Type 1 and weight loss

Has anyone here with type 1 been able to lose a large amount of weight? If so, what methods did you use and how long did it take you? I have been trying for over six months now and have not seen any real progress. I’m eating healthy (no snacking, no eating out, eating more fruits/veggies, etc.), exercising at least 30 minutes daily, and recently cut back on carbohydrates so that I could cut back on the amount of insulin I take, and have still just been fluctuating within the same five pounds, which is honestly probably just hormonal/hydration variations! It’s getting very frustrating. My mom keeps saying I should make an appointment with my diabetes clinic to get some tips, but I really can’t think of anything they might say that I don’t already know. I have an endocrinologist appointment at the end of February that I will bring this up then if I haven’t started to see progress. Any advice or experiences here from people with type 1 who have successfully lost weight would be very much appreciated.

I ended up losing around 30 pounds doing nothing all that special, just cutting back a ton of what I was eating. I would shoot for no more than 50 - 70 carbs a meal twice a day (usually don’t end up eating breakfast, if I do it’s something small, 30 carbs at most). Lowered insulin intake, and tested more which reduced stressing about where I was numbers-wise. I also started in the spring and went through summer, seemed to effect my mood less and there were more things for me to do that weren’t food oriented. Also, I stopped drinking completely, so if you do drink you might think about cutting that out. I am a T1, btw. Good luck - hopefully once you lose the weight you gain the good habit that got you there and you keep it off!

It sounds like you are working hard. I would talk to your endo or primary care physician about it because there may be something else going on. Are you having a lot of lows that you end up treating after exercise? Good luck with everything, it can be really frustrating when you are working so hard with no results!

I would get your thyroid checked out at the next endo appointment, just in case.

Jennifer – have you had your thyroid checked? Hypothyroidism makes weight loss difficult.

Also, perhaps get your vitamin D levels checked.

These are two struggles common with type 1 and some theories that say that they make weight loss difficult.

Sorry to hear about this. I know it much be VERY frustrating!!


I lost too much weight when I went low carb & have a hard time maintaining weight, so low carb does work. Don’t know your carb intake:) If you’re eating the standard ADA diet of 45-60 carbs per meal, that doesn’t usually help.

Good suggestion from Jan about getting thyroid tests.

Symlin has helped with weight loss & there’s a great Symlin forum here.

Hi Gerri,

I’m trying to stay under 150 grams a day, so it’s not really that low carb, just lower than most people eat.

Unfortunately Symlin isn’t available here in Canada, otherwise I would definitely be giving that a try!!

Hi Kristin,

I usually get my TSH level checked every year, and it’s been fine (last check was this past summer). Do you know if there are other thyroid tests I should ask about? I will ask about Vitamin D, thanks!

Hi Jan,

I usually get my TSH level checked yearly by my endo (last check was in the summer). Are there other thyroid tests I should ask about – I know there are several tests and types of hormones, just don’t know much about it.

Hi Micahel,

Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m aiming to stay under 50 grams of carbs per meal. I don’t drink but I DO drink a lot of diet pop, am thinking of cutting that out, that maybe aspartame somehow inhibits weight loss (I don’t eat diet anything else, so this is my only source of it).

Hi Crissy,

I go through periods where I have a lot of lows in a short time, an then periods where I run high and don’t have any lows. I try to exercise either right before a meal when I have no insulin on board, or else shortly after a meal (1-2 hours) so that I can reduce my meal bolus rather than have to eat, to try and minimize how much I eat before/after exercise.

Hi Jennifer,

Sorry Symlin isn’t an option.

Lowering carbs helps when you hit a wall with weight loss. Eat enough protein & you won’t be hungry. A neighbor is on low carb for weight loss. She’s been on every diet imaginable & doing better than she has before. She’s lost over 50 lbs. I finally have someone to eat with who can relate:)

First thing that came to mind was hypothyroidism…but, if not that…maybe it has just been weight gain over time. How much insulin/kg body weight are you using? Normal ranges = .6-.8… of adjusted body weight (IBW + 25% if overweight by more than say 15#s) I was as high as 1.0. Unfortunately, all that extra insulin (to cover ADA diet) increases the risk of continued weight gain and of course other issues like CVD, etc. I had developed some insulin resistance as I gained weight…and the only way to turn it around was to really cut back on carbs = 1/2 my TDD of insulin = 15 pounds in 4 months. I would check w/ your doc and see if any other things to check. Consider cutting back a little more on your carbs and see if you get any changes:) Good luck…sounds like you are really trying to find a solution = half the battle:)

Without taking any adjustments into consideration, before when I was eating normal carbs (about 250/day) I was taking about 0.6 u per kg of weight. Now that I’ve cut my carb consumption in half I’m taking about 0.4 u per kg of weight per day. So I don’t think I’m dealing with any insulin resistance, which is definitely a good thing! I am hoping sticking with lower carbs will begin to have an effect if I just stick with it for a while!

what is it about the vitamin D levels and diabetics? i need to have my thyroid checked but no doctor and no insurance so can’t do that right now but have heard it mentioned a few times about vitamin D and diabetes but no one said what it does to diabetes or how it affects us.

Sweet Blood

Jennifer, am not sure, if anyone mentioned upping your exercising daily total …doing 150 minutes weekly equals maintaining one’s weight ; so if you do 7 days x 30 min equals 210 min. I would think , that loosing weight would be extremely slow, not to mention frustrating at this pace …suggest to double the amount of exercise by getting your heart rate up , if you can and no other medical concerns are getting in the way .
It’s always a good thing , to check with one’s Health Team when one starts a new exrecise program , however I understand you have been exercising for some time now . Keep being hydrated , when you exercise .I hope this is helpful .

Like you, I eat right and always exercised…never lost weight. This past summer though I bumped up my exercise and added yoga/pilates to the mix. I also decrease my eating (primarily because I was so active & wasn’t hungry). I lost 10-15 pounds and am the smallest I’ve ever been (about #122). My advice…continue to the good habits (eating well & exercise) but increase your exercise activity (I started jogging) and add something like weight training and/or yoga/pilates on days that you’re not walking/jogging. Be cognizant to decrease the food you’re currently eating. Within a few months, you should see the changes. Good luck!

Thanks for the tip. I’ve thought about upping my exercise to an hour a day and I think that’s going to be my next step. With my 30 minutes of exercise I do it on my bike which has a heart rate monitor, so I know my heart rate is up. I’m going to try to do an hour on the bike every day, as well as join some other activities for more variety (gym, aquasize, etc.). Hopefully this will work!

I think upping my exercise will be my next step.

I’m afraid to eat less because I’m already eating only about 1,200-1,400 calories a day, and if I go any lower I think it would be too low (I have heard you’re not supposed to go under about 1,300 or your body freaks out and thinks you’re starving and slows metabolism right down). I may check with a nutritionist about this, though.

I think it is a good idea to have your T3 and T4 levels checked as well as the TSH. My doc doesn’t do this, but …

Good luck!