My relationship with food has always been one full of love. They were there through every significant life moment; the heartbreaks, the triumphs, the TV show marathons, you name it. We had little to no boundaries, and up until my Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, we were the perfect pair. As my GP read out my blood test results back in 2017 and confirmed it, I felt as if I needed to sign the divorce papers – this was going to be a messy break-up. 
I wasn’t completely surprised, though, at the diagnosis. My dad, my eldest sister, my older brother and myself have Type 2. My mum had gestational diabetes while she was pregnant with me. My older sister and younger brother though, don’t have it. It seemed to run in most of my plump Filipino family, despite no one really running in this family.

In Australia’s Health Revolution with Dr Michael Mosley, Mosley notes the undeniable link between type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise and his strong belief that you can reverse Type 2 diabetes through diet. In my case, it was all true.
Immediately after that first appointment, I went into hyper-health mode. I portioned my meals, ate ‘typically healthy’ foods, and went on jogs at my local park. I started going to the gym and became obsessed with watching the number drop on the scale. I soon developed seemingly healthy-unhealthy eating habits, like skipping breakfast, replacing meals with water, and not eating after 3pm in the afternoon. I was at the thinnest I’d ever been, and my sugar levels were to medical standard – but at what cost? I felt lightheaded all the time and eventually worked my body to injury – it was time to stop. 

When the pandemic came about, I truly struggled. I had these grand plans to get healthy again, but I couldn’t process any regime with this ambiguous virus looming over my head. My sugars were at their worst, and I wasn’t ready to face these multiple realities. When discussions around the vaccine came about, with diabetic people sitting in the first waves of recipients, I started to get a couple of odd comments on social media. “Why do you get the vaccine first?” “All you do is post food on Instagram.” “You eat out all the time.” “Are you going to do something about it?”  I’m not going to lie, I was a little taken back by them all. 
I am doing something. I go for walks when the weather is nice, and I’m eating healthy and at home – most of the time. Like many people, lockdown affected my routine and my mental wellbeing, which also put my eating routine under immense pressure for several weeks. Pressure I certainly did not have the capacity for. 
In a regular week, my diet consists of fibrous cereal, proteins with green vegetables and wholegrain rice and pasta. Mandarins, carrot sticks, apples and protein bars are some of my favourite snacking options. This was all in consultation with a dietician of course, under my Medicare health care plan. They opened my eyes to a lot of healthy food options I didn’t think to try before – things like overnight oats or carrots and hummus. I know I don’t need to prove this to anyone, but I’m proud to have even reached this stage. Setting boundaries in a formerly boundary-less relationship was hard. 

When I do eat out or splurge on takeaway, I choose to. It’s something I consider carefully and I like to make a spectacle out of it on my Instagram stories, and I do so shamelessly. It’s an honour to be eating this food in front of me and it’s fun to celebrate that.
It’s been a long and winding journey reconciling my emotional link to food. In a chat earlier this year with New York chef and host Sophia Roe, she talks about how “we’ve given food emotion. We’ve given food ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labels. There are no good and bad foods.”

I love myself enough to know my body is a special vessel that needs to be cared for physically and emotionally, and that love carries through when I don’t prohibit myself from foods that I want to try and eat that aren’t traditionally ‘healthy’. 
I’m grateful for the access to our health care system, and for the GPs, specialists, dieticians, and nutritionists who continue to educate and guide me through my sugar levels and overall, my type 2 diabetes. This isn’t a curse, nor a punishment or consequence. This is my reality, and I strive to learn, trial and investigate how Type 2 diabetes operates in my body – to hopefully conquer it.
Like with most of my other relationships, I want to work this one out and will continuously do so. There’s so much more I’m yet to learn and experience with it. I’m hopefully not going anywhere anytime soon, and I have the time and love to tackle this my way, with the necessary support I choose, which is hopefully the right way for me – no prenup needed.
Love the story? Follow the author on Instagram @markusmuch.
This story contains general information only. Consult your doctor or medical professional for advice that is suited to your circumstances. If you need assistance with your diet or for dietary advice, always consult a GP, endocrinologist, diabetes educator or Accredited Practising Dietitian. 


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