Couch Potatoes and Twinkies

By Courtney | 11 Rookie Marks »

I am normally fairly sympathetic towards other diabetics, that is, I’m fairly sympathetic towards other Type 1 diabetics. Type 2 diabetics, I mostly have no sympathy for, mainly because it’s been my experience that if you have type 2 diabetes you’re a Twinkie eating couch potato that was told you had to get out and exercise and eat healthier and you never did. For you, I have no sympathy. It is because of these types of diabetics (type 2 diabetics) that a certain person (read: fourth grade teacher) when she found out that I had gotten diabetes over the summer between fourth and fifth grade said “it was all that sugar you used to eat”. Mind you that I didn’t eat much sugar in my younger years and I don’t exactly eat much sugar now in my older years either. I was lucky if I could trade my sammich or fruit for a brownie with another student and it didn’t happen often. Sugar was not a normal thing on my diet. It was saved for special occasions. No, I did not get diabetes because of a diet issue and I sure as hell didn’t get it because I was as inactive as a slug lying on the pavement. I got it because my body attacked itself. My beta cells that produced insulin were destroyed by my very own immune system. I have an autoimmune disease, not a disease caused by my horrid eating habits (that I don’t and never had had).

Type 1 diabetes is clearly not caused by bad eating habits or a sedentary lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes on the other hand is, and it is for the Type 2 diabetics that I have little to no sympathy for. It is (in my opinion) that Type 2 diabetics bring diabetes upon themselves due to their health and unhealthy habits. It is the Type 2 diabetics that bring so much misunderstanding of this disease to the people and let people think that everyone brought it upon themselves. The world (read: me) thinks that diabetics are lazy couch potatoes that sit around eating Twinkies and that we deserve to live the rest of our lives with taking insulin via injections and the side effect of increased health risks because we don’t take care of ourselves. I guess I got on my soapbox; I’m stepping off it now. Actually, I’m not, I’m frustrated by Type 2 diabetics, and the misconceptions caused by them, and it’s a misconception and frustration that all Type 1 diabetics have to live with, and then we have to try to correct it. Just because some people (read: Type 2 diabetics) got diabetes because of their sedentary lifestyle and horrid eating habits doesn’t mean that we all did. And actually, I’m being a little harsh perhaps, because you don’t have to be a Twinkie eating couch potato to get Type 2 diabetes, but some people were/are, others were not.

It really frustrates me that there are people in my family that are pre-diabetic because of of their weight which is an attribute of their poor eating habits and lack of exercise and they don’t care. It frustrates that they’ve known what diabetes has done to me and how I’ve had to fight with it for 15 years and all the things I’ve had to do to stay alive and they know most the things I haven’t done that have almost killed me and yet they don’t correct what they’re doing. It frustrates me that people that are pre-diabetic are told that they need to eat better and get more exercise if they don’t want to be a full fledged insulin dependent diabetic and they don’t heed what the doctors tell them and thus they experience what Type 1 diabetics experience from the moment they’re diagnosed. It frustrates me that they’re already having to check their blood once a day and yet it wouldn’t bother them if they had to check more. IDIOTS is all I ever want to scream, do you not know what you’re doing by not taking care of yourself, that maybe if you ate better and exercised a little you’d be better off than I ever was when I was diagnosed with diabetes. Hell, they’re better off right now than I ever was after I was diagnosed with diabetes. I just don’t understand why, in today’s day and age, people don’t understand what they’re doing to themselves when they don’t take care of themselves. Why they don’t take the second chance that was given to them when the doctors say “you need to eat better, you need to exercise, you can control this” why they feel the need to let it get to the point where they’re taking pills and then after the pills they let it go a little bit further to where they’re taking shots and then all of the sudden they feel the need to proclaim themselves as a Type 1 diabetic. No, you’re not a Type 1 diabetic, you never were, and you never will be. You went from being a Type 2 diabetic to an insulin dependent Type 2 diabetic (all because of your stupidity if I do say so myself.)

My frustration with Type 2 diabetics stems from what I know, couch potatoes and Twinkies, and these are the diabetics I have no sympathy for. There are many of us (Type 1 diabetics) that didn’t bring diabetes upon ourselves, and I just can’t understand why someone would bring it upon their selves, especially when they’re given the chance to control it before it gets so out of control that they’re pushed into the level of care that Type 1 diabetics have to give themselves (i.e. shots, constant blood glucose monitoring)…Type 2 diabetes is preventable, Type 1 is not…there’s no reason that the healthy, non-diabetics (who aren’t pre-disposed for Type 1 diabetes) can’t prevent this disease from entering their lives…

This is excerpt from my NaNoWriMo project: Confessions of a Type 1 Diabetic. For the curious, it’s 1020 words bringing my NaNoWriMo total to 7597 words.

11 Rookie Marks On Couch Potatoes and Twinkies

  1. I share some of your same frustrations with the misconceptions, but know that type 2 diabetics are also predisposed to the disease and many have a deep family history of t2 diabetes. If all overweight or inactive couch potatoes got diabetes, there’d be a hell of a lot more diabetics out there.

    change is hard. really hard. and i sometimes wonder if i was diagnosed later in life as opposed to as a kid, if it’d be easier or harder for me. i wouldn’t wish type 1 or type 2 diabetes on anyone, but i sure do wish they had different names and that people weren’t so ignorant.

    ...said amylia on November 6th, 2007
  2. I always hear people say that type 2 is caused more by genetics than by what foods people eat or how much they weigh, but it’s so hard to believe that from the people I’ve seen. The only type 2s I’ve ever known have been severely overweight and sedentary. (And in denial) When I check my blood sugar in front of them they look at me as if I grew two heads and tell me that they, too have a “touch of sugar”. I’m sure that somewhere out there, however, there are type 2s who are thin and active, but I have yet to meet one. (And I bet that they are actually misdiagnosed.)

    ...said amber on November 6th, 2007
  3. Whoa!!!!! When I was first diagnosed at 50, as a T1, I was sent to a class at the local hospital. I was the only T1 out of 30 or so. Everyone else a T2…and from what I thought I observed, Twinkie eating couch potatoes…IN DENIAL. Some of them had been diagnosed years earlier and hadn’t paid a bit of attention until they went blind, had a stroke, etc. I wanted to cry. I educated myself about the disease. I already exercised, I already ate healthfully and maintained a healthy weight….give me what you have if you are going to abuse your health.

    I resent the way we are all lumped together….I am a healthy living person (despite a fondness for margarita’s)…don’t blame me for this disease. Wilford Brimley is the enemy.. I DO NOT HAVE WHAT HE HAS!!!!!(Had? is he dead?)

    However, from Tudiabetes, I have learned that there are some poor folks predisposed to T2 that get it regardless of lifestyle. Also, as smug as I may feel, I am not doing all I could to be healthy…far from it. I wish that the public saw us as having two differing ilnesses but, in some ways,we are all in this together.

    Good luck to you….

    ...said elaine on November 12th, 2007
  4. Hold on a second here, I was just diagnosed with type 2 and I don’t eat junkfood or sugar… and I don’t even have a couch! I exercise (hiking and kickboxing) and eat fairly well … maybe a little two much good cheese or an extra glass of red wine here or there, but certainly not a sedantary junk food abundant lifestyle. At most I am 10lbs overweight. I just turned 50 so maybe that has something to do with it. I don’t feel I have done anything to deserve this disease. Now would be a good time to apoligize.

    ...said Mark S. Henry on September 18th, 2008
  5. Mark,

    Thank you for coming and reading my blog.

    While you may think you deserve an apology from me, you won’t get one. If you had taken the time to fully read my entry about “Couch Potatoes and Twinkies” you would have picked up on the fact that it’s been MY experience, based on all the Type 2 Diabetics in MY life that they eat poorly and they’re very sedentary in their lifestyles.

    You might also have noticed that I did comment about how I may have been being a little harsh because it’s not in all cases that an unhealthly lifestyle will lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

    So, no, you will not get an apology from me, but I will congratulate you on being a Type 2 Diabetic that didn’t stem from an unhealthy lifestyle. And I wish you well on your journey as a Diabetic, and I hope that you will continue to be healthy so that you don’t ever become an Insulin Dependent Type 2 Diabetic.

    In fact, I hope that you will see that you have an opportunity to take your health to a level such that you can be free from any form of medications needed to manage your diabetes.

    Best Wishes,

    ...said Courtney on September 21st, 2008
  6. i agree with every word ou say i hate the fact that we are in the same sentence as a type1 diabetic they really annoy me it shud be called sumthing else if ur a type 2 there shud be two completly diffrent names for it because they are two completly diffrent medical conditions us type 1 ppl have a disease those type 2 have a bad habbit ilness i say ilness because an ilness is sumthin u can get better fom u can recover if liten to the doctors you cant however recover from a disease a tpe 2 wudnt no wat to do if they lived the life as a type 1 for a day to have to inject ur self just to eat and prick urself in the finger numerous times a then have to deal with hypos or dka’s certin things in life you cant do ne more i was an airhostess until i got this horrible disease and now because of it i cant work as one ne more a risk to safet apparently it gets me so angry i only wish i had type 2 because then i cud have had the chance to not have this horrible thing inflicted on me i hate the ignorance of people who think tpe 1′s are the same and are life is the same i hate that i have to educate them and that i have to defend myself and explain that what i have is a disease one that wlll most probaly kill me and to not get the respect and understanding of dealing with it because type 2 has tpe casted diabetes

    ...said kelly on February 21st, 2009
  7. Can elaine really have just been dx T1 at 50? Though it would have had hypo episode by then.

    ...said hmmm... on March 12th, 2009
  8. Hello there,

    The truth is that people can be diagnosed with T1 in their later years. They’re finding more and more patients that are being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes well after the “usual” onset age. They’re calling it Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA).


    ...said Courtney on March 25th, 2009
  9. Wow. I love this article. Basically it says everything that I, and most Type 1 diabetics think and feel, even if we don’t always say it in public (I’m fearless so I do;).

    Type 2 diabetes only became a problem recently, due to rising obesity rates and poor diet. Stop making excuses and blaming genes, for all of those out there in denial. If someone with a family history of lung cancer smoked and got lung cancer, would you not blame them for being a moron? Hello! If you know that you have the genes for a disease, shouldn’t you being doing MORE to prevent it and not less (while blaming your genes as you eat your 6th bucket of KFC)?

    If little changes in diet and weight loss can prevent 90% of Type 2 diabetes cases, what possible excuse could you have? None. I agree that Type 2 diabetics don’t deserve any help or sympathy. Especially those who refuse to listen to medical advice. Try living as Type 1 diabetic for a day…you’d fall over dead.

    Frankly, a lifestyle disease should not be lumped in with an autoimmune disease. The etiology of cellular insulin resistance/metabolic dysfunction and high levels of insulin (Type 2) compared to complete lack of insulin due to autoimmune beta cell destruction (Type 1) are complete opposites that simply share some symptoms.

    The ignorance affects us poor Type 1s. Type 1 diabetics get horrible care even from healthcare providers, as most don’t realize that they are typically extremely insulin sensitive, require constant monitoring, adjustment, and background insulin, are prone to severe hypos due to insulin sensitivity (no resistance like Type 2s) and alpha cell dysfunction (Type 2s still can secrete glucagon, Type 1s often can’t), and often have other comorbid autoimmune diseases more common in Type 1 diabetics (Celiac, Hashimoto’s, Addisons, etc). Furthermore, research suggests that some complications in Type 1 diabetics may be autoimmune in nature. So packing up Type 1s with a bunch of toxic Big Pharma Rxs meant to lower cholesterol in obese Type 2s may do nothing to help heart disease in Type 1s.

    I tell people I have autoimmune insulin deficiency, or that I was “born with” an extremely rare form of severe diabetes. There is no other way to get through the dense heads of the public and idiotic healthcare staff (usually general duty nurses who are the stupidest). If you are a Type 1 diabetic, the hospital might kill you, so do everything that you can to stay out of it.

    I do everything in my power to live a ridiculously healthy lifestyle and manage my condition, yet it could kill me at any time. A lifetime of this disease (most Type 2s are lucky enough to be diagnosed in middle age or later), combined with 12 fingersticks per day, being hooked up to continuous glucose monitors and pumps, taking 6 injections per day before the pump, and a history of seizures and constantly unstable blood glucose levels no matter how hard I try pisses me right off that some fat Type 2 can whine about not being able to eat donuts and taking 4 pills per day (if they decide to take their meds that week). Screw you. And I don’t even have any diabetes complications yet. Can’t wait for that. I probably will go blind if I try to start a family and get pregnant.

    Lastly, to the small presumably offended “fit, thin Type 2 diabetics”, you more than likely do NOT have Type 2 diabetes. I’d be pissed to be lumped in with the fat Type 2 diabetics too.

    You likely have MODY (especially if you have a strong family history of “Type 2″ diabetes in your family and everyone is thin), a rare genetic form of diabetes that is not T1 or T2.

    Or you have autoimmune/Type 1 diabetes, but were misdiagnosed due to your age. Happens a lot, sadly. Some people even die because their doctors starts them on pills when they are actually Type 1 and need insulin to prevent sudden coma and death.

    Or, you have diabetes as a side effect of another illness (such as PCOS) and/or medication. Antidepressants and related meds are linked to insulin resistance but Big Pharma doesn’t like to advertise that. People who take prescription steroids are also at risk.

    Just know that if you are a thin, fit, healthy eating Type 2 diabetic, you are either not really a Type 2 diabetic, or you are in the extreme minority.

    I can also say that every single Type 2 diabetic that I personally know is disgustingly overweight/obese, eats crap all day long, never exercises, and basically lives like a pig. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

    ...said Sarah on December 8th, 2009

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