Episode 003 - The Muted Conversation We're Bringing to Light.. Diabulimia & It's Impact.

This episode comes with a trigger warning, but it's an important conversation for us to have. When I was first diagnosed with type one, I was lucky enough to be 19 when I already had a pre-established relationship with food (not to say that diabetes didn't distort that relationship). Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Diabulimia is a very real and dangerous eating disorder that is not fully recognized or discussed by our endocrinologists. 

Inside this episode, we're talking with guest Natalie Swanson about her experience with diabulimia, the impact it's had on her life and how to get support if you relate to the signs. 

Here’s what’s inside today’s episode:

  1. What is diabulimia and why it's not talked about enough.

  2. The implications of chronic restrictive diets, weight loss and avoiding insulin doses. 

  3. Our personal stories with disordered eating after a type one diabetes diagnosis.

  4. How to recognize the signs in yourself or a loved one.

  5. How exercise can sneak it's way into diet culture.

  6. How to tackle food guilt and how we approach food with diabetes.

Thank you to Skin Grip for sponsoring this episode! Check out my absolute favorite patches and save 10% at check out by using the code "LISSIE"!


Hit the play button and let's get started!

Resources inside the episode: 

  1. Check out Skin Grip at skingrip.com and use the code “LISSIE” at check out! 

  2. Learn more about Keeping it 100 HERE

  3. Find Natalie HERE

Show Notes: 

  1. ⏰ (0:00): Intro 

  2. ⏰ (0:28): Brought to you by Skin Grip

  3. ⏰ (1:08): About our guest, Natalie

  4. ⏰ (1:59): Do you mind sharing a bit about yourself and just introducing yourself?

  5. ⏰ (1:09): Why isn’t diabulimia talked about?

  6. ⏰ (6:36): How did you recognize that there was this disordered relationship around around food?

  7. ⏰ (10:23): Type 1 vs Type 2 stigma

  8. ⏰ (15:07): There's this idea of going around the diabetes community that once you start insulin, or if you take a certain amount of insulin, you gain weight. I’d love to hear your insight on that.

  9. ⏰ (20:44): Do you mind sharing some like signs or thought processes or behaviors that may help us to recognize if we might fall into that category? Or if our loved ones may be falling into that category?

  10. ⏰ (24:35): So let's just say we're a type three. So we're somebody who is a loved one of a diabetic or you know, friend, family member partner, whatever it is, how can we differentiate the difference between preference and disordered eating? Like, where is the line? How can people understand? What are the appropriate questions to ask?

  11. ⏰ (27:59): If somebody recognizes that their patient or their loved one is having these emotions around food or are approaching food in this way, or they’re noticing the signs in their management - how can they support their loved one or their patient? Like what are some things that they can do to help them recover?

  12. ⏰ (32:01): At what point did you realize that you needed support? Like who did you turn to? What did you do to kind of start that process? 

  13. ⏰ (38:36): Is there a time where fitness and exercise is damaging? Or is that always healthy?

  14. ⏰ (41:41): Do you have any tips that you can share for tackling food guilt, especially with type one diabetes, where we do have to look at food a different way, and there's blood sugars involved? And what can you share if anybody needs some, some tips?

  15. ⏰ (46:31): What do you do to provide support?

  16. ⏰ (48:35): Do you have a website? What is your Instagram? Where can people find you?

  17. ⏰ (49:42): Wrap-up


Lissie Poyner

Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer & Founder of Needles and Spoons

Integrative Diabetes Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, owner of Needles and Spoons Health & Wellness, and creator Keeping It 100. I help overwhelmed people with Type One Diabetes just like you gain more predictability in their blood sugars so they can finally take their life plans off hold. 


I was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 19, and to say that I was lost would be an understatement. In the years that followed my diagnosis, through trial, (a lot of) error, and education, I took my own A1C from a 7.1 to a consistent 5.7 and learned what it really takes to achieve predictability in my blood sugars. I also brought my Ulcerative Colitis into remission! 


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