Shame around food and eating

Hey everyone,

I was wondering if there's anyone around here who feels a sense of shame over food and eating. I feel like every single bite is a sin! Every scrap of food I put in my mouth feels like a real crime, and I just deal with so much shame over food. I feel like it's just plain WRONG for me to eat. I have been hospitalized in the past for eating disorders, and I know the diabetes was a major catalyst for those behaviors. Does anyone else feel upset about food and eating? Do you feel like, because there is so much emphasis on food in diabetes, that eating is a bad thing to do? I feel like I don't deserve a single bite. I would like to know I'm not alone, or at least a few words of advice. I would like to think that I deserve to eat just as much as a person without diabetes, but I can't get that through my head!



You're definitely not alone.  Diabetics are 2 to 3 times more likely to struggle with eating disorders.  It makes sense because to manage diabetes we have to develop a weird preoccupation with food.  Diabetes also messes with our hunger signals.

Eating disorders are all in your head, but they affect your whole life.  They are secretive and selfish and can take over and ruin everything important to you.  Don't try to convince yourself otherwise.  

My advice is to do whatever you have to to deal with your disordered thinking about food NOW.  It won't magically go away on its own.  I've wasted years of my life screwing around with eating disorders and the older you get the harder it is to break bad habits.  

Over the years I've struggled with it all.  As a kid I would sneak food to prove I didn't have to be on a diabetic meal plan.  As a young teen I skipped shots (diabulemia), then when I got caught doing that I switched to binging and throwing up.  I got a brief break in late high school and college (stupidly because I was more focused on drinking and partying than on food).  In my mid-20's I got my diabetes in better control and gained weight, so I starved myself and used crazy workouts for a little over a year until my doctor threatened to hospitalize me.  Once I got a little older and got an insulin pump, I started just binging and taking insulin to cover all of the food I was eating.  It was like I made up for all the desserts and "forbidden" foods from my youth by gorging on them at every opportunity.  As an adult I would always get a break from my weird eating when I made a big change by moving to a new city or starting a new job, and later when I was pregnant.  Those breaks made me think I was finally cured, but in reality I've eventually always gone back to either eating way too much or too little.  Now I'm almost 40 and did counseling a couple years ago that gave me perspective on the emotional part (to stop using food as a coping mechanism, and to learn more adult ways to deal with stress and problems).  I also became a Christian about 10 years ago, which really helped me see that we all struggle with sin and that it takes different forms in different people, for me it's food.  I'm mostly free of the compulsion to starve or binge, but after so many years of disordered eating I was clueless of what or how much I should eat.  So in the last year I joined Weight Watchers to learn how to eat more normally.

When I was 15 I found an eating disorder clinic in my area and asked my mom if I could get treatment.  She told me I should deal with the problem on my own and that as long as I was a healthy weight, what was the problem?   She's since apologized to me and said she was having her own food struggles (what woman doesn't?) and felt like acknowledging my problem would make it real.  Trust me, it was real and I wish I had dealt with the issue then and saved myself 25 years of trouble.  

So don't mess around.  Fight this with everything you have.  Don't be secretive about what you're doing.  Talk to your parents and doctor.  Read books, seek out helpful websites like this one from a type 1 in the UK who struggles with bulemia.

Take care and let us know how you're doing.   -Jenna


Thank you so much for your long reply. I really need reminders like yours that I am far from isolated in these upsetting feelings. I know it is hard to be a woman (I'm nineteen) in any and all areas related to the human body, but diabetes smears on a whole other layer. I have gotten some treatment here and there, but sometimes I find myself in a great deal of pain.

I am so glad you mentioned that you are a Christian. I am too, and hate that I sin through eating disorders.

Thank you so much for answering. It helped a lot. I'm glad you've been doing well lately too.


Emily, an eating disorder is not a sin. It's an illness. Try not to be so tough on yourself and try to get some good treatment.

Thank you, Terry. I really do appreciate those words. I'm in counseling right now, which helps. I think the eating disorder comes and goes in waves, but unfortunately, the shame around food is ALWAYS there. I haven't been able to shake that off since I was eleven, when I was first diagnosed.

Maybe these links can help.

Thanks, Terry, these look really good. It is nice to know I'm not alone in such awful feelings.

[quote user="Emily"]


Thank you so much for your long reply. I really need reminders like yours that I am far from isolated in these upsetting feelings. I know it is hard to be a woman (I'm nineteen) in any and all areas related to the human body, but diabetes smears on a whole other layer. I have gotten some treatment here and there, but sometimes I find myself in a great deal of pain.

I am so glad you mentioned that you are a Christian. I am too, and hate that I sin through eating disorders.

Thank you so much for answering. It helped a lot. I'm glad you've been doing well lately too.




Sorry I didn't respond sooner.  I know exactly what you mean.  A non-Christian doesn't understand that we all sin in different ways.  Glutony/food obsession is a sin, just as much as pride or greed or any of the other things God warns us about.  It gets in the way of our relationship with God and keeps us from being the people we're supposed to be.

I know what it's like to ask God to forgive me for being wrong with food and then to keep doing it again... and again... and again.  It feels like God must get tired of hearing the same prayer.  But I know that God doesn't give up and that he can easily overcome any problem that seems big to me.  We all have a selfish human nature.  But the cool thing is that Jesus said, "It is finished," when he died for our sins.  We need to repent but know that God 100% has forgiven us.  He loves us and is patient and he can redeem us.  

Sin takes you further than you want to go and keeps you longer than you want to stay.  It lies to you and tries to tempt you into thinking it's no big deal.  In my own struggle I realized I was holding back a little of my eating disorder.  Frankly, it was a security blanket and  I couldn't picture my daily life without it.  And I got a power trip out of not eating (you know that really light, powerful feeling you get from being completely empty?) and I liked the calm, overfull feeling I'd get from binging.  But feelings aren't real.  I'm still struggling, but I'm trying hard to give up my deluded thinking.  And I know that no matter how appealing it is at first, sin will wreck a person.

The great news is that God answers prayers and as Christians we have the Holy Spirit to protect and guide us.  Pray to be redeemed and to be the person God wants you to be.  Try to be Christ focused instead of trying NOT to obsess about food.  Pray each time you eat for it to be nourishing and healthy.  Ask God for people, counselors, books that can help you have freedom.    

Getting free from any sin isn't easy but I know it's possible.  You may be one of the lucky people who immediately makes a change or you may be like me and continually go back and forth between the waves of the eating disorder and being cured of it.  All that I know is that I'm going to keep fighting.  When we both have freedom we are going to be great testimonies to God's ability to redeem people.  And who knows how He may be able to use us to help others who are struggling?  I can't wait to find out. =)

Take care and God bless you.  -Jenna


All I can say is THANK YOU and you totally made my day. My religion means a lot to me, and I'm glad you took the time to remind me that God cares very much.


Hi, I would like to share about my daughter lexi and her eating disorder. Lexi is currently 17 and living with type 1 diabetes for 16 years. The thought of eating disorders and type 1 diabetes never occurred to me until she was diagnosed two years ago. Alexis was "spilling" which is keeping blood sugars at high levels to pass ketones so she could lose weight and not bolus at all with insulin. Not understanding at the time that what she was doing was  considered an eating disorder. We thought she was being irresponsible. In essence she was being irresponsible as she did not understand what it was doing to her body organs. Her diabetes educator and her counselor help her to balance her feelings of not being in control and dealing with diabetes. It was explained to us that her behavior was the only way she could respond and feel like she had control over something. Now we are blessed with a counselor who herself has been living with type 1 diabetes and knows all the tricks to diabetes and is able to relate to our daughter on a level that even as her mom I can't understand exactly how she feels. As a parent I feel frustrated because I only understand as a bystander and can only give her love, guidance and the freedom to call her diabetes educator and counselor as much as she feels she needs them without checking with me. So she can feel at ease to discuss things she may not want to discuss with me.

We have always had a place in our  fridge for alexis for zero carb foods so if she felt like snacking that she could still have something to eat. I have recently showed her weight watchers for recipes and they have the carb counts on their recipes as she prepares for college that she can be independent and learn how to eat and calculate things. Food for a diabetic should not be a thing to feel guilty about. No one is perfect and we all keep learning new things. Alexis eats what she wants to eat.  Portion and frequency of a few items do come into play but for the most part she eat has always eaten like "normal" people.  

As for as sinning, God only gives us what we can handle and we learn and get stronger.  I think it would be beneficial to ask your diabetes educator if there is a support group for diabetes and eating disorders. It is more prominent that I thought.  I really hope I was able to help. Hang in there!

Thank you so much, Mrs. Woitte. Your story was very helpful. I realize I really am not alone in this. That's an incredible realization.

I hope your daughter continues to feel strong and eat well. She deserves it!

Oh wow.  I just came here to ask all you experts how to stop this from happening to my 11 year old.  Mary was diagnosed with T1 about 6 weeks ago.  Yesterday she had so little food I was trying hard not to scream at her.  Or even point it out.  Around 2, I finally made her some crackers and cheese because she hadn't eaten yet.  She is still keeping tabs on her sugar, but she has been slowly trying to avoid insulin so she eats tiny snacks.   At bedtime, she asked me if she should be worried because she isn't hungry.   As an overweight person with Type 2, I have a  hard time.   I want her to stay a healthy weight.  I admire that she only eats when she feels hunger, but I am concerend she is pushing the hunger away and not acknowledging it because she gained 8 pounds since her diagnosis, which she needed, as she had lost 10 before being diagnosed.  I am struggling not to make a big deal out of this in front of her, but I need guidance.  

And Emily, I will say an extra prayer for you today, but I think you sound very stong and mature.  And I admire that.  Keep your chin up.  Diane

Thank you so much, Diane. I will say a prayer for your daughter Mary (I love that name, by the way). It's true that type 1 puts so much focus on food that it really is easy to say to yourself, "I should avoid food altogether because it is clearly an evil thing." And the loss/gain thing after you're diagnosed is also very painful. Let us know how she's doing.

Hi guys,

I’m very new to this group…I was diagnosed at 19, and I’m almost 29 now, but have struggled a lot with accepting my type 1 diabetes and taking care of it. Part of the reason for that is an eating disorder that has been with me for most of my life. When I was diagnosed in college, I had already been anorexic for a solid 2 years. After that, I continued with the anorexia for another 3 years, then began binging, purging and restricting insulin for another 5. I’ve been to treatment 4 times, all of them since being diagnosed.

For the psychological component of the illness, I receive one on one therapy once a week, and I am a member of OA and very involved in 12 step recovery. These things help so much, and as of the 13th of this month, I haven’t binged or purged in 3 years. :slight_smile:

I don’t consciously restrict insulin to lose weight anymore, but I have some strange programming around my food and eating and blood sugars, and a lot of bad habits and poor self-care.

Something I wanted to mention is that for me, the shame around eating which I have experienced since childhood is deeply linked to traumatic experiences in my youth, particularly the ones that were sexual in nature. Shame from abuse can manifest in those with eating disorders as shame around food, since sex, bodies, food, and pleasure (not to mention emotions) are very much connected. As I have dealt with these issues from my past, feeding myself has become easier.

I’m not sure if that helps. I still struggle in various ways, so I’m sort of in a similar boat.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, though! And definitely know that you’re not alone. You deserve recovery and a good life.

Sending lots of Love,