How I stay fashionable as a diabetic with fluctuating weight

minute read
May 1, 2023
A type 1 diabetic and fashion-lover enjoying her new outfit.
Note: Image for illustration only. It does not show the author of this story. Photo credit - Rana Paul

I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2018, and it’s been a challenge ever since.

One of the most significant struggles I face is managing my weight.

Weight fluctuations are common for people with diabetes, and it can be very frustrating, especially for those who are conscious of their wardrobe. The fluctuations are due to several factors, such as changes in blood sugar level, insulin resistance, and other health complications of diabetes.

As someone who loves my clothes, it’s tricky for me to manage my diabetes and maintain my sense of style and fashion – My weight fluctuates more often than someone who doesn’t have this disease. This has had a significant impact on my self-esteem and my confidence in my wardrobe.

The most frustrating part is having a closet full of clothes I love but no longer fit or feel comfortable in. As my weight fluctuates, I suddenly find that my favourite outfit is too tight or that a piece I used to love is now too loose – This can make it difficult to feel good about myself and my appearance, which leads to negative feelings and a lack of motivation to take care of myself and my diabetes.

However, I remind myself that I’m not alone in this struggle. Many people with diabetes face the same challenges and frustrations with their wardrobe.

And I’ve found ways to manage my weight fluctuations and maintain my sense of style and fashion.

How I built a diabetic-friendly wardrobe

The most important thing was to focus on taking care of my diabetes. By keeping my blood sugar level under control and following a treatment plan, my weight is more stable, and the fluctuations have less of an impact on my wardrobe – Caring for my diabetes involves changing my diet, increasing my physical activity, and taking my medication as prescribed.

Another helpful strategy is choosing clothing that’s flexible and versatile. I look for pieces that have a bit of stretch or give, so they can accommodate my weight fluctuations without feeling too tight or too loose. This means choosing clothes made from stretchy fabrics like spandex or elastane, or in more forgiving styles (such as wrap dresses or flowy tops).

I also invest in quality wardrobe basics that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. A well-fitting pair of jeans or black pants, a classic blazer or cardigan, and a few versatile tops can go a long way in creating a variety of outfits both stylish and comfortable.

And I remind myself that my value and worth are not determined by my weight, wardrobe or diabetes. As a diabetic, I realise I’m managing a chronic condition that takes dedication, perseverance and strength. I do my best every day to take care of my health, and that’s something to be proud of.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the most important thing is to prioritise your health and well-being above all else.

By taking care of and managing my diabetes, I feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin, regardless of what I’m wearing.

Be kind to yourself, and give yourself grace during periods of weight fluctuation. And don’t be afraid to get support from friends, family or healthcare professionals when you need it.

Profile photo of Hira Tayyab, a type 1 diabetic.
Hira Tayyab

Hira is a type 1 diabetic and fashion-lover, who finds it challenging to maintain her personal style due to diabetes-related weight fluctuations. However, by prioritising her health and focusing on her own sense of self-worth, she’s able to manage her disease and stay confident in how she looks.

Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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