Resource Guide: Body-Positive and HAES Resources for Chronic Illness and Diabetes

Some days, caring for our fat bodies looks exactly like caring for any human body. On other days, we may need a little extra something to carry on.

When it comes to chronic health conditions like diabetes, mental illness, or a disability, though, caring for a fat body can be very different.

Why? Because fat bodies are subject to weight stigma, discrimination against those at higher weights. And weight stigma means that when we try to get help or access resources to care for ourselves, we’re often turned away entirely with admonitions to just lose weight.

Since we don’t have an evidence-based method of making larger bodies smaller in the long term — most people will regain all the weight they lost within three years, and two-thirds of them will gain more than they lost — we need real resources that are weight-neutral and help us care for the bodies we have right now.

(And let me be clear: larger bodies are not in themselves ill, diseased or wrong. There are no health conditions that only affect big bodies.)

So what’s a fat person to do?

Here are over 20 practical resources — including articles, podcasts, support groups and programs — to help you deal with chronic illnesses and diabetes that are based on scientific evidence and working with your existing, worthy body.

Groups, Organizations & Programs

Health at Every Size® (HAES®) Care for Diabetes education and support group

Articles, E-books and Other Resources

1. Prediabetes: The epidemic that never was, and shouldn’t be

“It’s also unclear if the predictive value of prediabetes is actually valuable. The most recent long-term epidemiological surveys show that only 5 to 10 percent of patients labeled prediabetic actually progress to diabetes, with a full 50 percent of people reverting to normal glycemia in follow-up visits. This may be why the WHO and International Diabetes Federation have effectively de-adopted the “prediabetes” lexicon, noting that “so many people do not progress to diabetes as the term implies.”

Read more:

2. Study Shows Link Between Discrimination and Type 2 Diabetes

“The study found that those who reported two or more major discrimination experiences had a 34% increased risk of diabetes (over nine years) than those with no reported experience of major discrimination.

While this study is correlational, there is no downside risk to NOT discriminating against marginalized people, so ending discrimination is something we could implement now as a public health priority.”

Read more:

3. LU 071: Dr. Michelle May – Eating without fear, specifically for diabetes, WLS, and binge eating.

– Why she is convinced that everybody is able and allowed to eat without fear
– What she wants people who are managing diabetes to know
– What the common misperceptions are about food when it comes to diabetes are (often perpetuated by uninformed health professionals)

Listen to the podcast:

4. Why I Won’t be Pursuing Weight Loss as a Solution to my Chronic Pain

“And so here I am. I’m in a large body and I have chronic pain in my legs. I fight the shame that bubbles up when I imagine what people may be thinking about me when I walk slowly, or take the elevator, or need to sit down (“It’s because she’s fat”). I speak my mind with those who think they know better because they’re thinner and they have less pain. As if, if only I could follow their lifestyle and advice, I’d have their body, their health. As if my body were my fault, and all I need is the intelligence, dedication, and will power that they have. Then I’d be free from my self-imposed trap. AS IF.”

Read more:

5. {Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality

“I believed that these small, sustainable changes would help a person “manage” their weight. Yet I can’t tell you how many times I would have someone in my office telling me about what a “good” week they had of watching their portions, avoiding high-calorie foods, drinking water, exercising, etc, only to have their weight stay the same or increase. Then it would become this “game” of, “maybe you gained muscle”, “maybe it’s water weight”, “maybe you’re not measuring your portions properly” or “maybe you’re forgetting to count the times you lick the spoon when you’re cooking.”

The message? You’re doing something “wrong” or you’re not trying hard enough.”

Read more:

6. FRR 146: Navigating Body Image With Chronic Illness Revisited– With Ivy Felicia

  • Ivy’s story of growing up in a larger body and suffering from PCOS,
  • What is PCOS and how it impacted Ivy’s relationship with her body,
  • Why she looks at “body love” as a relationship, like a marriage,
  • How to choose peace with your body, even when there is frustration and resentment,

Listen to the podcast:

7. When Healthy Isn’t An Option: How I Learned To Love My Chronically Ill Body

“Despite what I’ve been force-fed by society, losing weight didn’t make me healthy. Not every disease can be cured — not every disease even has a treatment. There is no battle to wage and there is certainly nothing left to control. The only thing to fight is my own cells. And that means there is nothing to fight at all.”

Read more:

8. Big Fat Science: “I was recently diagnosed with type two diabetes”

9. 177: Intuitive Eating, Chronic Illness, and Breaking Free from The Wellness Diet with Linda Tucker, Health At Every Size Coach

“Linda Tucker joins us to discuss how dieting causes health problems even while purporting to solve them, how diet culture and its new guise as the Wellness Diet twist the definition of self-care and health, how intuitive eating can help with managing a chronic illness, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle the feeling that things were just easier in a smaller body.”

Listen to the podcast:

10. FRR 115 – Body Positivity & Chronic Conditions – interview with Imogen Fox

11. What Does It Mean To Live With A Body That Can’t Be Fixed?

“Forty years after that essay was published, I continue to grapple with its implications — as the daughter of someone with a disability and as someone who has struggled with chronic illness myself, and when reading other people’s experiences of illness. That’s why I welcome three new books that each offer a different prism through which to view sickness and disability. The authors of these books are not merely surviving with chronic conditions, but thriving. Their books counter traditional narratives that equate illness with weakness and women with hysteria by providing complicated, lived contexts in which illness or pain is not the be-all and end-all but, rather, one aspect among many in their lives.”

Read more:

12. HAES Medical Nutrition Therapy Handout Set.

Provided by nutritionist Meghan Cichy and Creating Peace with Food, this set of quick, weight-neutral healthcare guides covers:

  • Dyslipidemia/atherosclerosis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Cancer
  • Celiac disease
  • Constipation
  • Diabetes
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Download the entire set.

13. The Weight Inclusive Approach to Gestational Diabetes

“How do we actually promote holistic health – body and mind – for mothers and newborns in an evidence-based way when gestational diabetes is thrown into the mix?”

Read more:

14. What Venn diagrams can teach us about diabetes

“Most people don’t realize that there are more similarities than differences between the two main types of diabetes (type 1 and type 2). Plus, as most of my clients know, I really love Venn diagrams. Let’s see what we can find when we put these together.”

Read more:

15. You Can’t Sweets Your Way Into Diabetes

“As my line of questioning quickly turned into the self-blame game, my doctor said something that changed my outlook on my diagnosis.

He said, ‘For you, it wasn’t a matter of if you would get diabetes, it was a matter of when.’”

Read more:

16. Diabetes Myth Busting with Lauren Newman

“Think sugar causes diabetes? Think again. Diabetes is such a misunderstood disease that I knew it deserved its own episode on the podcast. Even though people seem wholly confused about how Health At Every Size and intuitive eating can apply to those diagnosed with diabetes, the truth is, they’re completely compatible.”

Listen to the podcast:

17. You Did Not Eat Your Way to Diabetes: The Real Causes

“The belief that diabetes is caused by greedy overeating is easy to understand. It makes healthy, younger people who exercise and watch their diets feel superior and safe. There’s only one problem with it: It isn’t true.”

Read more:

18. Women with disabilities and chronic illness talk self-love and embracing their bodies

“On a mission to show the world just how beautiful women with disabilities are, we spoke to a selection of ladies who live with disabilities and chronic illness, both visible and invisible. They opened up about how their illnesses affect them – physically and mentally – and how they’ve learned to love and embrace the skin they’re in.”

Read more:

19. Learning To Love My Sparkly Purple Cane

“Body image with a disability is complicated, whether your disability is visible, invisible, or somewhere in the gray area. I resisted mobility aids for most of my childhood and teen years. I didn’t want a cane, a wheelchair, or a walker to define me or my interactions, and my internalized ableism told me that fitting in (which also, by our society’s standards, for someone assigned female at birth means: white, thin, cisgender, and straight) was more important than accommodating my needs.”

Read more:

20. Gestational Diabetes Resources from McKenzie Caldwell

Registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) McKenzie Caldwell often writes about diabetes from a weight-neutral standpoint on her blog.

Read more:

21. Weight-Neutral Diabetes Resources from Glenys Oyston

RDN Glenys Oyston has weight-neutral diabetes resources available on her blog.

Read more:

22. Diabetes on the Love, Food Podcast

Julie Duffy Dillon’s podcast focuses on diabetes in episodes 216-219.


23. Intuitive Eating for Diabetes

A diagnosis of diabetes and intuitive eating may feel like they conflict, especially with all the rigid advice out there. In reality, intuitive eating for diabetes is possible. In this post, learn about why intuitive eating is a natural fit for diabetes management.

Read more:

24. Intuitive Eating: Enjoy Your Food, Respect Your Body

Chances are you’ve been prescribed a food regimen to help control your blood glucose levels. If you’re like most people, you find it hard to stick with a rigid plan, and if your meal plan excludes certain foods that you like, you mourn the loss of those foods.

Read more:

25. Intentional Weight Loss and Longevity in Overweight Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-Based Cohort Study

This study examined the influence of weight loss on long-term morbidity and mortality in overweight patients with type 2 diabetes and tested the hypothesis that therapeutic intentional weight loss supervised by a medical doctor prolongs life and reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease in these patients.

Read more:

26. SoCal Nutrition and Wellness: Root Causes of Diabetes

There are many Root Causes of Diabetes. Spoiler: Sugar intake is not one of them!

Find the post here:

27. Dr. Maria Paredes: Your health is not your fault.

Your health has way more to do with factors out of your control: genetics, socioeconomic status, childhood trauma than it has to do with anything you have done, are doing, or will do.

Read the post here:

27. Lauren Newman, RD: The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is not who “caused” their diabetes and who didn’t.

Your health has way more to do with factors out of your control: genetics, socioeconomic status, childhood trauma than it has to do with anything you have done, are doing, or will do.

Read the post here:

28. A Weight Inclusive Guide to… Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Your health has way more to do with factors out of your control: genetics, socioeconomic status, childhood trauma than it has to do with anything you have done, are doing or will do.

Read more:

29. Lauren Newman, RD: 4 Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disordered in people with diabetes.

There are many signs and symptoms that may arise when someone is engaging in disordered behaviors around food. However, it’s often a challenge to identify these signs/symptoms in someone with diabetes, because much of traditional diabetes management can look similar to disordered eating patterns. This makes it a challenge to identify when someone with diabetes is struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder. Here are a few signs and symptoms that may arise in someone with diabetes.

Read more:

30. Lauren Newman, RD: A1C Isn’t Everything: This Number Doesn’t Define You

Glycated Hemoglobin, or Hemoglobin A1c for short, is a test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the previous 2-3 months. It’s calculated as a percentage, with levels greater than or equal to 6.5% qualifying an individual for a diabetes diagnosis. In 1969, A1c was found to be elevated in individuals with diabetes mellitus, and it was made a diagnostic criterion in 2010. (1)  A1c is often referred to as the “gold standard” in monitoring the management of diabetes. The CDC recommends people with diabetes get their A1c checked at least twice a year.  

Read more:

31. Erin Phillips Nutrition: The fact that you can have well-managed diabetes and eat carbs shouldn’t be revolutionary.

It’s true! Diabetes (of. all. types.) doesn’t require restricting carbs. ⁣

See post here:

32. Erin Phillips Nutrition: I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes… Can I still work on healing my relationship with food?

Traditional treatment for diabetes is often “eat more of this,” “eat less of that,” rules rules rules. Treatment for an eating disorder includes working on getting rid of rules and increasing flexibility. No wonder healing and treatment for these two conditions can feel like they’re pulling you so hard in opposite directions that you might break in half. If you are in this position right now, know that I am sending you loads and loads of compassion.

Read more:

33. Anna Lutz RD: People with diabetes are more likely to have disordered eating.

Depending on which study you look at, up to 40% of people with type 2 diabetes report disordered eating behavior, and as much as 50% of people with type 1 diabetes. And it’s no wonder: the advice people with diabetes typically receive about managing their condition emphasizes control and restriction of food, and careful tracking of numbers relating to eating, blood sugar, and weight. Well-meaning medical providers stoke shame and fear about weight, eating, and health risks as a means of “motivating” their patients.

See the full post here:

34. Anna Lutz RD: Myth: People with Diabetes Can’t Use Inutitive Eating

The truth is that Intuitive Eating is really helpful for people with diabetes, and the research bears that out.
Consider this study comparing mindful eating and conventional diabetes self-management interventions for diabetes: both were equally helpful at improving blood sugar.

See the full post here:

35. Jessica Zupan, Intuitive Eating Dietician

The truth is that Intuitive Eating is really helpful for people with diabetes, and the research bears that out.
Consider this study comparing mindful eating and conventional diabetes self-management interventions for diabetes: both were equally helpful at improving blood sugar.

See the full post here:

Let’s dig deep.

Every Monday, I send out my Body Liberation Guide, a thoughtful email jam-packed with resources for changing the way you see your own body and the bodies you see around you. And it’s free. Let’s change the world together.

Hi there! I'm Lindley. I create artwork that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional "beauty" standards at Body Liberation Photography. I'm also the creator of Body Liberation Stock and the Body Love Shop, a curated central resource for body-friendly artwork and products. Find all my work here at