Low Carbing, Stamina, and Weight Loss

I am seeing more and more T1's using a LC diet, and eating less than 100 carbs per day. I needed to lose weight in the very early part of this century and gradually lowered my carb intake from the high 100s to 100 per day. I did not have the energy to do my exercises and home repairs. Taking a one hour walk was a chore. I raised my carb intake to 130 per day and rested while exercising. I adjusted well and lost weight too. I think some of us will have more difficulty with a LC diet. My age may have a lot to do with that (72). I do eat some protein and fat, but not very large amounts.

I started taking Metformin early last year, for my insulin resistance (IR). Now I weigh 17 pounds less than before starting Met. I was not trying to lose weight, so it must be the Met that caused it. My weight is now only 6 pounds above my ideal weight. That is great, but I was losing 1-2 pounds per week for awhile. I thought I might eventually drop below my ideal weight. So I raised my carb intake to 150-160 per day. My weight stabilized, and I was no longer losing weight. I was not gaining either. Very little fluctuation. That many carbs would have caused a lot of weight gain before Met. My IR and the Met seems to be very important factors in the mix.

Now I can take long walks, climb ladders and paint my house, and work out at the gym without any problem. My stamina has greatly increased. The gym workouts and higher carb intake seem to be responsible for that. LC dieting does not work for me at this stage of my life. We are all different!

I've had some pretty good runs on pretty minimal carbs and am skeptical about our alleged "need" for them. I am by no means low carb but, after a conversation here, I had a week off and did a 33 mile week, at the time my PR for weekly mileage, fueled with eggs and nuts for breakfast. For me, I think I do better w/ exercising having really quick carbs in small doses as I go along, to maintain a flatter level instead of "loading up" and burning it off? I picked up "Good Calories Bad Calories" again but haven't quite figured out what it says about exercising, other than that it doesn't matter? I'm not sure about that either?


As always, you are a hero to all of us "newbies" (for me 35 years).

Whenever I've tried to go really low carb, I have never felt particularly well. I have read that you eventually get used to it and then feel great, but I've never stuck with it that long. According to my pump, I average about 130 carbs per day but that doesn't include any carbs to treat lows. I don't really keep track on a day-to-day basis, but my average always seems to be about the same.

I'm glad to hear that Metformin is working well for you. It's great that you're able to stay active. I think that's one of the most important things in living well with Type 1.

Thanks for the update.

I eat about 90 -130g of carbs each day. I also tried a low carb diet 30-40g but my health was not good and I had many days with a low energy level. For many years I ate 300g of carbs but I worked very hard never stopped from sunup to sundown.I weigh about 30lbs less than I did 20 years ago and my BMI is normal according to the published charts...but "I'm shrinking"

Here's a link recently posted by FHS about the suitability of a properly executed low carb diet for endurance type sports. Steve Phinney who is interviewed in this link says to obtain the best performance it's best not to yo yo back and forth between low and high carb because your metabolism needs to adjust to a ketogenic diet.

I've cut back to about 80-100g/day and all the protein, meat, fat, veggies, and fruit I want... just no/little processed grains, pasta, bread, etc. I've lost 20lbs in 6 weeks and my cholesterol has dropped from 200 to 155. I don't have a problem with decreased energy.. but I'm also in my late 20s.

I know this type of plan doesn't work for everyone, but I'm loving it! If you're curious, give it a try. Google 'Paleo Diet'.

Thanks for the link BadMoon! Very interesting article. I wandered off to the store (to buy some Kind bars, 11G of carb/ 10G of protein, I don't worry about fat, there's probably some of that too...). I have certainly been yo-yoing for a while!

"I knew this was true because I had to ride with them to keep them from stopping and eating something they shouldn’t." ha ha!

I think an important point to make is that Phinney is not just talking about a low carb diet. Low carb is actually subjective. He is a proponent of a ketogenic diet, hence the importance of not yoyoing with your amount of carbs. He also talks a lot about proper supplementation which is absolutely crucial for athletes.

It's interesting stuff! Very tempting but I'm so attuned to having carbs for dinner and occasionally other times too. Perhaps it's easier with "aftermarket" insulin? I agree about supplements though. I wasn't aware of magnesium until reading that but I have been using salt and shoveling in quite a few veggies and definitely feel stronger when I eat better. I'm only running moderate distances though, and probably won't do much more than a 1/2 until late June/ early July.

John, this all sounds very familiar. i ate at least6 300 carbs per day many years ago. In the years 1945-1987 I knew nothing about carbs so I ate all I wanted and never gained weight. I avoided sugar, but otherwise ate everything I wanted. I worked ver hard almost every day. I am also shrinking. I used to be 6'2" tall. Now I am 5'11.5". I guess my back bone is shorter. Typical of us older folks. I am 72 now. I still use the weight charts for a 6'2" male. Lol!

Thanks, I am ashamed that I had let myself become kinda weak and I was out of breath a lot when I did exercise, just a few years ago. Working out at the gym 3 days per week has been so good for me. I started in Dec, 2010, but should have started at least 30 years ago. I use 19 different machines at the gym, and will be learning to use more. I can do so much more now, without getting so tired at all.

Something like that might have worked for me 20 years ago, but now I need my carbs if I am going to be as active as I have been the past 3 years or so.

glad to hear you're feeling better, doing better. you're an inspiration to me...good job! yes, i've heard metformin can cause weight loss (and the runs too, heeheee).

Thanks for your experiences. One question that always concerns me is that while people drop their carbs, it is also important to get sufficient nutrients, particularly protein and fat. I actually increased my protein when going low carb, routinely getting 150 g/day. Bernstein actually recommends that you change your levels of protein to address weight issues. When you went to lower levels of carbs, did you make an effort to monitor your protein and fat levels?

Yes, I have heard of those side effects. I am using Met ER (Extended Release). For some reasom it is less likely to cause the runs. It has not bothered me at all.