just lose weight for vanity. Obesity is supposely one of the biggest health issues in the USA, and that is one of the main reasons people will want to lose weight – for health. Of course, it’s bloody hard work to lose weight healthily (especially as there’s so much confusion over what healthy weightloss is, especially with the plethora of fad diets), and it seems easier to do it by unhealthy means.

  6. jody says:

    One of my oldest friends does this… It scares me so bad when she calls me from a hospital because she has been abusing her diabetes meds to lose wieght and has hit the danger zone again… it’s harsh

  7. Jane says:

    Julia – Heather isn’t “cheapening” these women at all… she’s saying how sad it is that people are going to the extremes of abusing their medication, the medication that is potentially keeping them alive, in order to not get fat… I’m not really sure where you’re coming from with this to be honest. I mean, okay, their situation will have made them lose control of certain aspects of their life, but why then are they turning to weight as a means of control? There are millions of other things they could have done. Our culture is so obsessed with weight and size that that seems to be the natural progression… I want control, I’ll get thin… logical?

    Anyway, thanks for this post MamaV, it hurts so much to think that people are putting their lives at risk in order to satisfy the messed up ideals of society. I can’t deny it; I more than likely would do the same thing if I was in that situation… well, I would have done before, not so much now. Life has so much more to offer when you are able to focus on it… being thin is over-rated… x

  8. Julia says:

    well clearly, jane, you are yet another person that doesn’t understand the pathology of eating disorders.

  9. Jen says:

    I’ve heard about this before, and it makes me sad. I know all of us could share a story of things we do that are extremely unhealthy just to lose weight. I personally wouldn’t give a limb to be thinner, but there are unhealthy habits I engage in to lose weight. This is just another example of that. Also what we need to remember is that eating disorders tend to make our thinking about weight and related things illogical. Of course people are going to not take their insulin to be thin, it’s part of the illness. It’s an endless strive to thinness, no matter what the health effects.

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