Navigating Self-Esteem, Diabetes and Weight
People with diabetes typically feel a great deal of shame, embarrassment, guilt, and sadness about their condition. Society does its fair share to trigger and perpetuate these feelings.
More so than other illnesses, society blames people with type 2 diabetes for causing their own condition. If only you exercised more, you would be healthier. If only you ate better, you wouldn’t have diabetes. This is a flawed stance, though, as it is an example of blaming the victim — and there is such a thing as a skinny diabetic.
You know by now that diabetes is not only a disease of physical health. Instead, type 2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition that, like many others, has a profound influence over your mental health as well as your physical health.
It is your task to navigate the choppy waters of diabetes and mental health. Failure to do so effectively will only lead to worsening mental health and physical health symptoms.
The Relationship Between Weight and Self-Esteem
Before you can know how to improve your weight and self-esteem, you need to understand the relationship between the two. Too often, people make the mistake of thinking that weight and self-esteem are directly linked. You may think that losing weight will automatically make you feel better and gaining weight has the opposite effect.
Consider this test to disprove this theory. Do you know any thin people with low self-esteem? Do you know any overweight people with good self-esteem? If either answer is “yes,” you must denounce the direct association. A lower number on a scale does not necessarily equal a better self-esteem rating.
There is a relationship between self-esteem and weight, but the correlation is much weaker than you may think. If you lose weight, you will probably feel happy and more hopeful. If you gain weight, you may feel sadder and more negative.
But these changes in feelings are more likely due to a sense of power or powerlessness associated with succeeding or failing at goals. If you accomplish a weight loss goal you will feel empowered and in control of your life. If you cannot reach your goal, you will feel like a failure.
In some respects, you may find it easier to think that weight and self-esteem exist in a cause and effect relationship. Rather than having two issues to deal with, you would only have one. If you could find ways to lower your weight, self-esteem will magically improve.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Both need to be addressed individually to receive the boost to your overall well-being you seek. Yes. It is twice the work, but this work results in the real benefits. These improvements will not fade in time. If you can maintain your consistency, they can last forever.
Improving Weight With Diabetes
As mentioned, people who are overweight tend to see some superficial improvements in self-esteem after weight loss. This fact makes weight loss the natural starting point. Want to lose weight, get healthier and feel better? Here’s how:
Plan Your Day
People that do not plan their food consumption for the day are doomed to make bad choices. When you plan out your day’s or week’s food, you create milestones that you can look forward to meeting.
If it is 11:45 am and you are starving, you know that you only have 15 minutes before you can pull that healthy grilled chicken salad out of your lunch bag. Without planning your lunch, it would be far more tempting to head to fast food or junk food options that seem easy and convenient.
Planning your meals places focus on what you are eating rather than what you are not eating. It allows you to avoid the moments of weakness where impulsivity and bad decisions live.
Beware the Beverages
Drinks have a way of sneaking extra calories, especially sugary calories, into your diet. A typical can of soda can have 150 calories. A few of these daily can do damage to your total calories and your blood sugar.
Rather than cut out all soda drastically, work to slowly reduce the consumption of sugary beverages. This will make the sugar withdrawals easier to manage. Remember, drinking one less can of soda per day will result in losing 15 lbs. at the end of the year. Is that extra soda really worth it?