Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Such a shame

I had a good weekend in many ways - most notably that I have not had another surprise attack from the binge monster since last Monday (that I whined posted about last Thursday), and for that I'm grateful. My binge resulted in 3 refound pounds that I've lost again, but no further lost. It's really stunning how easy it is to regain a few pounds from a high carb binge, yet how hard it is, at the overripe age of 58, to lose it. Back in the day, I could knock of those pounds in 24 hours by very lean eating, running and overall good behavior. Yet another reason for the adage "Aging isn't for sissies." Amen.

Okay - I started this post yesterday and got so busy at work that I never got back to it. I'm happy to say that I had another binge free day yesterday to add to what I wrote of above.

Before I continue with the regular portion of my post, it seems relevant to tell part of what got me so busy at work yesterday that derailed my post, and some of my usual work tasks. One of our social workers, a lean and fit, bright, late 20's guy came into my office and said he was sorry to bother me, but he felt like crap. He reported bad brain fog, tingling hands and feet, and feeling very shaky. He said he's experienced this on and off for several months, but that it worsened over the weekend, and then yesterday was particularly bad to the point where he couldn't focus well on his work. He also reported a very strong family history of diabetes - sibs, parents, grandparents and beyond. Most of them Type 2, and all diagnosed pretty young.

I asked if he'd eaten breakfast - "No." Not even milk in coffee? "Just the powdered stuff." So I immediately checked his blood sugar, and it was 56!!! This is pretty low - a good range is 70-95. 60s are starting to get dicey, and below that begins to start showing the exact symptoms he reported - esp. the shakiness and brainfog. (Low blood sugar is a serious condition, potentially lethal. It requires prompt treatment.) So I got him a can of real coke to drink, plus a cup of sweetened applesauce. After 20 minutes, I checked again, and his sugar was only up to 58. His heart was racing (also a symptom), so then he ate a Tasty Kake and another can of coke. 30 minutes later his blood sugar finally got to 101, and he said he was feeling more normal. Whew! At that point it was safe to let him drive home and call his doctor and report all this stuff.

He's back this morning - having set up an appointment with his doc for later today, having eaten a good breakfast, and carrying both simple and complex carbs with him - just in case. Chances are, he's going to turn up with Type 2, or for now with a clearly revealed hypoglycemia that is often a precursor to the onset of full on Diabetes. Big stuff.

Why I share this is because this guy is young, healthy, active, lean, works out...lives an exemplary lifestyle, and the least likely person one would expect to be experiencing early signs of diabetes at such a young age. And guess what - in all the time I spent with him yesterday and talking with him this morning, there is one huge thing missing from his experience of all this that I cannot claim for myself...SHAME. He isn't ashamed and beating himself up for somehow doing this to himself. His absence of shame is as palpable as the presence of shame in me for having hypertension (since early 30s when I was very lean and fit), and for my own Type 2 that has developed in the last 6 years.

It's easy for me to explain his absence of shame by noting his lifestyle. Yet when my blood pressure got too high back in my most fit and healthy days (which runs in both sides of my family), before I spent many years abusing my body with booze and food, I DID feel shame. As though it's hard-wired into my bone marrow. Argh...childhood, "issues", old baggage...wherever it came from, shame has not been my friend. Shame does not motivate, or engender compassion - it does the opposite. It skews my self appraisal, rendering me full of self disgust and self pummeling. I'm better than I was, but have a long way to go. It's funny how something can come into awareness from such a random source.

Well, that's enough from me today...I had no intention of going into all that. The realization of the shame issue sort of came into awareness as I sat typing. I will spare you all and not make this post even longer than it already is. I guess this was what needed to come out today. Have a good Tuesday, friends!


  1. I have had guilt over just about every illness, sure I've brought whatever it was on with my weight. How interesting that your social worker is simply dealing with his problem...what a novel approach!!! Glad you were able to help him - sounds like a pretty scary thing is going on.

    1. Shelley, I can so relate to your comment...in my family, any illness was considered a character flaw and/or something to be "blamed" for. You weren't "taking care of yourself, "which in my case was the equivalent of "because you're fat."

  2. I have so much to say about this post! One of my sisters co-workers is diabetic. She felt ashamed of having it because she thought that people would judge her because she was overweight.

    I had to tell her that infants are born with diabetes, children get it in childhood and even "skinny" people get it. So at an office meeting she felt "obligated" to eat the donut because then otherwise people would start asking questions.

    Mind you, this woman has blood sugars in the 300-400 range - every day! I am working with her on nutrition and such, not that I an expert or not, but at least hopefully she'll make better decisions.

    That being said I woke up at 1:30 in the morning with a blood sugar of 52. Thankfully my husband happened to stay up and watch a movie and fell asleep in the living room and then tripped over the dog to get into bed to wake me up - then I knew I was off.

    That's probably my biggest fear is that my blood sugar will drop so much and I won't wake up. :(

    Glad you were there to help you co-worker!! Hugs!

  3. I called these last two, shame and remorse, both very good posts. I put a link up to both of them.

  4. Hi Leslie,
    Very good post and so relevant for those of us who struggle with weight. I am very close (borderline) to being Type 2, but I would never disclose it to any of my friends because I am ashamed and fearful of being blamed, even in the silent thoughts of others. Both of my grandmothers were Type 2, and only one was overweight, so I am predisposed. However, I also know that weight loss would very likely put me in the normal range, so I am working toward that goal.

    Many of us who feel shame for so many reasons have had childhoods in which shaming was a frequent occurrance. I know that is my situation--even though it may not be for you or others.

    Shame is a feeling that goes way down deep, and it is never positive. It only reinforces the negative feelings and creates more clandestine, unwanted behaviors. It can keep chronic overeating alive and well for some of us. This is a very good topic--thanks for sharing.

  5. Awesome post Leslie...one to which I very much relate. I remember when I was introduced to that kind of objectivity. The fitness guru at eDiets is a wonderful guy named Raphael Calzadilla and he's an all-natural body builder. He was able to be SO objective about his body and how he performed in competitions. He never felt shame, It's a lesson I'll never forget, even though I am not always able to live it.

  6. I identify with that feeling of shame. Have you ever told someone that so-and-so had lung cancer. The first thing they ask is "did he/she smoke?" If they did there is that look that says it is their own fault. I saw that on people's faces when I had health issues at over 300 pounds. I felt it when I was put in Blood pressure medication and I feel it now (sometimes) when my loose skin is exposed - and when my legs are exposed with all my veins in their glory.
    Shame never did me a damn bit of good. It only locked me into negativity. When I feel myself start to go there I have to take an action and stay in the positive.


  7. You ok? Has it really been 6 DAYS since you last posted? Come back. :)