Psychosocial

LiveBold with Diabetes

If we don’t manage our diabetes, it’s likely to come with complications in its wake. But it’s sure to come with a stigma now.

The stigma of diabetes is that it’s our fault. It blames the victim.

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Before (Sitting)

Their theory is that we get diabetes because we’re fat, lazy, and weak-willed. Many people assume that it’s especially because we got fat that we got the disease.

Yes, most Americans who have diabetes are indeed overweight. More than 85 percent of American adults have a body mass index above 25, according to a U.S. government study. But fully 69 percent of all American adults are that heavy, according to another U.S. government study.

Nevertheless, diabetes and being overweight are so closely linked in the minds of many that a pervasive stereotype exists that one condition causes the other. But in my second book, Losing Weight with Your Diabetes Medication, I devoted a whole chapter to showing that both conditions come from a common cause. So many people are sure that our lifestyle brought on our diabetes that even people with type 1 diabetes, who in fact are seldom overweight, also face the stigma of diabetes.

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After (Climbing Mountains)

I have type 2 diabetes, and I have faced the stigma of diabetes. Now that I’ve lost weight the stigma doesn’t hurt so much, but it’s still there.

You’re Invited to Enter HealthCentral’s Anti-Stigma Photo Contest!

Serious diseases often bring with them serious stigmas, which is why HealthCentral would like you to join them as they launch a national anti-stigma campaign from June 16 to August 8, 2014. Their goal is to break hundreds of stigmas by asking our community to share a picture and story of how they #LiveBold despite their health condition. Enter your photo now to fight stigma and be eligible to win prizes!

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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