It’s been a little over a year since a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis scared the hell out of me. Immediately my mind filled with worst case scenarios: blindness, nerve damage, amputations… Today, it’s official that I’ve lost 106lbs (down from 356 to 250). My A1C (blood sugar) is in the healthy, non-diabetic range (5.5). I’m even taking half the diabetes medication (Glucophage) I was before.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to control the disease with diet alone. For some, that’s not an option. I know how lucky I am, but I also want to celebrate how hard I’ve worked to get here… Not just hard work physically, but hard work psychologically. Changing your lifestyle is an enormous undertaking, and no diet, no good intentions, and no New Year’s Resolution achieve a lifestyle change in and of themselves.
So how did I do it?
That’s complicated, because yeah, I counted calories and macros. But that wasn’t the important part.
I didn’t get diabetes because I was fat. I got it because I had a combination of PCOS and a medication side effect (Latuda–otherwise a miracle drug for me, but boy what a nasty surprise). Healthy people deserve to be acknowledged as happy, comfortable, and sexy in their own skin at any weight. (And as a disabled person, I gotta say, even unhealthy people deserve that dignity and to be celebrated and loved in the skin they’re in.) I didn’t change my lifestyle and lose weight because being fat is a bad thing; I did it because I couldn’t attain my health goals otherwise. As I celebrate this victory, I want to reiterate that fat is beautiful.
Accepting myself in this body (which is tremendously difficult, especially with the gender dysphoria) helped me stay on track to change my life and lose this weight. None of the fat-shaming or “concerned” friends and family members ever helped me feel anything but self-hate. If you’re truly concerned for a loved one, encourage them to take ownership of and love the body they’re in. If someone isn’t your loved one, keep your opinions off their body.
Self-acceptance and bodily autonomy are crucial to me loving myself enough to stick with these changes despite the sacrifices. For me, this involved going on testosterone and finally having a total hysterectomy. Feeling more confident in my identity gave me strength heretofore unprecedented in my life. Judging someone else’s body, appearance, or health–even if it’s concern–undermines that ownership and confidence. It can damage someone’s fragile sense of identity. And the last thing you’ll see result from your misguided involvement in their journey is a lasting positive effect.
So what then?
How do you motivate positive lifestyle changes? Seek to uplift and acknowledge the beauty and worth that exists in every body–in your body, too. Find a perspective that lets you love and cherish–truly appreciate–that body right where it is, at that weight, with those fleshy appendages, with that face, that hair, those sex organs. Your journey toward physical health is meaningless unless it also focuses on your mental and emotional health. Why not start there?
Thursday recently released a new contemporary m/m romance novel with co-writer Clancy Nacht & has an upcoming m/m scifi romance available for pre-order.