Losing weight with Type 1

I am new here today. I am a 43-year-old type 1, have had it for 22 years. I am on an insulin pump and have great control. But my problem is like many other type 1s, I cannot lose any weight no matter how hard I try. I know this is long,please bear with me.

My entire life before and after diagnosis I was thin, very thin. Back then in 1990 when dx'd, I was taught exchanges for my meal plan and have honestly always done that and eaten pretty much what I wanted with no problems with weight gain or blood sugars - I've always maintained excellent control. I did not start the pump until I got pregnant at 36 yrs old and I was never taught carb counting. I was thin until I went on Lantus at about age 32 and then gained about 12 lbs but still was slim around 137 lbs at 5'6" (which I thought that was fat! ha!). During pregnancy, I gained a TON of weight and have never been able to shed it all, 6 years later. I need to lose about 16 lbs. to get back to 137 lbs. just to feel Ok about myself. For 6 years since having my only child, I've tried everything to lose weight - Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, boot camps, counting calories, etc. etc. The most I've lost is about 6 lbs on Nutrisystem in 1 month and then it came right back after I stopped that program and ate normal food. I am frustrated and depressed and feel very badly about myself. I don't want to be super skinny, I am realistic, I just want to be a good healthy weight for my height and at 155 lbs now I am not. I sure can maintain a weight though, I stay about the same.

I have talked over and over with my endo about this and he's not really much help - just tells me it's "calories in/calories burned" to lose, but I've done that and it does not work for me. I've researched some about doing low-carb and am ready to try it but I wanted to hear others' experiences about it. I have a call into the endo to get set up with a nutritionist to help me, but in the meantime, I'd like to get started ASAP as it's summer and again, I am still too big. I want to lose even just 5 lbs and I'd be happy at this point but need to lose 16 eventually.

How many grams of carbs a day should I stick to to lose weight? I can't go no-carb, I love carbs and I get really hungry without them - I tried Atkins and last about 2 days. Something has to work at some point right? I want to know the best formula for losing with what other type 1s have had success with - how many carbs per day, what types, how much protein,etc? If I do this, what can I expect to lose per week and how long should it take? What have been others' experiences?

I have recently started exercising again doing Zumba 2x per week and walking 3 other days.

I am motivated, I just want something that will finally work for me.I refuse to believe type 1s cannot ever lose weight and I have to be this way forever! I am sorry this is so long, I am just sad and frustrated. Any help and advice would be very appreciated!

It sounds like you're doing good stuff! I was in a similar boat in 2005-6 when my weight peaked, maybe 275 lbs. I was taking R/N and started eating less, no scientific approach but I also took less insulin, pretty much SWAGGING the whole way. I also started working out a bit at first and then more regularly and harder in a Tae Kwon Do program, pretty "old-school" place, lots of push-ups sit-ups and jumping up and down, w/ long bike rides on the weekends. After I few years of that, I'd dropped some weight but, as I started working out more, my A1C rose up. At that point (spring 2008...) I was maybe 225 lbs and I got a pump on the recommendation of a friend. I learned about carb counting and, while I haven't cut them out completely, I have cut back. Every time I've cut out some carbs, I've lost a couple of lbs. 2004 lunch= sandwich, chips, yogurt, granola, apple (seriously!) 2012 lunch= 1/2 sandwich. Other stuff has changed too, as I moved away from TKD and switched to running but I've kept at it and am down to about 180-185 depending on what I've been shoveling in?

I read Gary Taubes' non-diabetes oriented books and they don't seem to say exactly how many carbs you can eat and still benefit from losing weight. A lot of the "low carb gang" here, run 25-50G but most of the time I'm 80-100, w/ "excursions" on the weekends and am pretty content. I wouldn't expect to lose much more than a pound a week and, while I look much better than I did then, or at least less tubby, I haven't lost *nearly* a pound/ week.

Having kids is very challenging as they seem to prefer carby crap as their main "food group" but I've been doing ok sticking with it. Another thing that's helped me w/ running as I've gotten more into that is to sign up for races to get motivated? Not everybody's into running but a lot of races will have run/walk orientation that can just serve as a goal? It also helped me realize the tremendous diversity in people's abilities.

Last year at the Chicago Marathon, my first, people were dropping all over the place and I was probably close but, like 20 miles into it, a pacer comes running up "BLIND RUNNER, GET OUT OF THE WAY!" or something like that and the dude was smoking everybody wheezing and gasping by that point. I passed people who looked fitter than me and (a lot) of people older, bigger, chunkier, whatever blew me off the road so I signed up again this year and am trying a few new things. Or old things or whatever? Races can be useful to help me stay focused.

I wish I could help but I am in the same boat. Gained weight that has not come off yet and doctors are no help. It really bothers me when they act like I am the only person that has mentioned that insulin has made a diabetic gain weight. I felt like that for years until I came here and I noticed I wasnt alone. And usually Lantus is a insulin that was taken. I took that for 3 years and over all gained 60 pounds...Finally I switched and I am happy but still have not lost any weight...So if you find the answer please pass it along to me :)

I was definitely "overshooting" insulin a lot when I was bigger, using R in a variety of ways (IV, into leg and running up and down the stairs, into my arm and doing pushups...) to make it work faster but always said "I'm fine". Even now, if DP is cranked up, I'll bolus for 20G and sort of eat 10-12G of carbs and have a glass of skim milk if it seems like it needs it?

I guess that means my ratios are off but I am still involving a bit of "SWAG" but I think there are other aspects of cutting out carbs that make it easier to manage diabetes which, in turn, can give you more time to work out? Less carbs= smaller doses. I'm only phrasing it relatively as, while I believe that lower carb diets are very useful, I am like Tikichristi in that I like carbs. I just like less of them than I used to? I also think that it's a very long-haul proposition. I haven't lost that much weight for a while and am sort of plateued. Beer are about the main source of empty calories these days and well, it's summertime!

Carbs are addictive. "Liking" them is sorta like "liking" drugs in that once you kick them you find you no longer need them as much as you thought you did. Just know that they can be insidious, they make you hungry for more, and it isn't some personal failing on your part when you succumb. Two days on Atkins isn't enough to get you past carb addiction. You might give low carb a month's commitment. Personally I find it easier to do low carb when I concentrate on real food that isn't empty calories or sweetness...not even artificially sweet. Broccoli just tastes better on a tongue that isn't primed for a cupcake. I hope your nutritionist is really helpful, but if not there's a lot about low carb out there. Good luck!

I have been Type1 for 28 years, will be 44 in September and I feel your pain. I am in the same boat and cannot lose weight regardless of how much I exercise, combined with my low carb diet. It is so frustrating. And of course people that don't know me assume that I am Type 2 because I'm overweight.
In my case, I feel that age may have something to do with it, maybe some insulin resistance, and more than likely some to do with my thyroid, which is no longer functioning, for which I take replacements. my thyroid numbers are all good but I have always felt hypothyroid even when the labs say otherwise.
My current endo is a joke but living in Northern Maine, I have a choice of 2. So, needless to say, I do most of the leg work of what I need or want from my medical professionals myself. I asked my PCP check my VitD after reading about low VitD causing insulin resistance and thereby inability to lose weight. It was very low and I am now taking Vit D supp but so far see no changes in anything since I started taking it.
I started DrB 3 months ago and I was skeptical at first that I could do it. Cereal used to be my favorite food and for 3 months now I have had no flour or grains, no starchy veg's, and no milk. Blood sugars have improved nicely, causing me to use less insulin everyday. That alone should help with the weight loss but no. My A1c is the lowest ever. If you haven't read DrB's book and you think you might want to try, I would suggest reading it first and then trying the diet because then you will have the theory/knowledge of why low carb "should" work, at least for blood sugar issues. Which for me I think makes it easier to do it and keep doing it. I eat average 40-60 carbs per day. Much more than his recommended amount but the no fruit thing doesn't work for me.
My advice would be to just keep at it and know that even if you're not losing weight your still being proactive and improving your health. That's the way I have to look at it.

The addictive thing seems to be a reason to approach it moderately? I have done days of like 30G of carbs and done a bunch of running in the 80-100G of carb/ day range, to sort of test it out, and done ok with it. I presume I miss out on ketosis and just get a less carb vibe rather than a magical, low carb accomplishment? At the same time, when look at what I regularly eat, and find opportunities to cut out a few carbs, even changing from moderate carb bread to low carb bread, or whatever, and maintain it for a while, it seems to get results? The other thing is to put it in with a healthy lifestyle including exercise and endorphins as, at least for me, that makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. If you can do that for 3 or 4 months, you can maybe see some sort of accomplishment, more miles walking a faster pace, walk-running some intervals, whatever you are capable of now, set some sort of measurable goal and do more by some point in time in the future? I was very lucky to have gotten into a good group of people with Tae Kwon Do so that when I started running, I was able to run 4 miles right out of the box. Then, the first race I ran, a 5K, must have had a slow field as I placed 7/53 in my age group. I haven't come anywhere near that since, although I've run faster times on several occasions but I guess the crowds here in Chicago are faster? I don't look at it as a "defeat" as I'm mostly racing myself.

It also helped me to have "hoarded" some of my pants as I got slimmer, going from 44" to 42" to 40" was a great "yardstick", even though I started out a little bit more than a yard?


Please read the above article, Its about taking insulin and weight gain,

I've been low carb for about 3 weeks, now. Down to about 35g / day, now. No fast acting carbs. I'd recommend reading both of Dr. Bernstein's books before you start. I was not looking to lose weight. Just control my BG. I was concerned that I would starve.

The first 3-4 days were pretty rough. I was having severe carb craving. I indulged a couple of times. Then they went away. I lost only about 3 lbs, but look as if I'd lost much more. And my weight doesn't fluctuate day to day as much. The strange thing is that I don't eat much more protein or fat to compensate. I eat much less, overall, but don't get hungry. I take less than half as much insulin. Rarely more than 1 or 2u at a time. My taste buds have also changed. If I have a Wasa cracker with creme cheese, it tastes just like cheescake. Also, unsweetened baker's chocolate is delicious to me, now. I'm happy with the diet, because it keeps my BG very stable, but I have no idea if this would work for weight loss.

I got a kidney infection and dropped 25 pounds! Wouldn’t recommend it…

Last November I moved back to a small town I left just after my diagnosis. After my diagnosis I lost 40 pounds (I've gained back 10), so everyone comments on my weight loss. I say the same thing as you, "I got Type 1 diabetes, not a weight loss method I'd recommend!"

Anything I say will be discounted by a nutritionist. So be prepared. If you want to go low carb, a nutritionist will not WILL NOT help you.
The way I have personally had success and continue to have success coaching real live not-online people is by lowering carbohydrates. Only carbs. I suggest, too, reading Bernstein first. One starts by writing up what you are eating now in carbs. Sum every day for a week. Have it for looking at to remind yourself. Since I never know anyone's cardiac status, I do not want to hear of someone exercising at the same time as losing weight this way.
Get rid of fast carbs that spike and leave you depleted an hour later. Get rid of all munchie items that are carbs. Get in a meat or fish for every supper; throw out any cereal above 5-8 grams. Get in protein bars for the first few days in case of hunger. Get in a reduced calorie bread if they sell it in your area, and ham/cheese/lettuce for sandwiches. Get in eggbeaters, veggie sausages to mix up breakfast. Get in slow veggies OR salad fixings and a dessert of not more than 5 gm. to add to your meat/fish for suppers.
Now add up a nice breakfast of 10 grams, a lunch of 15 grams, and a supper of 15 grams. Give yourself appropriate amounts of insulin at your I:C level for this amount of grams and you will lose weight. And frankly, you won't be hungry in between if you incorporate a little protein at each meal. There is no one who does not lose weight. This is not something you stay on for 6 months, but maybe you'll like it and your blood sugar will be so fantastic, you just might. The body stabilizes.
You can google low carb and you'll find recipes, but just keep counting your grams.
Loving carbs and losing weight does not work. Say goodbye to all that fruit. The more carb munchies, the more addicting they are. So they have to be out of the house first. I use splashes of tea in water when hungry. I use anything but fruit when I want to really lose weight. I like carb smart bars, Atkins bars, anything below 11 grams will perform well in place of carb items. You can expect to lose 1 lb per week. If you don't already know your I:C for each meal, don't do this.

And do stop the whole business when you are at the weight you want. Then you can go up to whatever you want and choose to diet as you want. And since my grandson says there should be a disclaimer, the disclaimer is that I am not trained in the food industry. No nutritionist here, never have been, never will be.

I'd say too that "carb ratios" are sort of malleable in that if you eat less carbs, it may be more apparent where adjustments can yield smoother results? To me, that's the best thing about eating less carbs and probably where I "cheat" the most. I probably eat about 2/3 of my carbs after 5:00 PM and I'm sure I could drop a few lbs if I worked harder on cutting that out. I'm still not "low carb" but, when I cut out a lot of my daytime carbs, I'm only bolusing for 15G of carbs@ lunch (8G of carb bread, 7G of carb peanut butter...) so, if my ratio is off, the post prandial number will be off, either high or low? I take that ratio and translate it into the evening and morning although I give the AM a bump for DP. It's sort of shamanistic but it seems to work and I can maintain an "ok" weight while eating some carbs. More than 40/ day.

can i just say carbs arent evil, and i dont agree they are 'addictive'. As soon as you start excluding foods, you start to crave. See your atkins attempt. Its only natural. By cutting things like fruit, your also missing out on alot of vitamins etc..
While i agree many overdo the carb thing, i believe going the other way and excluding them altogether is not only hard to stick to, it makes getting nutrients from other sources more challenging.
Weight loss is the same for any type 1 as it is with a non-d. You need to consume less calories to drop weight. As for insulin, if your matching your carb input correctly and arent chasing lows with food all the time, then insulin wont be a problem. I think AR is a good example. He lost weight as a T1 and a hell of alot too. He is a runner so no doubt cleaned up his diet and exercised. He is still on insulin, but managed to drop weight. And he is eating carbs.

Sorry but the whole bernstein thing annoys me when weight loss can and does happen with carbs on board. They arent evil.

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I totally agree! Carbs are not evil, I love them. But at the price I pay for how they affect my blood sugar is not worth it chasing the highs and lows anymore. And that's just me and how my body responds to them. Being able to flatline through a meal really makes me happy.
From everything I've read, yes your body goes through a craving period once you stop eating the carbs but then after that initial 10 days or so, in my experience, it really seems to stick.
And weight loss may be the same for D and nonD but as you know each D is different. 7 years ago I was able to lose 30 pounds in 5 months with the usual diet and exercise. And this time nothing.
From what i've read, cycling is supposed to be a great exercise for weight reduction and I started in the fall, spent all winter with bike on the indoor trainer and now outside and from the fall to now I've dropped 9 pounds. The plus side is, I really enjoy riding now.
My best "diet" was when my thyroid was overactive, I was losing a pound a day without trying and even eating whatever I wanted. Of course I was sick as a dog.

Thank you everyone for your input and advice! One question for acidrock - what is SWAG?

I am sort of in the same mindset as Timmy - I don't like the idea of cutting out a food group completely, I don't think that is healthy or maintainable longterm. That is why I'd like to go low-carb not no-carb and would still like to be able to have some grains and fruit -- just trying to figure out how many grams per meal/per day that would be. I guess from what I've read, that will just be trial & error for me. I have lost weight in the past eating good carbs so I agree it can be done, but I just need to find the right ratio. Yesterday, I tried to just start on my own and ate about 60g of carbs, which for me was a huge accomplishment - I was probably averaging over 150g per day and a lot of cr*p food. I have tried to stop eating processed or packaged food - I used to live on granola bars and now, I no longer buy them. So for me these little steps are huge. I also am not a big meat eater but am trying to eat more egg whites, chicken and fish. I don't like red meat at all, have never eaten it but will it pork. I do plan to start trying the low-carb breads, wraps, etc. I have discovered a protein bar I like that feels like a treat and it's only 8 carbs, that is OK right?

Just for the record, I have had my thyroid tested and it's ok. I thought that might be the magic bullet since my dad is hyperthyroid, and I had a baby and am that age but after bugging my doc each visit about it, I finally am accepting that is not the problem. I do think for a while I was chasing lows and feeding my insulin - we've adjusted basals enough so my lows are less frequent but I was eating so many carbs and I think I was over-bolusing. But just doing the lower carb thing yesterday, I used so much less insulin! My insulin/carb ratio is 1:15 so I think that is ok for now.

I just want to see some results and stop feeling so horrible about myself. It's really hard to watch friends the same age drop 15 lbs by just eating less and exercising and I have to fight to lose just 1 lb. What is so strange is that I have stayed the same "fat weight" (that is what I call it:) for 6 years since giving birth to my daughter. It rarely fluctuates - except when I have tried to lose by eating almost nothing or doing Nutrisystem. But then I gained it back and it stayed right back to the exact same weight. It's so frustrating! But it seems like if I could ever lose and get to my goal, I could maintain it pretty well as before baby, I was the same weight for years and years. And I know for sure Lantus made me gain initially - I made my doc pull all my records and for 10+ years I weight 125 (give or take a few lbs) and once I started Lantus, the next doc appt. 4 months later showed an almost 10 lbs gain then continued to rise the next few months. That was enough evidence for me as I was still eating the same then.

I will check out Bernstein's book. And play with the carb grams and see what works. I guess maybe I'll have to go lower for a while to lose then can add back in some good carbs to maintain.

Thanks everyone, I am so glad I found this site because no one else in my life understands this struggle, they think I am just fat and lazy!

Agree about being in the same boat there! I gained like 20 pounds this winter (I know I just sat and ate and didn't try to exercise it off but what can I say it was winter! LOL!

SWAG is "stupid, wild-assed guess". Eating eggs or, more often, Egg Beaters b/c I'm too lazy and out of it in the AM to deal w/ shells, for breakfast has been a huge part of getting my A1Cs ok dropping lbs *and*, as I discovered last summer when I kicked my butt running a lot, getting more veggies into my diet via spinach and broccoli in my eggs. Popeye was on to something. I love the Kind WalnutAlmondMacadamiaProtein bars (I think that's what they're called?) that are 8G of carbs and very tasty. I also replaced stuff like small (weighed, fractioned...) servings of pretzels w/ nuts w/ more nutrients and protein, albeit also w/ fat.

Gary Taubes' book "Why We Get Fat" is more of a science history book (I like that sort of thing but it's very readable...) but explores the history of low carb diets vs. the anti-fat juggernaut (which he explains is based on *flawed* studies, basically making the whole "low-fat" industry pointless...) arose nd took over our collective mindset after WWII. I am intrigued by the links to the growth of the modern, Republican party and farm subsidies that that is just my own crackpot theory...

I thought it was Scientific, wild-assed guess. Anyway, that's what I prefer as the wife of a scientist!

I did too, Trudy. But maybe it morphs into "stupid wild assed guess" when the results come in!

I also read/heard somewhere the same term used for "ill-gotten gains". Hmmm.