How to put on weight (or maintain it at least) with Type II diabetes and vegetarian?

I have always been slim, but since I was diagnosed (last year) with Type II, I have changed my diet considerably and I lost weight that I really didn’t need to lose. Before I was diagnosed, my diet consisted mainly of carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, potatoes, corn, beans, and a lot of sweet stuff. Now I am going crazy because I can’t have carbs. I don’t want to lose more weight and I don’t know what to do if I don’t like the food I can eat. Please help! I just bought Atkins shakes but they are expensive and I don’t know if they really work or if they are bad for my health.

Eggs could be your salvation, do you eat eggs, and some vegetarians also eat fish, both these with large salads or cooked low carb veggies are excellent. I must admit I have problems with the low carb diet and not liking a lot of the things you are supposed to eat, I substitute or work out a way to manage. I hate eggs for breakfast, which seems to be a good low carb thing to do, so I will eat a flaxmeal muffin with some frozen berries added. Or cottage cheese with berries or something savoury chopped up in it. And of course vegetable soups are excellent for you, being both filling and warming. Protein powder is good to for you to use as a shake or to add to things like soup or low carb muffins. I hope these ideas will help you find a way to manage for you.

I was going through the same problem before just being put on insulin I was only diet/exercise controlled type 1.5. My doctor kept getting on to me because of me being underweight to begin with and continuing to lose weight but I figured low carbing for my bg was more important than my weight and continued to do so. I did learn how to maintain my weight by adding in more protein and fats. Lots of almonds, peanut butter, olive oil, regular (not lite or low fat) salad dressing, and cheese.
You can also go to this website and calculate your fat,calorie, and protein needs to maintain weight it’s what I did:

The only way to gain weight without eating a lot of carbs is to increase protein. Since most vegetarian protein sources are high carb, try using protein powder. Hemp powder, though it doesn’t have as much protein as whey isolate powder, is really good. You can make shakes with unsweetened almond milk & also add it to baking. Pea protein powder is another vegetarian option, but it does taste like peas. It’s good for adding to soup. Avoid the powders with soy. I haven’t seen any packaged shakes that are good. Nuts are a good protein source.

First, please take this in a helpful light, but I will ask you to do some self examination about your diet. I’d like you to revisit the reasons you are a vegetarian. Is it because you believe it is moral or ethical? Is it because you think it is healthier? There are many here that believe that for type 2, a low carb diet is critical and that is easiest when you eat meat, seafood and dairy. You diet is your own personal choice, just not what I would choose.

That being said, you can eat a vegetarian low carb diet but it is going to take more work and money. You have already gotten advice on protein shakes, but the other challenge is fat. One resource that can be helpful is the “New Atkins for a New You” book that just came out, it has a chapter devoted to vegetarian diets.

My 18 year old daughter is a vegetarian, that is her choice, and I’ve learned a bit trying to help her. Unfortunately, as you try and find good sources of protein and fat, you will be tempted to use processed foods. The Atkins is one example, I don’t see anything wrong with an occaisonal meal replacement, but they are likely a poor choice for an ongoing diet. In my view, it is always better to base your diet on whole unprocessed food sources. I like to cook using ingredients that are in their natural form and I know exactly where they came from, how they were grown and what is in them. Not so easy with an Atkins shake or a veggie patty, let alone a weird product like Quorn.

I like to make my own shakes from scratch. I then know exactly what is in them, no chemical additives. You can make vegetable shakes and add just a few berries for sweetness. If you want to add protein, add whey powder or raw almond butter. Also I find using avacados is a great way to add fat to your diet. I am also a type 2 who has lost a lot of weight the last 10 years. I am now below my goal weight around 112-114. I really look best in the 115-118 range. Somedays if I lose too much I will add a few slices of Eziekel bread into my diet especially if I am going to exercise. I eat about half my meals vegetarian. I make a lot of vegetable bisques and add coconut milk or cream to them to add fat. I also add peanut butter at the end. To maintain my weight I need about 2000 calories most days and about 50 -60 g of protein and about 120 grams of fat.

Do you have access to an Indian grocery store where you live? If so, you should think about buying chickpeas and cooking a variety of delicious dishes with them. Here’s a website that gives you the details on why chickpeas are ideal for diabetics…it’s their low glycemic index - 5 according to one study and 11 according to another. .

Hi Bittersweet,

The EXACT same thing happened to me. I have been a vegetarian for 20 years and 5 of those years vegan. I was Dx’d one year ago (already vegan) and I had to give up all those high carb foods that we diabetics can’t have and boy, did I lose weight fast! I was 130 lbs (5’4") and I lost 30 lbs in around 5 months and I wasn’t even exercising! And yes, I didn’t want to lose any weight either. Obviously I wasn’t overweight at all. Although 130 was the most I have ever weighed in my life. Now I weight about 102 (I was at 100 - yeah, I gained 2 pounds lately). I have actually weighed 100 once before in my life as an adult - I am 41 - (sans D) and my body always seems to stop at this weight. Technially I am underweight - but I feel fine. It not like I am anoxeric - I love food. My body has a high metabolism and always has had. Anytime I would want to lose a few pounds to “tone” or whatever or if I was very busy and active I would lose a bit a weight quickly or I could still eat a lot (although I have always ate “like a bird”) and my weight would stay the same.

Now, I have been stable at 100 for the last 7 months (sans the 2 I just gained recently). I honestly think our bodies know when to stop - as long as you are still eating (check your calories - make sure you get enough) more than you burn off you shouldn’t lose weight.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that I lost weight like it even though I didn’t want it to happen. It makes sense to me now how too many of certain carbs can make you gain weight and cutting out those same carbs can make you drop it just as easily. I really think carbs are more the weight gainer than fat.

Don’t bother with the Atkins shake. Aren’t those for weight loss anyhow?

That said, how tall are you and how much do you weigh -before and now? For me, what I am doing now is trying to get as much fat, calories (my calorie consumption went down when I was dx’d having to change the diet and all plus I was scared to eat anything!) and protein I eat. That and muscle training I believe is what is helping me gain a few pounds (yeah, I know only two but it is better than before!). This also helps with insulin sensitivity (improves it).

I realize I will probably never gain very much weight again but I am OK with it. It was shocking at first but I am adjusting. The worst part is not being thin but the fact that I lost my butt! hahah! Why couldn’t the weight fall off my stomach instead? (big problem for most diabetics). I figure if I have to be thin than I might as well be musclular and thin. :slight_smile:

Anyhow, we have the Thin Type 2 group on here if you want to join:

We also have the veg and vegan groups:

Also, what sort of foods do you not like? Giving up bread was hard one for me but I was too scared to eat it after Dx (my favorite thing was sourdough bread and vegan biscuits). I found a low carb bread at Trader Joes that I like. If you need help finding alternatives, I will be happy to help out.

I still eat beans by the way. The are high carb yes but they have fiber and other important things for a diabetic to have. Yes, no sweets unfortunatley. At least, not much of the good stuff - I am glad I don’t have a sweet tooth. I had half a cupcake the other day and I went high from that. I still eat chocolate on a daily basis but portions and moderation is the key. For fat (which alone won’t make you gain) I would try more oils and avocadoes in your meals. I add oils or use oil based vegan butters in meals to add on fat and calories. I think it honestly helps me (they are 0 carbs!).

It is a learning process. You will get there. Once I started upping my calories and fat than I stopped losing. It took several months to gain those 2 pounds but hey, better than nothing!

Thanks for responding to my question, I appreciate it. I have been a vegetarian since I can remember, it all started when I was a child and disliked the fact of people killing animals so we could eat them. I am proud of my choice, but I am not proud of my eating habits as a vegetarian. I understand that having a diet rich in carbohydrates doesn’t make you diabetic, but I still regret not eating more healthy. I used to eat candy and chocolate until my tastebuds couldn’t taste anymore. I loved fruits and I kind of exceeded on those, I remember eating sweet fruits until I couldn’t stand the sight of them…until next time. I’ve had a super sweet tooth, my whole life. It has been extremely difficult for me to adjust to a low-carb diet, I love tortillas, rice, beans, fruits, corn, potatoes, etc…Regarless of my diet rich in carbohydrates, I have always been slim, and I even drank ENSURE for a while to gain weight, I ended up gaining about 8 pounds with that! I am 5’7’’ and my weight before my diagnosis always fluctuated between 124-128, which I considered my ideal weight. Now I am 116 and I DON"T like it!! I hate looking in the mirror because I look sick! It’s not my body anymore. I also lost my butt and a little here and there, I am embarrassed of my body now. I am 33 years old now and I need to gain a few pounds, at least 10. I cannot drink Ensure again because it’s high in sugar, so I am drinking Atkins shakes, which are for losing OR maintaining weight. I am having one shake after each meal and I hope to put on a few pounds, but I don’t see it yet, my jeans are still very loose. I will take some of your tips and hope to put on at least 2 pounds like you did! I hope to keep in touch with you, I feel a lot better with your support. Thanks.