We Are Diabetes is an organization primarily devoted to promoting support and awareness for type 1 diabetics who suffer from eating disorders. We are dedicated to providing guidance, hope and resources to those who may be struggling, as well as to their families and loved ones.
We Are Diabetes also advocates for living well and living strong with type 1 diabetes. The daily challenges of living with this disease, as well as the emotional and financial toll it takes, can oftentimes result in a sense of defeat or isolation. We help those who feel alone in their chronic illness find hope and courage to live healthy, happy lives!
If you or someone you know is a type 1 diabetic who is struggling with an eating disorder and are seeking support, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
News and Updates
August 26, 2015
Bi-Weekly Tidbit: The Limits of Body Positivity
Written by Amy Gabbert
I'm going to be honest: I don't love my body.
The supposed hallmark of eating disorder recovery is "coming to terms" with one's body (what does that even mean?) and loving your body, flaws and all. I think this is a admirable goal, but for most people living in a society immersed in weight preoccupation, this goal is likely unattainable. It also may not be a necessary ingredient for eating disorder recovery. I think there can be unwarranted pressure from loved ones and professionals on eating disordered individuals to reach a certain level of body satisfaction in order to be recovered. If you admit there's a day or time in which you are not thrilled with your appearance or shape, there is concern your recovery is compromised.
Despite being in recovery for several years, I don't jump for joy at the sight of my thighs. Cultivating a more positive body image may have helped me get past the initial hurdles of recovery but body love wasn't the catalyst that helped me create a life without an eating disorder. I don't dismiss the theory of loving your body entirely, but my focus is not loving my body. I much prefer the concept of body neutrality, as Melissa Fabello discusses here.
I don't actively hate my body. I just concentrate on what I can do to feel good and healthy. Do I need to drink more water? Is this outfit comfortable and does it suit my tastes? Where is my blood sugar at? It seems like a simple approach, but it took many years and a lot of practice to get to this place. I don't find it constructive to force myself to think positively about my body, nor do I find it necessary to do so in order to validate my recovery. My goal is body neutrality, and I am content with that.
We’re so excited to be able to share some of the highlights from our presentation at AADE15! We were in one of the larger lecture halls, so please keep that in mind as this was recorded with a cell phone (thank you, Christel Aprigliano).
The portion we have chosen to highlight was our performance-based introduction. We found that the audience responded better to it than we had initially hoped. Our unique approach toward sharing insight about what goes on inside the head of someone struggling with ED-DMT1, and on how to effectively communicate with a patient you suspect might be struggling with ED-DMT1, were very well appreciated and we spent quite a long time after our presentation receiving many animated “thank yous” from the health care professionals in attendance!
We want to thank all of our donors for the generous contributions given for our fundraising efforts to send us to AADE! The trip was highly successful, and our presentation was very well received. Founder and Executive Director Asha Brown, along with co-presenter Marcia Meier had the opportunity to be interviewed for two endocrinology publications, and had many engaging conversations with CDE’s who watched our presentation. Having this very serious topic addressed at an AADE conference is a huge achievement in our overall mission to spread awareness and effectively educate, and we couldn't have done it without our supportive community!
We're working on a small video that shares highlights of our presentation, stay tuned!
Dr. Ann E. Goebel-Fabbri is Seeking Participants for a Book About Recovery from ED-DMT1!
We are thrilled to share the news that our friend Dr. Ann is working on a book about recovery from ED-DMT1! Below is a statement from Ann on the specifics of her study, and details on the qualifications needed for those who wish to participate:
My name is Dr. Ann Goebel-Fabbri, and I am a psychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. My research and clinical work has focused on the issue of eating disorders and type 1 diabetes for over 15 years.
I am recruiting women who identify themselves as recovered from eating disorders in type 1 diabetes – sometimes called “Diabulimia.” My goal is to gain your insight about what you believe originally put you at risk and what helped you in your recovery. I see you as the experts, who have much to teach clinical providers about how to create more effective treatments. Your experiences and ideas will be the basis for a book on this important topic.
Participation will involve completing a brief online questionnaire and a recorded phone interview. All information will be kept strictly confidential. Once it is completed, you will receive a copy of the book (digital or paper) as my way of thanking you for generously volunteering your time.
Participants must be women who have had both type 1 diabetes and an eating disorder for at least one year each. Not all women with T1DM and eating disorders restrict insulin, but the book will focus on those who did restrict insulin as one of their eating disorder symptoms.
Defining recovery remains an ongoing discussion in the eating disorders literature. For this book, recovery will be defined as: 1) consistently taking appropriate insulin doses, 2) not engaging in rigid dieting, over-exercise, or intentionally keeping blood glucose high, 3) eating in a flexible and healthy way most of the time, and 4) not acting on eating disorder thoughts and feelings even if you still experience them.
If you have questions or are interested in participating, please contact me at email@example.com.
Diabetes Hands Foundation's Masterlab Sessions, and the Future of Diabetes Advocacy
Executive Director Asha brown shares her experiences at the 2015 Masterlab and CWD Friends For Life Conference:
This summer has been full of traveling for me, but my favorite trip/event thus far has been the Masterlab sessions at the Friends For Life conference in Orlando, Florida. I was one of the lucky recipients of the travel scholarships offered by the Diabetes Hands Foundation, through the Diabetes Advocates program. With all of the other costs that come along with running a nonprofit, as well as our big trip to present at AADE15 this August, WAD wouldn’t have had the funding to attend Friends For Life, so I am extremely grateful to the staff at the Diabetes Hands Foundation for giving myself and We Are Diabetes this incredible opportunity! The scholarship covered the costs of travel, registration, and lodging while at the Masterlab/FFL conference. That being said, the following views and opinions are my own.
The main concept I felt I needed to share after participating in the Masterlab sessions was that there is a collective agreement among diabetes advocates that if Type 1’s and Type 2’s continue to bicker, fight, and point fingers at each other, nothing is going to change. As a diabetes community there is still a very strong (and sometimes aggressive) divide between those who live with T1D and those who live with T2D. Staying “on our side of the playground” isn’t working, and unless we can work together, we’ll never see the changes we all want, need and deserve. In order for us to see progression toward getting healthcare related bills to pass, and to see true changes in how the healthcare industry is educated on diabetes, we must stand united if we want our voices to be heard. [continue reading]
Dr. Denise Faustman Ready for Next Phase of Diabetes Vaccine Research
A phase II clinical trial testing the ability of the generic vaccine bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) to reverse advanced type 1 diabetes has received approval from the FDA! The approval of this trial, which will shortly begin enrolling qualified patients, was announced at the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) by Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Immunobiology Laboratory and principal investigator of the study.
The five-year trial will investigate whether repeat BCG vaccination can clinically improve type 1 diabetes in adults between 18 and 60 years of age who have small but still detectable levels of insulin secretion from the pancreas. We highly recommend that all our T1D friends know the factsabout this exciting trial. This is indeed very exciting news, but it's important to understand that this is only the beginning of this trial, and we are at least a decade away from truly understanding the results from phase II. We hope that those in our community who are struggling with ED-DMT1 understand that although this clinical trial does indeed offer more promise that any of the other ridiculous "cure" claims we've all read about (and that every person we know sends us a link to), one has to be alive and healthy to potentially be a part of whatever is next in Dr. Faustman's tireless dedication to finding us a cure.
If you're interested in learning more about Dr. Faustman, and would like to recieve updates on the Phase II Trail visit faustmanlab.org.
The "Double Life" of Bulimia Nervosa: A Patients' Perspective
We came across this article recently and wanted to share it here with our community. Many of our clients have not only struggled with insulin omission, but with bulimia as well. Both these types of "purging" have a great deal of shame and stigma attached to them. This article offers insight and wonderful perspective on the struggles a person with bulimia may face.
The material on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for medical advice from a qualified medical or mental health professional. The individuals associated with We Are Diabetes are not medical or mental health professionals. We Are Diabetes does not endorse any specific treatment centers, physicians, healthcare providers, mental health professionals, tests, products, services, procedures, opinions, or other information that are mentioned on the web site.
Always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare or mental health provider for advice, diagnosis and treatment of any health-related matter, including relating to diabetes and/or eating disorders. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.