Is being thin a possibility with insulin?

For any D's out there who've managed to stay thin while on insulin, please would you share how much you take (TDD) and if you eat a certain diet? Low calorie,llow carb, vegan, etc.?? I've just gained and gained since I was diagnosed 4 years ago... I am now an uncomfortable 12 pounds over my normal weight (about 35 pounds since diagnosis, but I was really underweight then). I don't want to continue down this path...


Alas, a complicated subject that firmly illustrates the whole "Your Diabetes May Vary" (YDMV) concept.

For me, weight has never been a serious issue, except when I had lost 30+ pounds prior to original diagnosis. Sorry, but I don't have a magic solution for you.

Since going on the pump, I have lowered my TDD to just under 30 from just over 40. No special diet at all, I just pay attention to portion size and reducing large dinners. Added to that, I try to stay fairly active during the week.

I eat as much as I want of low carb foods. Take a total of about 17 units insulin (novolog and levimir) -- need only a bit of bolus insulin due to very low carb diet. My excess weight just dropped off (40 pounds), and staying off, so far (a couple of years). Exercize weight-lifting, 3x week.

I am T2 and started insulin just over 3.5 years ago. My TDD is about 70-90 units and at at 200 lbs, I am at the same weight as when I started insulin. I follow a whole food low carb diet.

I've always felt that a recipe for weight gain is improperly tuned insulin regime. I think if you walk around all day with elevated fastings and depend too much on your basal to cover your meals you can end up with weight gain. Your body will just shuttle that extra glucose into body fat and never get to the point where you burn fat. When you walk around with a "good" fasting number (< 110 mg/dl) between meals your body can switch to fat burning and it just makes it easier to stay at a good weight.

Hi Bambi
I think i am just a lucky girl, I do not follow a certain diet, i just try to eat more or less what you call "healthy". i have a TDD of 30-40 Units, depending on how much I eat and how much I exercise… I enjoy all sorts of sports, use Public transport and therefore walk around a lot just to get places.

i think, there is no one size fits all solution, and i also would not get yourself too worried about your weight… this insulin is keeping you alive, so we gotta take the pros and the cons of that juice.
Good luck

Have you seen this? Has helped me work in the insulin vs exercise vs crash and burn vs food cycle we can get stuck in.

Timing is everything, figuring out how to workout safely with less insulin on board is a big price of the weight control puzzle.

I think "thin" is certainly possible with insulin. However I believe that thin is a senseless goal and certainly it is not a picture of health or attractiveness. Healthy weight is absolutely possible with insulin. If you are over weight, then you need to eat less, exercise more. Diabetes or no...the way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. This will also lessen (or should) lessen your insulin needs. It takes a little time but you can do it.

My own TDD changes depending on my activity, diet for that day, and so on. I use more basal than bolus insulin on most days. Unless I am eating out. My regular diet is a healthy one that has nutrition as the focus. I prefer fresh natural foods.

Get going on losing those extra 12 pounds. If you start now, you will keep it from becoming 20, and then 35, and then 50 - which is a TON harder to take off.

Hi Bambi. I have had type 1 diabetes for 33 years. I currently take between 16 and 24 units of insulin per day. For the last couple of years I have been eating a low fat (<10% of total calories), high carbohydrate(300-400g of carbs per day), whole foods, plant-based diet. As a result I was able to reduce my A1c, reduce my cholesterol, and lose 40 pounds. I currently have a BMI of 21, a body fat percentage of 20%, and it is still dropping. Best of luck to you!

I was told I'd gain a lot of weight with insulin and yadayada and I actually lost a lot of weight (I was already a good weight didn't need to lose a single pound) . I'm trying to get back to where I was weight wise but I'm still 3 lbs below my goal and 8 lbs down from my pre-diagnosis weight. I'm a vegetarian, but I have been one long before I became diabetic (like I think I've been vegetarian for 10+ years) , and I don't eat a special diet I eat whatever I want, usually 150-200 carbs at most . I use around 18-21 units of insulin per day total (11 units lantus and novolog varies) . I've always been pretty slim and have never been overweight or even close to it at any point in my life.

I'm a vegetarian
Well there's the problem, my friend! 3 or 4 In 'N Out Double Doubles and those 3 lbs will be right back on you.

:-) :-) :-)

Hi Bambi: I have had Type 1 for 19+ years. My TDD is 20 units (via my Animas insulin pump) and I follow a lower carb diet (not low carb). I had lost ~30 pounds just before diagnosis, and after diagnosis and going on insulin it actually took some time to get back to my normal weight (what I have weighed since high school). I just don't have the "insulin and weight gain" issue. Are you on a pump and CGM? I think some of it can be treating lows. In the JDRF Type 1 women's support group I attend, there are just a few women who gained significant weight after starting insulin--most didn't. Sorry I don't have any good answers for you, but some observations.

this is very interesting brian! one question: if you are depending too much on basal, wouldnt you have lowered fasting bg? because that basal would be there constantly, having a sustained blood sugar lowering effect?

We're in the same boat. It has taken me years to gain back some of the weight I lost before diagnosis and during the first year I was on insulin and I'm still 3-5 lbs below target.

My total daily dose is around 26 units (pumping humalog)and I aim for about 160 carbs a day. Maybe we should go into business together and develop the 150-200 carb weight loss/maintenance diet. It couldn't be much worse than most of the diets out there.


I got a myfitnesspal and try to do the 1,850 calories it recommends me to eat but I struggle and most of the time can get 1,500 to 1,700 but that's it and it's apparently hardly enough. I did come up from 122 to 125 lbs though so I'm proud of myself on that ..but I want to be back to at least 128 and it's hard to get there for some reason. I'm using it on the maintain setting for now though because I cannot meet the 1,900soemthing it recommends on the gain setting. It's probably not helping but I'm trying to ease myself into eating more calories. So far I can only get to 1.700 and I usually go beyond what I need in fat and sodium .

I’m 6’2 and 170 lbs, very little fat on me. I eat high protein high fat, low carb diet and no matter how much I eat I can’t seem to gain weight back, which I would like to

My TDD varies a lot but generally 10-20 units

I have always had a weight problem, from the time I was a little kid. Two parents with late onset t2. I developed it in my early 40s. I took pills for several years til they just weren't doing the job anymore so I had to add insulin. No small feat for a needle-phobe! I've been on the Lantus SoloStar for about 6-7 weeks and I feel like my jeans are getting tighter as my numbers get better. This is not a good scenario and I have wondered if it's the addition of the insulin that is doing it. Any comments or advice would be appreciated. I try to eat low carb and I do walk as much as I can in a day, but maybe I need to do more.

I'm not sure what poundage you mean by thin but achieving a good, normal weight while taking Insulin is certainly doable for the majority.

I've had Diabetes since age 3 (52+ yrs now) and I was always underweight and as a Teenager usually, also. Lack of control most likely plus too much activities and exercise. There were 3 times however that I was 15 pounds overweight, once as a Teenager and twice as an Adult. I didn't like it, so I started back to eating healthier foods and I put more effort into exercising at those times. It was not difficult to get rid of the 15 pounds, for me. I didn't hear about lower carbs until 2005-6 but I didn't get into it until a few years later.

There were a few times as an Adult that I was 102, 105 and 107 pounds which I didn't like either. This was due to medications I was taking for RA.

Strangely, I haven't had the weight gain like some, with different doses of Prednisone which I have been on for the past 9+ years(touch wood).

Like most, depending what I eat(I usually do lower carb and/or smaller portions), my TDD is usually 35-40 units. Before the Pred., my TDD was 32 units. I am an MDIer. :)

Hopefully, losing the unwanted weight will be an easy go for you.

I asked my diabetic educator yesterday about weight gain now that I am on insulin. It's been about 7 wks since I started it. I found my jeans were getting tight around my waist. She said this does happen a lot of the time, but should level off soon, that I should not keep gaining. Boy I hope she's right. I've had a weight problem since Day One and I think it's not in my cards to ever be thin, I'd be happy with normal. I am about 20 lbs overweight so not insurmountable but definitely challenging. Her best advice is more exercise. I walk a lot so I guess I need to ramp it up!

Bambi , diagnosed in 1983 ( age 42 1/2 ) ...weighing in at 139 and looked darn skinny in my mind .I had lost muscle .Today I weigh in at 140 and appear to look much " healthier " than then .The number , that the scale shows is not necessarily the " ideal weight " . I am a pumper and TDD is close to 19 u this time of year ...a little less during warmer months than in cooler months .I am struggling with getting my basal " perfect " , which is always ongoing :).I am not on a specific meal plan and aim for a variety of foods .At home meals ..." cooking from scratch " I have been eating less, due to doing less activity , however I am getting back to longer daily walks ( I have signed up for my number 13 Team Diabetes event in ... Bermuda , January 18, 2015. Recuperating from a fall with a collapsed vertibrae 8 ) Wishing you well