Influencer and diabetes advocate Mila Clarke Buckley, known online as the Hangry Woman, talks diabetes stigma and life on the internet.
What inspired you to share your journey with diabetes so publicly?
When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I left my doctor’s office confused and searching for anyone else who had advice about living with type 2 so I could understand more. When I searched, I found few people sharing information about their type 2 diabetes diagnosis or how they were living with it. I knew in that moment I wanted to do something for people like me who might be looking for the same resources. I started HangryWoman.com and began sharing my favorite recipes and everyday tips about living with diabetes.
What are the most common struggles for someone recently diagnosed with T2D?
One of the most common struggles I see is that the stigma and shame that comes with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis feels heavy. People with type 2 diabetes are often stereotyped. We’re often asked if we can eat what we’re eating or judged harshly because type 2 is considered a “lifestyle disease.” It can scare people away from asking for help, or even taking a step to talk about their diagnosis so they can get the right support to live a healthier life.
I think education about diabetes for people with type 2 is also overlooked. You’re not often told about specialists, like a diabetes educator or endocrinologist, who can help you set goals and troubleshoot when you need help. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t even know what having diabetes meant, and I didn’t know what questions to ask the day I got my diagnosis. Being met with compassion and simple explanations can go a long way for people living with type 2 diabetes. When I finally found a doctor who listened to me, it changed my world.
What advice do you have for someone recently diagnosed with T2D?
My biggest piece of advice for someone recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is to just take things one day at a time and focus on your small victories. All of those small wins like making it through a workout, de-stressing, or meeting your blood sugar goals help you get closer to living a complication-free life.