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National Eating Disorders Awareness Week – I’m One of the Disorderly

I have body image issues. My rather large gut shames me almost everyday.

It dictates how I dress, what I eat, makes me want to stay in and isolate myself so not to feel embarrassed.

After going through therapy for depression, I seem to have found another layer of issues that need  addressing. It greatly affects my self-esteem, it’s another reason to dislike myself.  It is amazing how all these feelings can get jumbled up and bring back feelings like I had when initially started therapy.

I’m a lot tougher on myself than I am on others and I’ve allowed the stigma of my high BMI to affect my self-confidence, self-esteem.  For example, I would actually love presenting to audiences about depression, diabetes, mental health and the stigmas involved.  However, I feel that I can’t simply because of the way I look.

I know I need to work on this because I have recently seriously considered diabulimia as a solution.  It seems that it would be so much easier than making some relatively big changes to my eating habits. Thinking about it feels like thinking about suicide to me.

My main issue, I believe, is not necessarily what I eat but how I eat it. I usually only eat lunch and dinner, with lunch being the largest meal. Sometimes there will be an evening snack thrown in. I need to eat smaller meals and more of them.

I had actually lost a bit of weight after starting on Symlin, nearly 30 pounds. Since I’ve moved in with mom as a caretaker, I have put it all back on. I have less control over my diet than I used to, I’m consuming a lot more carbs now and less protein and fatty foods.

Part of what mom does to stay engaged in living is preparing dinner most evenings and I do the dishes and kitchen cleanup. She’s 89 and already worries about my diet. So I don’t want to change anything that she’s comfortable with making and eating, let alone have her worry that’s she’s doing it “right”.

I guess I feel that I don’t have much control for change there. Exercise is another story. I could start exercising, but I find myself just not wanting to. I know I need to and when I don’t, I find another layer of  guilt.

It just makes me shake my head at times when so many things seem to revolve around guilt and shame for me. I’ve mentioned an addiction to guilt before and, like any addiction, it seems to never truly go away.

All and all my self-image is placing a drain on me. Before, I really didn’t care. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about what I looked like, it was that I didn’t care about what anyone else thought about me. There’s no one out there that can say something bad about me that I haven’t already said about myself.

This is another layer that needs to get peeled away from my depression and in-security.

Guess I might as well get started.

© 2013 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and

  • fern

    Hey Scott, I don’t even know you and I like you a lot! Take your insulin, get a little exercise in the sunshine (if there is any!) and keep on keeping on. It’s all any of us can do. Just advice from a stranger on the internet…Best wishes, seriously.

  • Thanks for being brave enough to share your feelings with us, Scott. And I also appreciate you raising awareness for some of the disordered eating we deal with through our walk with diabetes.

    • Thanks Scott, I’m still not comfortable having posted this. Men deal with body image issues and eating disorders as well, but rarely discuss them. Oh well, chalk it up to another stigma that needs to be eliminated

  • I hope you understand that I’m being totally honest when I tell you that your gut is not as big as you think it is and that you are handsome and more than worthy to be standing in front of people presenting. Please know that if I didn’t honestly think this, I would not have left this comment!! I just want you to know that others don’t always see you the way you see yourself.

    • Thanks so much Karen, I guess I watch presentations being made and the presenters all seem to be fit & trim, I just don’t seem to measure up against them. It’s like I project my view of myself so that I think it is everyone else’s view of me.

  • Colleen

    So, when meeting you last November, I’m being honest when I state that the very first thing I noticed about you was your smile. It was so genuine. Secondly, you really listen when someone is talking to you.
    And finally – ditto to Karen’s comment!

  • Mel

    I think you’re absolutely wonderful and I wish you could see yourself the way I see you, my friend. I have never noticed any gut or a man who couldn’t present authoritatively in front of a crowd. I have only ever seen your handsome face, warm sincerity, and welcoming hug.

    • You know Mel, it’s all self-image, self-perception. Someday I’m going to need to stone-up and just fake it until I make it. Until I can at least stop letting my self-image from being such a roadblock.

  • We’ve never met in person, but I have seen many pictures of you. You are quite handsome with a smile that lights up a room. Being a person with her own image & self-esteem issues, I know that you don’t believe me or any of the others that have commented. All we can do is keep telling you until you believe. 🙂 ♥♥♥♥♥♥

    • Of course I don’t believe any of you! sigh, that’s one of the things that goes along with it. I spent so long not liking myself (and still don’t upon occasion) that I just have a hard time seeing how anyone could like me. I think I need a forklift for all this baggage…

  • scully

    We all need to see ourselves better. It’s not just you. If I was in your position I’d be living the same way. For you, living with and taking care of your mother far surpasses whatever “diet” you feel works. You’ll never get that time back sharing dinners with your mother. How can one try and change that right now?
    The desire to exercise? is exactly that. Exercising simply for the sake of what’s “best” just doesn’t work. For me, I have to WANT to exercise and my heart has to be in it. I have to enjoy what I’m doing. If someone told me I had to read books on fishing or play war craft in order for it to be good for my health, Yeah right. I’d rather poke my eyes out with knitting needles. You can’t do something if you don’t actually WANT to.
    exercise and mindset, IMHO, go hand in hand. I’m coming out of a crap spell of depression due to not having a bike. I didn’t do much exercise at all because I was sad and pissed off. Laying in bed or working were better options for me.

    This is a long tangent comment that probably doesn’t even relate to your post at all by this point.

    We all need to be happy with ourselves no matter what but nobody ever is. I know I’m not and my realistic self kicks my stupid self in the ass because I SHOULD be happy with myself. But image wins out every time.

    • You’re right Chris, image does win out for me as well. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a bout with depression, the burnout I feel is a very deep one, my very bones are tired. Morpheus and I both agree that it’s not depression this time, it feels different than depression.

      I also have some physical things that have started recently so I’m a little concerned that I’ll be adding another diagnosis soon. Even mom has seemed a little worried, at least more than normal, about me the past few weeks.

  • Kelly Rawlings

    Scott, you have a beautiful mind. So glad you’re giving it the attention it deserves through talk therapy and your brave public discourses on depression, diabetes, and being an empowered e-patient. Shine on! Love ya, —Kelly

    • Thanks Kelly, I really appreciate it. I hope I am making a difference, it’s hard to tell at times and this post… I am still uncomfortable having written it. I’ll just keep at it I guess

  • Alanna Swartz

    It’s always so important for men with easting disorders to be so honest.; There are so many women out there, and it is generally accepted that we hate our bodies. Sometimes the media makes it seem like men shouldn’t be allowed to feel this way. It’s totally legitimate. As I read through your post I felt like I was reading my own words in places. Thank you so much for being brave enough to post this. You have lots of support.

    • Thanks Alanna, this is the only post that has really, really made me uncomfortable writing. I’m still uncomfortable when I think about it. There is a stigma associated with this topic for me and, for me at least, it is a very deep seated one.

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  • k2

    Being a pwd is hard work, being a caretaker is even harder work. With that being said I am so incredibly proud of you for peeling back another layer of yourself and working on it! You inspire my friend BIG TIME. Keep on peeling! Xoxo

    • Thanks K2, I really appreciate it. I wonder if I’m not getting into some of the true issues I have. The ones that deal with self-image and self-worth. Not liking myself is familiar ground for me and I’m finding myself retreating there now and I’m not sure why.

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