Newbie- type 1, athlete and....weight gain?!

Hi guys, first post, be gentle :slight_smile:

I was first diagnosed type 1 4 weeks ago. Despite a strict diet i have put my weight back on i lost (to be expected) but with 2 kilos ‘interest’. I am on 10units lantus and bolus with novarapid 3 times a day to cover about 160 grams of carbs total a day (still honeymooning obviously as sometimes i dont even need a whole 3 units spread out over the day to cover the carbs). My endo said a small weight gain is normal and it platues off. Now all my clothes fit etc the same, but im wondering if it is bodyfat, is it possible to even shift this weight? I eat exactly the same cals, same workouts etc yet the extra couple of kilos dont budge at all. Its like my body has a new ‘baseline’ race weight or something? (im a triathlete) …As mentioned, i like routine and eat the exact same everyday, and have a program i follow to training. Now i dont really feel fat or anything, i feel ‘fuller’ in the muscles etc, but yeh…weight is on somewhere?!
Sorry it may sound a little trivial, but extra weight in my sport is sometimes a bad thing.
Thanks for listening :slight_smile:

Your body has experienced a severe crisis due to the absence of insulin. Without insulin the main source of fuel for the cells - the carbohydrates - can not be utilized. You only survived in starvation mode by burning your fatty deposits. This experience taught your body that the fatty deposits are very important for survival. In your current state he would not survive the next crisis of this magnitude. Thus the creation of fatty deposits is something like a top priority for the next months. It will take some months before this will normalize again. Another part of the weight gain is the normalization of the blood electrolytes: water and triglycerides for example - all the free floating triglyceride can now be converted back to fatty tissue. Then there is the insulin itself. It is also a driver of growth because it sometimes connects to the growth receptor and it is a driver of potassium intake. I think it is fair to expect that this normalization process will take 1/2 year at least - depending on the speed of recovery.

Thanks for the reply! Well good news, that any weight increase isnt going to be a linear relationship! I was happy that my eyesight improved over the course of a weekend with lantus alone, but yeh, this one is a bit different. Im normally 68kgs, got down to 63 before diagnosis, now in a month/5weeks shot up to 70 and holding.

Unless you are less than 5'6", a weight of 70 kg is still rather light. If you are an endurance athlete, then perhaps it is of concern, but otherwise your body is probably restoring a set point that it was unable to achieve for some time (you may well have had metabolism difficulties for months, if not years).

If you want to assure that any weight gain is muscle rather than fat, then I would recommend taking up a weight training program. Get into the gym and lift heavy weights.

Yeah, I went through the exact same thing. I was always on the skinny side at 5'10" 135 lbs. I started trying to bulk up just a couple months before my diagnosis. I put on maybe 5lbs before I was hit with the severe symptoms associated with diabetes and I lost those 5 lbs + another 10 lbs pretty quickly over the course of a month.

Once I went on insulin, my body changed pretty rapidly. Before I knew it, I was up to 150 lbs on what was a pretty conservative weight lifting program to go along with my track and field training.

You have to keep in mind that, like Holger says, you were insulin deprived. Not only were you in starvation mode, but you also were deficient in a very important anabolic hormone. Without insulin, it's damn near impossible to build muscle or store fat.

bsc is being a little modest as well. He's on a very low carb diet which really helps with both BG control and fat loss. More and more studies are showing athletes who are highly competive in endurance events like the triathalon can not only compete at a high level on a low carb diet, but actually perform better than when they were on a higher carb diet.

Something to think about.

Well I'm not a guy and I would never be considered an athlete even pre-diabetes. But I do have a story about weight gain after starting insulin.

When I was diagnosed T1 at the age of 27 I had lost about 20 lbs very quickly. Soon after starting insulin, I went with my husband to an out of state event for his company which involved evening wear. Not thinking to try on my dress again for the event before I left home... lo and behold... dress wayyyy too tight because of the rapid weight gain.

It was not a pretty picture and there was nothing I could do. :(

Thanks for this link FHS, Phinney continues to impress me with his knowledge of how low carb works. He provided a key insight for me about the importance of watching sodium intake when low carbing. About a year ago I decided to go to war against sodium, I cut out as much hidden sodium as I could from sources like lunch meat etc. and never put it on my food. I did this because my blood pressure had been creeping up and this is one of the standard things to do. I started having dizzy spells after eating. Adding salt back as per Phinney's recommendation has stopped this and my blood pressure has remained stable. BTW his favorite sodium source is bullion, mine is bacon:). I eat about 30 to 50 G/day.

I'm 52. I consider myself an athlete. But the only one I compete against is myself. If I don't run as fast as I could with a banana, that is ok.

Being an athlete is a state of mind. You can be an athlete if you choose to think like one.

ps. I dieted down to 175 lbs after diagnosis. I now weigh 205 and my waist is actually smaller than when I weighed 175. Body composition (not weight) is what really matters.

Wow, welcome to the club!! Yeah, your body is probably going to feel out of whack for awhile so don't stress if you feel like you're gaining a bit of weight. Keep in mind that your body has literally been starving because, without sufficient insulin, it was unable to convert carbs into energy. Your metabolism is a bit off and will be for some time before things stabilize. Also, if you were in DKA or close to it, you will likely have some water retention/bloating that will take awhile to resolve (maybe another month or so?)

Just hang in there and don't stress. Once your BGs are within a healthy range for an extended period of time, everything will get back to normal.

thanks for the replies guys :)
my weight has now stabilised, which is good obviously! Was worried i was just going up and up and up there!
And i do sprint tri's, the longest being 750m swim/ 22km cycle/ 5km run, so not really endurance, but not one were it is advantageous to carry around extra pudding!
I would like to do an olympic distance which is coming up soon, but my swim concerns me. The ride and run i can get through without destroying my bsugars too much, they are my strongest leg (more so the run), plus i can take a glucometer with me. But the swim ALWAYS smashes my bsugars. For example, the other day i had a reading of 6mmols and climbing from eating 1 cup of brown rice (no bolus). I did 40 laps (1km) and i came out of the pool at 3.7 and feeling out of energy. Mind you i did exercise earlier in the day, so the rice may have filled an empty sink so to speak, but regardless, swimming is my weaker leg and my bsugars know it. I may have to find a way to carry a gel or something in my wetsuit incase i get a bit 'doughy'.

uh, I think that's endurance...don't compare yourself to Ironman people, compare yourself to couch potatoes!! That rocks!! I agree that swimming kills my BG. My buddy's like "do the triathlon this year!" and I'm sort of intrigued by the idea of giving it a whirl, it's in August, when I sort of hit some training doldrums last year...

go for it! its very addictive! Best feeling when its finished, thats for sure! Made better when you have maintained good bsugars throughout

You should try starting your swim at 9.0 or 10.0...the swim is your first stage and should be the easy one for BG control. You need to start with a elevated BG that will pull down to your desired leval during the swim. You will need to train trying different BG levels until you find something that are using your arms and legs during the swim and your arms will burn twice the amount of BG as your legs. Your body is not going to catch up if you get behind on glycogen during the swim you need to carb load before the swim.

I ride in Century events (100 mile) and my body can recover BG during the ride but there is no way I could load in some new sugar that would be usable during a swimming event...I would just "Bonk"

You need the same amount of sugar (carbs) as any other competitor. If you skimp on nutrition you will give up performance. You will have to chose performance over great BG numbers to compete with others but you can maintain good control if your only going to compete against yourself.


thanks for the reply John :slight_smile:
Well i had another trial sort of swim albeit in the pool. Had bs of 6 BUT had a cup of rice, vegies and chicken, my normal lunch. I didnt bolus on purpose. Got to the pool and i was 7.8mmols and still rising. Swam 44 laps (or 1.1kms) jumped out and was 3.9.
Im thinking before this weeks tri (750m swim) i might get myself to 10 atleast maybe even 12. At what point does the high blood sugar impact upon your exercise peformance? IE, how high is too high?
Also just wanted to note im ok with the highs as it is only on race day. My monthly/daily averages hover around 5 so these early days i have good control.

Did your BG start climbing as soon as you jumped out of the pool? When you tested are you sure your hands where completely dry...any moisture on your skin will dilute the sample and the reading will be low.

The 70 (3.9) would not concern me if I felt good when I climbed out of the water, no rubbery legs. I would not count on lunch carrying me...I would use a fast acting sports gel to carb up before the swim...

You will have to take baby steps and just see what happens...learning to use insulin and doing a extreme sport will be like learning to walk again....Good luck

A lot of sports gel type of things have maltodextrose, which I've found to be absorbed more slowly, like 2 hours, instead of "right now"? My goal for "big events" is to have the insulin on board gone by the time the race starts and to be around 120, if it's a bit lower, I use quicker acting sugar, basically, candy or gatorade or something like that, to jack me right up into the wheelhouse of where I want to be and make the sugar available while I'm doing the activity. I agree that swimming is tough. The only other thing I could think of would be to practice swimming a ton to get more data. For a long event like a triathlon, I'd probably take smaller hunks of carbs to have some along the way too, again the faster acting stuff.

Nope, my bg was at 3.9 and heading down. I was dry, i had a shower, dryed off and got changed. I did feel 'ok', not great, technique was trailing off towards the end, but that could just be fatigue in general. Its funny, i always thought, even as a diabetic, a full cup of rice would spike already normal bs levels enough to swim 1km. I mean, its not far by any stretch. But water kills my bs. Interesting you mentioned that arms use up heaps of bs, i always would have though the larger muscle groups like legs would use more.

cheers acidrock- I was meaning to look into the gels and ingredients as i noticed some have dextrose, others malto etc. Your right, we want the quicker the better, and the easier on the guts would be nice too! thinking of trying honey stinger energy gels which are mostly honey. Supposedly easier on the guts. Gels dont agree with me at all!

well im starting to get some higher numbers so im thinking i need a bit more insulin. I hope you guys are right, more insulin does not mean more weight gain!

I did ask my endo this question, he swears black and blue that insulin itself doesnt produce weight gain, its more that people misjudge the dose and have to carb up to prevent the lows.

Well, technically, he's right of course. Just taking insulin is not going to "cause" weight gain just like your pancreas crapping out doesn't necessarily "cause" weight loss.

It's that whole domino effect of things that happen when your homeostasis gets rocked because of a defect in insulin production that wrecks havoc on your ability to maintain a constant weight. Generally speaking, highs and lows in a T1 are due to a mismatch of insulin and carbs. Since we control our insulin dose and carb intake, it's difficult enough to balance to two in a manner that achieves a stable weight. Throw in the type of carn burning activity that you do and all bets are off.

25 years after my diagnosis and I have yet to wake up two consecutive mornings at the same weight. In any given week, I might fluctuate 2 kilos either way.