Weight loss with type 1

Hi Gang,

I’m brand new to Tudiabetes and just joined this group too. I’m 38 and was diagnosed with type 1 five years ago after the birth of my daughter. I’ve always been an avid exerciser (mostly in the gym). Last year I gained a little weight (no particular reason) and I can’t seem to get it off to save my life! I’m hoping some of you other active type 1’s can help. I eat between 1500-1800 calories a day, low carb (15g/meal), low GI, and I work out at the gym 3 days a week, plus one hike or walk on the weekend. My doctor said it’s harder for Type 1’s to lose, but honestly, before I gained the weight last year, I could eat almost anything I wanted & never put on a pound. Any advice?


If you find the answer, let me know! :slight_smile: I think the same holds true for us, calories in vs. calories out. The problem is, as I exercise I need more calories to prevent lows so it’s very frustrating. What I think we need to be doing is adjusting insulin on the days we’ll be exercising. I probably should have lowered my pre-breakfast because I know I’ll be exercising this morning. Age plays a big part, I’m much older than you but It’s become more difficult and I’m exercising more than ever and eating less. I’ll be listening for any advice!!

yeah, let me know the magic formula. Insulin is putting more of a layer of fat around my middle and it isn’t pretty!

If I understand it correctly, insulin is a fat retaining hormone, so being insulin dependent plays a big part of it, since the body is no longer regulating itself. Aging is another factor.

After having 3 diabetic pregnancies, my weight is way up. I’m slowly losing it, but no where near what a non diabetic 41 year old woman is doing. Its incredibly frustrating.

Talk with your doc and see if she has any other suggestions. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to lose some weight. You might need a bit more help which she can offer.

Good luck and let us know how it goes, I’m willing to try nearly anything at this point!

I think it may also have something to do with the type of insulin your using too. I’m still struggling with weight issues, however, I have been using Novolog & Levemir and it has not caused me to gain further weight… In fact I lost a little (not significant, but I did loose some weight) so far.

I agree with the above posts-- insulin makes it very hard to lose, in general!!
I would also suggest getting your thyroid levels checked (TSH and some other tests). I would ask your endo about that when you go to your next appointment. A slow thyroid is common in T1’s, and, if untreated, makes it next to impossible to lose weight.

Ive been able to lose almost 100lbs (gained back 30 over 4 years) but going on an extremely low carb veggie diet and doing 2 hours of cardio 3-5 times a week and another 30 mins of weight training. But this lifestyle is really high maintenance- you cut the cardio down and you gain the weight back, like I did.

I’m 28 and have had type 1 for over 18 years. Over the past five or so years I gained about 50-60 extra pounds and am finding it VERY difficult to lose them. I have several friends and colleagues who are trying to lose weight as nondiabetics and it’s very frustrating seeing them do less than I’m doing and losing far, far more weight. Currently I’m doing 45-60 minutes of cardio a day and just added in weight training 2-3x a week, along with eating a healthier diet, and I’m hoping that will finally kick-start things. It’s frustrating when I have to eat in order to exercise (or eat later on to treat/prevent lows), and so I’m really trying to adjust my insulin to compensate for exercise. I haven’t found a way to do it yet that doesn’t lead to highs or lows, though.

Let us all know if you find any solution to weight loss!

It’s MUCH harder than the average person thinks… That’s why I absolutely hate those aerobic videos with all these skinny men and women instructors who never known fat!!

Diabetics are no different from the rest of humanity and the same arithmetic applies: take in fewer calories than you burn and you lose weight.

That said, if you go from not-great control (running high blood sugars frequently) to tighter control, you will start utilizing the calories you take in rather than excreting them and this can cause weight gain. (The alternative is really bad!) It doesn’t sound like that applies here so I think you are experiencing:
38 years old + female = likely pre-menopausal, shifting metabolism, etc.

Really, there’s no magic, though it is hugely frustrating for those already committed to a healthy lifestyle. The only solution is tweaking your exercise/calorie intake. Good luck, Rachel! You do not suffer alone, for what that’s worth.

Okay, I really don’t want to mention this, for fear that people will start using it, but (and this is especially true among diabetic teenage girls) there’s something called diabulimia. I’m betting, when you were first diagnosed, you lost a lot of weight. That’s because high blood sugars make you lose weight, no matter what you eat. So diabulimics keep their blood sugars high to keep themselves thin. So, this year, when you’re having trouble losing weight, have you gotten your sugars under better control? I know that low blood sugars means you gain weight (I’ve read several studies about this, but I’ve lost the links) and high sugars mean you lose weight. Now I’m not saying everyone should go around 400 all the time, because that has its own problems. But I do know that, when people start having tighter control over their sugars, they tend to gain weight.

Me, too! I’m 43 and have always struggled with my weight. I gained 50 lbs over the last 2 years on a 1200 calorie diet and I exercise obsessively (jog 2-3 mi 5 days/week, ride my bike ~50 mi/wk, weight lift 3-5 days/week, yoga on any “off” day where I’m not up to jogging or riding).
About 3 months ago my Endo put me on Symlin. It’s a PITA to have to take shots (I’m on the pump), but I lost 11 lbs without changing anything in the first month. I was disappointed when I stopped losing. But, it gave me hope. Now I’m on an 800 Calorie/day - I don’t feel like I need any more than that, and I’ve continued to lose ~8 lbs/month.
Symlin is what I needed to push me over that edge - now lets see if I can lose the remaining 25 lbs or a few more and keep it off!

Hi Rachel,

I first joined tudiabetes looking for an answer to the same question you have asked – you might find some additional ideas in previous posts. I’m similar to you – I’m 42 and I was diagnosed with type 1 at 35. I was always very active (marathon runner) and a very healthy eater (vegetarian), and I still am. But after I had my second baby (at age 38), not only did I never loose that last 10 pounds or so, but I gradually started to gain more weight, about 3-5 pounds/year. This year, when my clothes stopped fitting, I knew I had to loose the weight. So I tried all the standard things – I ate less and exercised more, but nothing happened. After a whole month of really trying hard to loose weight, I had actually gained another 2 pounds! So, I understand the frustration.

Anyway, after reading posts on this site, I found something that worked for me. I’ve lost 23 pounds since January, and I only need to loose about 2 more pounds. As someone else already mentioned, the real key is to take less insulin. You can definitely do this without letting your sugars go high. The way I did it, was by exercising A LOT throughout the day and using the exercise in place of part of my meal boluses. I run for 30 minutes in the morning (before my boys wake up), then I go for a power walk/stair climb after lunch at work, and then I do wii-fit yoga and strength training everynight after dinner. All together, it’s about 90-120 minutes of exercise. I also had to reduce my carb intake, from 45 to 25 g/meal (but you’re already low on carbs, I see). And, importantly, with all this exercise, I was able to reduce all my basal levels throughout the day, too. My total daily dose of insulin went from 35 units/day to 20-24 units/day. I learned how to substitute exercise for insulin from the Walsh “Pumping Insulin” book chapter on ExCarbs. The main thing I was doing wrong before was eating carbs to cover the exercise (to prevent lows), whereas now I exercise to cover the carbs I eat. I have been able to loose about 2 pounds per week by doing this.

Anyway, I feel great (lots of energy) and my endocrinologist is really happy because my A1C went down. My sugars are a lot better now, even with a lot less insulin. I told my endo what I was doing (after the fact) and I said, “I found that it’s really really hard to loose weight on a pump”, and he agreed with me completely and emphatically. He said this is the only way.

Good luck!!


Beth! A great and novel approach, one I haven’t heard before!

I new I needed to decrease my insulin, so I lowered my carbs, and started eating low glycemic index so I would stay in tighter control, and was also able to decrease my basal with increased exercise, but I haven’t used exercise at each meal to decrease my insulin needs.

As Lydia mentioned above, my control has been improving - and that means more weight gain, right? I might also consider Symlin as TS mentioned… My endo brought it up a few appointments ago because I still have post meal spikes that won’t go away - I often hit 225 or so after each meal (even if I just eat 15g of carbs). My mealtime ratio is already 1:7, and I don’t feel comfortable making that ratio any tighter.

I’m not sure I can make the time each day to exercise at each meal (my work is not conducive to working out mid-day), but I can add it in at night for dinner and then do it on the weekends.

Thanks for the great ideas. I have 10 pounds I’d like to lose, so we’ll see how it goes! - R