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

November 23, 2014

Anti-Binge Strategies

Thanksgiving can be a really tough holiday for anyone living with T1D, but it can be especially challenging for a T1D struggling with, or in recovery from an eating disorder. We want to support our community as much as possible during this challenging time in any way that we can.

One particular resource that can be helpful to someone who is struggling with binge eating is this helpful anti-binge strategy list developed by our friends at The Joy Project. You could even print this out and put it in your purse before you head out for the day on Thursday. Or, if Thanksgiving is happening at your home, tuck this list in a spot you can go to if things start to get difficult or stressful. We know this list has helped many in the past and we hope it can be helpful to you this week!

November 18, 2014

Thank you for supporting WAD!

We want to thank everyone who donated to We Are Diabetes last Thursday on Give to the Max Day! Although we did not reach our goal, we are certainly headed in the right direction. With the right funding, We Are Diabetes can create substantial change for those who suffer from ED-DMT1. We need to educate healthcare professionals and provide concrete resources for those who work with T1Ds.

We know there is a major disconnect between the healthcare providers who work with diabetics and the T1Ds they treat who may be suffering from an eating disorder. With the right financial support, We Are Diabetes can bridge that gap. Those who suffer from ED-DMT1 should not be shamed, or dismissed, or simply labeled as "non-compliant", nor should they be sent to a treatment facility that has no understanding of the intricacies of diabetes management. Until there is awareness, education and collaboration, we will continue to see these unfortunate events occur.

We Are Diabetes accepts donation on any day, at any time, on the contact section of our website. Help us create true change in the healthcare system; be a part of our life changing mission!

November 13, 2014

Today is the Day! Support WAD!

Give to the Max Day has arrived! Please consider supporting our efforts!

November 11, 2014

Give to the Max Day is almost here!

This Thursday (November 13th) is a pretty big day for WAD. It's our very first online fundraiser! The cool thing about Give to the Max Day is that you don't have to give a lot; even a $10 donation to We Are Diabetes gives us the opportunity to win $2,000! Here's how it works: every gift made on GiveMN.org will be entered into an hourly drawing for a GiveMN Golden Ticket that is worth $2,000 to be awarded to one of its nonprofit participants. That adds up to 24 opportunities for you to help WAD receive an extra $2,000!

At the end of Give to the Max Day, one donation made on GiveMN.org will be randomly selected to receive a $20,000 Super-Sized GiveMN Golden Ticket. The more gifts (no matter how small the amount) we generate on GiveMN.org on November 13th, the more our chances increase to receive that additional $20,000 donation. We Are Diabetes has grown so much in three years with a very minimal (think nonexistent) budget, just imagine what we could do with $20,000!

You can actually schedule your gift/donation at any time by clicking here today! By scheduling your gift, you're helping We Are Diabetes to have even better odds of winning one of those Golden Tickets (schedule it for 2am, or 3am, why not). Plus, scheduling your gift will help you avoid the stress and annoyance of trying to do it on a Thursday afternoon at work during a time when your boss might see you!

November 04, 2014

Change is good!

We are thrilled to announce that our new forum (which you'll now reach via the "Community" link on our main menu) is up and running! You may notice a few other changes around the website as well: we are now proudly sharing our partners on the front page (click on their logo to be sent straight to their websites) and all of our articles will now have unique pages with comment sections.

In the past year We Are Diabetes has connected with countless diabetes organizations and we have made some very special connections. We love collaborating and sharing our ideas with other passionate organizations that are striving to make a difference in the lives of PWDs (people with diabetes)! We have exciting projects in the works with some of our partnering organizations, so please take a moment to check out their websites!

Our new community forum is dedicated to ANYONE who has questions about recovery, who needs support in taking that first step, or for someone who just needs to vent about life with T1D! We want parents or other concerned loved ones to feel safe to ask questions here, and we would love to see medical professionals join in our community and learn from first hand interaction what a T1D really battles with on a daily basis. This new forum is for YOU, so make yourself at home!

October 27, 2014

Mark Your Calendars for November 13th 2014!

We are excited to announce that We Are Diabetes will be part of the action during the upcoming Give to the Max Day, hosted by GiveMN.org on November 13th 2014! We are honored to be a part of such an important day for all nonprofit organizations in Minnesota!

Give to the Max Day was created in 2009 to launch GiveMN, a collaborative venture led by Minnesota Community Foundation and many other organizations committed to helping make our state a better place. That initial spark touched off a blast of online giving ó $14 million in 24 hours! Since then, Give to the Max Day has become an annual tradition. Every year thousands of organizations and individuals generate donations and excitement for Minnesota causes that are working to improve the quality of life for all Minnesotans. In 2013, GiveMN raised more than $17 million in 24 hours during its annual Give to the Max Day celebration.

As a participant in Give to the Max Day, We Are Diabetes is eligible for a few exciting incentives: on November 13, every gift made on GiveMN.org will be entered into an hourly drawing for a $1,000 GiveMN Golden Ticket to be awarded to a nonprofit organization. That adds up to 24 opportunities for you to help us receive an extra $1,000!

At the end of Give to the Max Day, one donation made on GiveMN.org will be randomly selected to receive a $10,000 Super-Sized GiveMN Golden Ticket. The more gifts (no matter how small the amount) we generate on GiveMN.org on November 13, the more our chances increase to receive that additional $10,000 donation. Imagine what we could do with $10,000!

Mark your calendars for November 13th and watch for updates as this date draws closer!

October 21, 2014

Finding Treatment With ED-DMT1

Last week Walden Behavioral Care's Blog featured another article written by our awesome Social Media Expert Amy Gabbert-Montag: Finding Treatment With ED-DMT1. Amy offers important advice for anyone who is struggling (and is ready to seek treatment). If you or someone you know is struggling with their diabetes and eating disordered behaviors, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at info@wearediabetes.org!

September 22, 2014

The DOC; it's more than just diabetes blogs!

The DOC (Diabetes Online Community) is an essential tool for any individual living with T1D. Whether you simply want to read blogs written by others who "get it" or get more involved in Diabetes Advocacy, there is a multitude of resources available to get involved in this inspiring community. To get started we recommend visiting tudiabetes.org and starting your own profile to connect with other PWD (people with diabetes). We also recommend visiting diabetesadvocates.org: get familiar with the advocates (almost all of them are bloggers with wonderful insight to living with diabetes) and get familiar with the issues that the Diabetes Advocates are fighting for! 

Have you ever checked out Christel Aprigliano's blog The Perfect D? Do it, you can thank us later! Have you visited Scott K. Johnson's blog recently? Or Kim Vlasnik's fantastic blog Texting My Pancreas? There are so many unique and inspiring diabetes blogs out there to discover!

Living with diabetes is hard, but finding support from others who live with diabetes, and getting active in the DOC is one of the best ways to remind yourself that you are not alone!

August 25, 2014

Diabulimia: A Personal Account

This article was originally posted on Insulin Nation on August 25th 2014 and was written by Meghan Tinkler. We want to extend our gratitude to Meghan for being brave enough to share her current struggles so openly and honestly!

I have been struggling with diabulimia since 2001. Diabulimia, to me, is a mental disorder that tricks your mind into thinking you are overweight from taking insulin, and that by skipping insulin or taking it in small amounts, the weight will simply fall off.

I canít tell you how many times I have had my condition dismissed as just a mental thing. Of course it is. Itís a mental thing that is really hard to ignore or cure. I was 15 years old when I figured out that taking less insulin meant I would lose weight. Iím now 28, and I still struggle.
Diabulimia terrifies me, but I havenít yet been able to stop. Iíve seen what it does to people with Type 1 diabetes first-hand. Iíve met women with gastric pacers, neurogenic bladders, and amputations. It scares me into stopping temporarily; Iíll have maybe 2 great days of faithful insulin administration, and then I will fall back into old habits.

My eating disorder reached its nadir with a broken continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and some bad insulin. Previously, I had been managing my diabetes with a Dexcom CGM and a Medtronic insulin pump. Somehow, I ended up with a spoiled vial of insulin, and I was constantly frustrated with the blood sugar graphs I was getting from my Dexcom. Not two weeks later, the Dexcom transmitter died. Just shut down. I had to purchase a new one, and I chose not to do it.

It was a conscious plan to stop taking care of myself. I was burnt out and fed up. I stopped checking my blood sugars, and I just wore the insulin pump for show. I didnít bolus for my meals or snacks. I would sometimes test my blood sugar out of curiosity, and laugh at the number that greeted me. Five hundreds, four hundreds.

My endocrinologist knew exactly what I was doing. She never judged me for what I do ó sheís well-versed with diabulimia and knows it is associated with mental illness and Type 1 diabetes. Over time she helped me form a plan to combat my eating disorder. The plan is simple Ė a low-carb diet with lots of healthy fat, proteins, and vegetables.

Itís been almost three months since we started the plan, and for the most part, Iím sticking with it. Iíll occasionally have days where I donít test my blood sugar, or I eat 50 or more grams of carbohydrates per day, but Iím taking my insulin more often and I now even exercise, thanks to having more energy.
Having my friends and family support me through this has been invaluable. Itís also more than I deserve for what I have put them through ó the constant lying and hiding. Blogging about my experience with Type 1 diabetes and diabulimia also has been a form of therapy for me. Iím happy to know that Iím not alone in this, that itís pretty common among girls and women with Type 1.

Every time I give in to diabulimia, it feels like Iím giving up. What I have come to find out is that falling down is just another valuable learning experience. As I write this entry, today is a good day. My blood sugars havenít gone above 130 mg/dL. On days like this, I feel like I can do anything, and thatís reason enough for me to keep trying. And thatís what Iím going to do ó keep trying.

August 21, 2014

Common Health Problems When Recovering from Eating Disorders and Type 1 Diabetes

This article first appeared on Walden Behavioral Care's Blog and was written by WAD's Social Media Expert Amy Gabbert- Montag.

When I first started eating disorder treatment in 2008, I had an idea of what it would be like: I would go see a therapist for a month or so, they would tell me what was wrong with me, instruct me on how to fix it, and I would magically stop using eating disorder symptoms. I expected I would be done with treatment in a month or two.

Of course, that was not the case. In reality, eating disorder treatment is arduous, often lengthy, and full of ups and downs. In addition to seeing a therapist to work on mental health issues, an important part of treatment is mending your physical health. When I look back, I wish I would have known what to expect physically during that time. While there are more resources now than there was when I entered treatment in 2008, there is still a lack of information about ED-DMT1 (eating disorder and diabetes metillus type 1) and how it differs from other eating disorders. Many of the individuals I speak with who struggle with diabetes and an eating disorder have shared their distress when reintroducing insulin into their bodies, and how they wish theyíd have known that some of the changes they experienced were to be expected.

Here are some common issues that people in treatment with ED-DMT1 encounter:

1. Insulin edema
Perhaps one of the most difficult initial hurdles to overcome when in treatment with ED-DMT1 is insulin edema or water retention. Water usually collects in the lower extremities and sometimes your midsection. Due to the constant state of dehydration due to high blood sugars, the body may want to hold on to as much water as possible.Additionally, the extra water is needed to aid in cell repair and to regulate liver and kidney function. Edema may be uncomfortable and even be painful at times. If you are experiencing edema, there are some steps you can take to combat its effects: elevating your feet, wear compression socks, and, though it may sound counterproductive, drink plenty of water. Your doctor may also prescribe medication if the swelling is severe. Most importantly, continue with your insulin regime and meal plan.

Before I sought professional help, I would occasionally make an attempt to take insulin regularly.  However, the edema I experienced was highly distressing and I would engage in eating disordered symptoms again in order to get rid of the excess water. Though symptom use is tempting in order to alleviatethe edema, doing so will only prolong the process of getting your body back to normal. After being in recovery for several years, I no longer have edema. The water weight that I initially put on dissipated. Remember, insulin edema is temporary.

2. Gastrointestinal distress
Reintroducing insulin is also associated with gastrointestinal problems. It is common for ED-DMT1 patients to experience a variety of gastric issues, including bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Without a sufficient amount of insulin in the body, the digestive system is unable to move food through, and this is why these symptoms happen. Gastroparesis is another gastric issue that can arise. Gastroparesis is a diabetes complication that occurs when the nerves that control the emptying of the stomach into the intestines get damaged. The result is that food stays in your stomach for an extended period of time, which often results in gastrointestinal problems.

Even with gastroparesis, there are medications and tweaks to oneís diet to reduce these symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor or dietitian to discuss these options. With time, insulin, and nutrition, and perhaps some medication, these symptoms do get better!

3. ďSymptomatic Relative HypoglycemiaĒ
Our bodies are incredible at adapting to various environments and states of being (WC). When a person regularly omits insulin, their body becomes accustomed to high blood sugars. Thus, the state of hyperglycemia feels ďnormal.Ē When a person begins to administer insulin on a regular basis, it takes the body some time to get used to in-range blood sugars. Itís quite common for ED-DMT1 patients to feel low when their blood sugar is in their target range. Doctors and clinicians refer to this as symptomatic relative hypoglycemia (Critchley, 2014). Feeling like one is hypoglycemic is extremely uncomfortable and may deter a person from continuing to carefully monitor their blood sugars and take insulin. Providers have found that slowly lowering a patientís blood sugars is most effective, especially if the patient is used to being severely hyperglycemic on a regular basis (Critchley, 2014).

4. An increase in symptoms of diabetes complications
As most people with diabetes are aware, diabetes can wreak havoc on your entire body and cause a myriad of complications. When in treatment for ED-DMT1, it is not uncommon to find that, if you have developed complications, they tend to get worse before they get better. Complications do get better with consistent blood sugar management and nutrition. Iíve dealt with several complications, including peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy, and gastroparesis. Iíve been on various medications and undergone several procedures to combat these complications. Now, my eyes are stable, I no longer need medication to combat the nerve pain in my feet, and my gastroparesis only causes flare-ups ever now and again. Our bodies have an amazing ability to heal.

I know firsthand how frustrating and uncomfortable it is to sit through these changes and allow your body to normalize and abstain from eating disorder symptoms. It can feel like your body will never get back to normal. I can assure you that, with time and consistent insulin injections and nutrition, your body will normalize. Eating disorder treatment has many ups and downs, and itís ok for feel frustrated, angry, or sad about these changes. It is crucial to surround yourself with a supportive treatment team and loved ones. This time of fluctuation and change can be extremely difficult to handle by oneself.

Keep in mind that there is always hope. I often felt so hopeless at times I didnít think I could go on. Somehow, I found that shred of hope necessary to keep going. I encourage you to find that for yourself.

If you need extra support or resources about ED-DMT1, do not hesitate to contact We Are Diabetes.

Critchley, S., Meier, M., & Taylor, D. (2014, March 1). Eating Disorders and Type 1 Diabetes: Practical Approaches to Treatment. Practical Diabetology, 18-24.

Parkin, C. Inpatient Management of Eating Disorders in Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Spectrum, 22, 153- 158.

Parkin, C. Outpatient Management of Eating Disorders in Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Spectrum, 22, 147-152.

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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.