I am curious if anyone has ever successfully lost weight with T1 diabetes? My entire life I’ve been pretty average sized but within the last couple of years with starting a job and less activity I’ve certainly put some weight on where it’s starting to get unhealthy and I find it hard to either stick to something that I feel good about or have a hard time regulating blood sugar (more protein seems to make my blood sugar sky rocket and low carb I’m starving and see my blood sugar drop). I’m wondering if anyone had diet tips that helped them when trying to lose weight? I know that diabetes can sometimes hinder weight loss while insulin levels are higher so I’m wondering what’s the best way to start out without completely tanking my blood sugar I’m doing this for health and not appearance so I’m hoping for some good long term advice!
Over the last year I have lost about 50 pounds. I found the app Myfitnesspal to be extremely helpful.
It does get tricky with sugars, but I have learnt to adjust and navigate it accordingly. For example, I won’t go for a walk or run if I have active insulin in my system. I will wait until I have no more active insulin and my sugar is at least over 120mg. Sometimes despite all of this I will go low during a run, I will then stop, eat a fruit or drink some juice, wait until things are back to normal, then continue. To avoid these probelms I usually do my run first thing in the morning before taking any insulin or eating, which (at least for me) avoids the issue of going low from active insulin. I also do strength training several times a week which cause my sugar to rise by about +50mg. I then follow that with a walk or run which brings it back down.
Sometimes a low sugar can cause a massive appetite rush. Try to keep healthy sugary things around for such events, such as fruit. If you do “splurge” on calories, don’t let that get to you, just keep going where you left off. It’s happened to me and I just kept going.
I have personally never found a correlation between insulin and weight gain, but everyone is different. I did find a correlation between eating a lot of junk food and weight gain though…
hi Taylor @Tee25. After spending many years packing on the pounds, about 4 years back I lost 65 lbs over an 18 month period. So yes, you can lose weight with T1D. I did have to make a number of changes with my life style and have continued them (and maintained the weight loss). A few of the things I did and continue to do:
- Like Sal, found Myfitnespal and used it to understand what I was eating and its makeup (carbs/protein/fat/nutrients/fiber…) and how many calories it really was
- Got a fitbit which I used to help with keeping me honest about my movement/exercise
- I lowered my consumption of processed foods significantly and basically eliminated all highly processed foods
- gave up on rice, pasta, white bread, etc. I now use other grains, rye/whole grain/etc. breads that have better nutritional value and lower glycemic indexes. Very occasionally will have rice/pasta these at restaurants for when at friends/families for a meal
- upped my intake of water, fiber, fresh non-starchy veggies, fresh fruit, lean meat, beans, nuts, etc.
- When at home, one week I weigh and measure everything, the next week I estimate and then weigh/measure to make sure my estimates are okay, the third week I just estimate
- added strength training 3 times per week and walking for 20 minutes after each meal as well as some serious biking a few times a week.
- I also occasionally have treats - I just love cheeses and do indulge in the “full fat” versions sometimes.
One basic weight management rule that I have is: 80% of the work is management of what goes in your mouth. 20% is keeping moving. The other is you need to understand what you are eating and why. Sometimes you need to fix the why (e.g. lots of low BGs, becoming a couch potato, etc.) before you can fix the weight. I did struggle with understanding and sorting out my lows/insulin/eating times but got that sorted out.
Of course this is what works for me. There are all sorts of options out there that people have been successful with. Also, if you have the option, talk to a CDE (preferably a dietitian) - they can help a lot with putting a plan together for you.
Excellent advice above! I am 70+ T1D, and I try to maintain weight within a 10-15 pound window. When I start to creep up, I use MyFitnessPal.com. For me, just tracking what goes in my mouth is what I need.
Good luck! When you screw up, just start over.
Thank you all. How do you find out exactly what your body needs in terms of calories? That’s what I’ve always struggled with!
With MyFitnessPal.com, you enter your personal information, goal weight (be realistic), etc., then the app calculates your estimated calorie need and suggests carb/protein/fat breakdown. Then you track what you’re really eating, and the app shows you how that compares to the calculated suggestions. If you sign up to the app, you can also get recipe emails.
@Tee25 Hi Taylor, what you actually need is complex and required information would be things like your typical level of activity, are you starting a new exercise activity, your goals such as gaining or losing weight, and inputs such as if you are still growing, and body metrics such as height, weight, etc. my opinion here is that it is a question for a nutrition expert. Many times your endocrinologist can refer you to a CDE or nutrition expert for this kind of help.
oh and there isn’t anythign exact about this, it is very much judgement and environment based and not a 1 + 1 = 2 situation. cheers good luck,.
Hi Well depending on the insulin that you are using, weight is a problem to lose. Remember insulin is a weight inducing enzyme. Depending on amount that you inject, exercise and carbs that you ingest it is very difficult to lose those extra pounds. I managed to lose about 12 pounds by changing insulin to Actrapid and protophane. The insulin did not work very well so after losing the 12 pounds and running high Bg,s I had to change back to the Lantus and Apidra. I now inject a wee Lantus and Apidra amount, try to leave out the cards and excercise like hek, weight appears to be stable and Bg well controlled. It is those flippin carbs, fast foods, dairy and fruit/please drinks that exacerbates the problem. Well afta 70 years of T1D and having a very slight tummy skinny legs and arms I reason that I am doing ok. Do not give up trying.
T1 for 12 years, I pump humalog. Over the last two years, through maintains healthy diet and exercise, I have lost 69 pounds. Other than having to take precautions to avoid lows from exercise I don’t think the diabetes interfered with my weight loss at all.
I would just consider all changes gradually. My problem was I would go all in on a diet, hard exercise then quit when my sugars got crazy. I would beat myself up for going low then having to eat to recover. Don’t do this! My success came from setting small goals every month then adding on. Main way I controlled my sugars (I’m on a pump and cgm) was making sure I was reviewing my numbers and patterns every week and adjusting. I would adjust my basal, what target sugar level I would need to be at prior to exercise. Then if I wasn’t there I would eat a healthy snack…banana if too low or apple with peanut or almond butter. Upping protein is a good idea but unless you drop the carbs you’ll definitely see a rise in sugars. Just remember as you want to change your body by losing weight, your body is changing - insulin and sugar levels will change too