So I have gotten busy lately on losing weight. My son is 4 and I still haven’t gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m tired of always feeling gross. So I started an exercise and diet regimen. The exercise is mainly a heavy bag workout routine called the 30-30-30 and the elliptical. This has totally kicked my tail and I’ve already lost some weight and am seeing the return of the ever-elusive muscle tone. My diet has drastically changed as well with no snacking, high protein, low calorie food, and lotsof water. I have had to keep reducing my basal rates, reducing my bolus’s, and I am much more sensitive to insulin. It’s great…except for one thing. Have you ever had a GREAT workout and you’re following your diet closely and you’re feeling great? Then your blood sugar gets low and the I-want-to-eat-everything-in-sight monster comes a-calling. I have been able to control myself but I HATE being low. Having to eat when I don’t want to really gets me down and feeling defeated. I want to get my body into great shape SO bad. But sometimes I feel like, what’s the use? If I exercise, I’ll just have to eat again. I have been lowering my basal rates while I exercise and for a period after. But I’ll either wake up low in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. Does anyone have any low calorie snacks they eat to get their blood sugar up to a good level but won’t destroy my diet? I would love some ideas!
I eat whole wheat Ritz with peanut butter. I set 5 aside (11gm) and put peanut butter (7gm) on one and eat it then the next and so on. By the time you get to 5 I am satisfied.
That ‘feed me’ impulse was one of the biggest hurdles to losing weight for me. Honestly, the best treatment is glucose tablets. I’ll eat 1-3, depending on how low I am, and will wait it out. (If I’m just teetering on the border, say in the 60s, sometimes 1 and a brief temp basal are enough.) That waiting sucks because you really have to hold yourself back from eating. But at just 15 calories each, there aren’t any extra calories coming along for the ride. Just pure bg action! There are cheaper solutions, like smarties or jelly beans, but I just can’t have those around my house! It actually surprises me that I don’t ‘raid’ the glucose tablets…maybe it’s because they are so expensive!
If you go low repeatedly, or believe that you will, it’s best to do a temp basal or have a different basal rate on the nights that you exercise. Protein does give some stability overnight. That may also help as well, but I recommend something that is low in fat and (like low fat string cheese or slices of deli meat – that may seem gross to some people but I love it) and getting your carbs from the tabs.
Thanks Tom. You sound just like me when it comes to having candy around the house. It’s so wierd though. I have tried glucose tablets and they just don’t seem to work great for me. Maybe I’m just too impatient. I usually end up eating ALL of them before I feel any results. I’ll have to try them again and control myself and see if that works. I will usually do a temp basal, usually 50% for a half hour and that helps. But, and you may have this same problem, I’ve conditioned myself from having diabetes for 25 years to only feeling better when I actually eat something. So to not eat anything and wait on the glucose or the basal, is really going to take some getting used to. Even when by blood sugar isn’t low and I feel wierd for another reason, eating makes me feel better. I’ve really got to get away from that!
Protein does really help me too. But again, if I eat before I go to bed, I feel bad for not being “good” and not eating. Even skim milk has 80 calories per cup. But some low fat deli meat probably would do the trick. Thanks for the help!
Way to go on beating up the heavy bag! I wrote my saga down in more detail on my page but I have been T1 for 25 or so years and have been exercising regularly since 2004 and very regularly since 2006.
I sort of agree with Tom that glucose tablets are useful because you don’t really eat them for fun and they work fast. I don’t like them that much. I’d recycle the “10 round magazines” and the lids would come off and get pink rasberry powder all over the place. Yuck. I used Smarties for a while but, in the last maybe year or so have switched to Starburst jelly beans. They are tasty but I pretty much only use them for treating lows. I got 100 little jewelry bags for like a buck @ Hobby Lobby that will hold 30 or so G of carbs so a bag in each pocket will fuel a nice run. I agree that it’s very hard to avoid eating a lot when you are low. I try to keep my BG pretty low as I am interested in running a longer race this year and want to get to a point where I can get maybe 10g of carbs to last 4 or so miles? I know there’s Gatorade on the course but, if there were an emergency, space aliens taking all the Gatorade on the course or something like that, I’d like to have my own, portable supply with me? I also am getting pretty decent results from having more frequent, smaller doses of carb throughout the workout, as opposed to running until I crash and having a huge bomber that spikes me back up?
I think it also works better to avoid insulin “on board” when you are wanting to work out. I have the best time when I work out before mealtimes/ late AM/ late afternoon.
I am 100% with you. I train hardcore and my workouts sometimes last 45-90 minutes. I find that when I do extremely strenuous activity (e.i. running at 7mph for 30 minutes) my ending BG is higher than when I started, sometimes by more than 150 points! I guess this is because of adrenaline released. However, if I do a slightly less strenuous workout, I’ll go low if I continue for 30 minutes with a temp. basal rate (without a snack before.)
This is what I do: I normally come home from school, and my number is around 110-130. I always plan on exercising one hour later, and that gives me time to let my BG rise a bit. I generally have a piece of 10 carb bread and a tbsp of peanut butter. I know you may feel like it gets you down when you have to eat when you’re not hungry, but we’re special! One piece of bread and pb will not sabotauge (sp?) your whole day! I sometimes get down about having to plan my day around BGs and meals, but I tell myself that it makes me more disciplined and healthier than most Americans in the world today.
Another idea to save you calories would be to fill a bottle with 15 carbs worth of juice and mark it (with colored tape or something) 3 times. So every 10 minutes, you drink that portion. Then another 10 minutes later, have the other portion… so on. I find this also works well.
So to some up. Its all just a crap shoot trying to figure it all out. But once you get the right ratio, you’ll be glad you took all this time.
Thanks for the reply. That’s very helpful info!!
Thanks. Jelly beans can’t be that high in calories and they should work fast. I’m gonna try glucose tabs again and see if that works. Thanks for the help!
I’m sort of working on “hovering” around 100-110, without crashing out, if I see the CGM drift down, I’ll have maybe 10 beans worth. Another thing I left out was that the powdered Gatorade is sort of handy b/c you can tailor it to how much you need? 15G of carbs or 10 or 45 in a bottle, depending on how far you are going or how long you are working out.
Ok, I always knew I was a bit of a contrarian. I don’t believe that calories burned during exercise leads to weight loss, I think your body “demands” that you eat afterwards and any calories burned are refilled later. This is the position Gary Taubes suggests in his book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and further explores in detail in his recent book “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It.” So I just eat to recover from exercise and to refuel. I have a protein shake after workout and then have a meal within two hours, not a pig out, a normal meal with bolus. This also helps with after exercise lows. If I try to fast after workout, I get massively hungry and have a tendency to overeat as well as I have Late-Onset Hypos (LOH) about 2 hours after exercise and I won’t have a choice about eating.
Second, I know this is “heresy,” but I consider carbs used to treat lows as “free,” as long as they are used only to bring you up to a normal blood sugar. I argue “they don’t make you fat,” since only when you have blood sugars above normal will your body start converting dietary carbs into bodyfat, hence, I consider them “totally free.”
how about lucozade? it takes very little to bring your sugar back up quickly
Yup, my main issue is patience! I switched to glucose tabs about 16 years in, and it is very challenging to literally force yourself to wait 15 minutes when all you want to do is to go make a peanut butter sandwich. Give it another shot. I like deli meat when I want a snack because almost no fat, no carbs and a good amount of protein which is good when you’re getting exercise. It just looks weird at 3 am!
Okay, I totally do not agree with you on the calories thing. It’s common knowledge that if your burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. And when you exercise regularly, your metabolism will burn more calories when you are not active. I don’t want to condition my body to expect something to eat after I exercise. I’d rather just rest and let it repair itself with what I eat at meals.
I know THIS is heresy, but I don’t count my carbs. I watched it really carefully when I was pregnant, as I had very strict guidelines and a more important reason to be careful. I exercise, I eat healthy, and I check my blood sugar. After you’ve had diabetes for 25 years, you get familiar with how certain foods are going to affect you.
I don’t think you’re being a contrarian, what you say has a lot of merit. Diet definitely has to be the primary control point. The problem is that glycogen can only be replaced by dietary-derived glucose (either from carbs or generated from protein), so your body will definitely be ‘hungry’ to replace it after a workout. There’s no way to turn fat into glycogen, unfortunately. But as long as you count the ‘recovery’ calories into your daily intake, and don’t eat more recovery calories than you burn, then it will help with weight loss. I think this is what trips most people up. When I was trying to lose weight I did have to increase calories for exercise, but it ended up being about 50% of what I burned. It’s not easy to control that urge to overdo it when you’re hungry though, that’s for sure.
I also agree that ‘treatment carbs’ aren’t free. Calories are calories, which is why I prefer glucose tabs. If you can treat a pretty serious low with just 3 tabs (45 calories), you just aren’t packing on so much extra. You also avoid the near-inevitable over treatment from eating, needing more insulin and making more fat. The reason that I think so many clinicians tell people not to count them is that they don’t want patients to not treat a low to cut back on calories. Obviously that would be a disaster, and I know you’re not suggesting that in any way. It’s definitely the reason I usually avoid saying it so plainly if I can. The ideal solution would be to have stable, injectable glucagon, and I’m hopeful with some of the closed loop pumps coming out that something will hit the market. Treating lows with 0 extra calories would be great!
Hey, have you tried the runners’ fuel belts? I trained with Team in Training last year (10K, marathon and half-marathon training program), and lots of folks used the belts for the longer runs. You can add small bottles of your own mix of recovery fluid (Gatorade, Nuun, Cytomax or whatever) plus they have small compartments for keys, gels or energy beans, cell phone, whatever you need.
I am a 10K walker, not a runner, so I always had my BG test kit, insulin pen, glucose gels and tabs, cell phone, and small bottles (32 oz total) of water in a very light-weight nylon backpack. But I know runners don’t like to have a backpack bouncing on their shoulders.
I thought the runners’ belts looked like a cool compromise.
Well, not to argue with such an experienced lady (smile) as I have only been on fast-acting insulin for a few months, but I have to say that ALL of the super-fit coaches and athletes (marathoners) I trained with during my marathon training insist on a recovery drink/meal (chocolate milk is a big favorite) after a hard work-out.
Your body is just going to take those carbs and SLAM then back into your muscles as glycogen, not store them as fat. It can’t start storing carbs as fat until the muscle glycogen has been replenished.
For the record, these were super-fit, slim-as-a-greyhound, marathon runners – one of them was an ultra-marathon runner who does several 50-mile runs EVERY QUARTER.
There was no extra fat on them anywhere and they were all using a recovery drink/recovery meal after a long work-out.
Well, I did say I was a contrarian. And “common knowledge” reflects social acceptance of ideas, not necessarily the truth. I believe that 90% of weight loss happens in the kitchen. I am certainly a fan of exercise, I think it increases your metabolism and overall fitness, establishing how well you handle eating. But in my case, the most effective technique for weight loss (besides optimizing your insulin regime and tightening your blood sugar control) was not burning calories through exercise, but intermittent fasting (IF). IF enabled me to decrease my intake of food overall, I would spend some major chunk of time walking around burning fat and I could eat normally all the rest of the time not feeling constantly hungry. I have spend untold hours with aerobic exercise and finally concluded it had no positive role in weight loss and keeping me lean. I still do aerobic exercise, to maintain cardiovascular fitnes and for blood sugar control, but I no longer see it as having a real role in my efforts at body composition. And I “eat” before and after exercise as part of my program. I actually “eat” to lose weight. Eating after exercise is better metabolically for me than fasting and overeating at my next meal. And, yes I know, all this goes against “common knowledge.”
You either have to plan a small snack before exercising, so that your body has something to work with/on…and then another snack preferably protein after you workout. Plan that into your diet…cause you need it…it’s not useless food. As a person who has suffered through lows a lot, I’ll tell you they aren’t fun when they get so low, you are out for the count. That can kill you and your darling 4 year old son will be motherless, so it’s not defeating food, it’s healthy food. I’ve been recently told that protein is better than a sugary or carb snack…so go with something that is protein before and after your workouts. And if you keep having lows, then maybe your meds need to be adjusted to fit what your lifestyle is. Just a thought.
Eating before and after a strenuous workout is the norm among marathoners.
They get up at 3 a.m. to have some oatmeal, just to have their stomach settled before a race.
You’re not as contrarian, perhaps, as you think. ;0)
I actually don’t ever get low enough to go “out for the count”. I feel it coming on and it happens slowly, luckily for me. I actually don’t have any room to fit extra calories into my diet. I’m going with 1200/day and I’m not eating much with that amount. And I have been adjusting my basal rates a lot. I think it’s about right now. I think I’ll stick with what Tom suggested earlier. No IOB before a workout, adjust the basal 50% and glucose tabs or jelly beans. Thanks.