Weight Struggles with Type 1 Diabetes

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Last week, Laura at a1-Conceive shared her weight struggles and I applauded her openness and honesty. I personally think every Type 1 Diabetic (T1D) struggles with weight at some point in their life (if not their entire life).  It’s so hard if you are trying to lose weight and then get low and have to eat to bring your blood sugar up and eat things you wouldn’t normally on a diet.  It’s hard to exercise when you are T1D because you worry about getting low from working our or if you are high, you worry about doing more damage to your body if ketones are present.  And added to that, insulin can cause weight gain so having an insulin pump give me constant insulin can’t be good for my figure.

I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life.  When I was first diagnosed with diabetes in 1993 at the age of 9, I had lost over 10 pounds which was a lot for a 9 year old.  I remember my step-dad telling me how I needed to gain weight.  I was a picky eater and was no longer allowed to eat my powdered sugar donuts and pop tarts.  Weight gained seemed impossible.  Fast forward several years and I would never have that problem again.

The biggest fluctuations in my weight have been in the past 10+ years.  Going into college, I was happy with my weight.  I actually lost weight my second year after going through a bad breakup.  I still remember my endocrinologist at the time thought I was trying to be diabulemic (where diabetics give themselves less insulin to try and lose weight).  Nope, just not taking good care of myself (high blood sugars) and not eating much because of depression/stress (breakup).

College post breakup-skinnier version

College post breakup-skinnier version

Then I turned 21 and all went downhill.  The lovely “liquid diet” turned out to be the opposite of diet and I weighed my heaviest on record.  Clothes didn’t fit and being a poor college student I didn’t have a lot of funds to buy new clothes.  I tried doing Weight Watchers the summer after I turned 21 and I ended up gaining weight and I assumed it wasn’t tailored to diabetics (not realizing that maybe my evening pig out on a bag of Doritos could have been the reason).

After turning 21-my heaviest until this past December (but I got to meet Kirk Herbstreet!)

After turning 21-my heaviest until this past December (but I got to meet Kirk Herbstreet!)

Somehow between turning 21 and graduating college, I managed to lose some of the alcohol weight.  I didn’t really try, no dieting or working out, but by the time I entered the real world I was doing OK.

First year in the real world-managed to shed those drinking pounds

First year in the real world-managed to shed those drinking pounds

During my mid-twenties the cubicle sitting resulted in pounds creeping up and when the hubby proposed to me, I was back to a heavier weight.

Engagement photo-Need to shed some pounds

Engagement photo-Need to shed some pounds

I decided to give Weight Watchers a chance again since my company was offering to pay for it (who would turn down free weight loss coaching?).  For some reason, maybe it was the upcoming wedding, but I was able to lose 18 pounds through WW! I guess it can work for diabetics :-P.  When I got married, I was actually at my best weight since the breakup semester at college.

Only time I will ever post a swimsuit photo-I was very happy with this weight (honeymoon)

Only time I will ever post a swimsuit photo-I was very happy with this weight (honeymoon)

Second honeymoon pic because I love my weight here :)

Second honeymoon pic because I love my weight here 🙂

Then, I got fat and happy.  I gained over 30 pounds my first year (and half) of marriage!  I have no idea how it crept up so quickly, maybe all the celebrating or relaxing that I no longer had to plan a wedding or a consequence of basically starving myself for months through WW.  I got married in May of 2011 and I first remembering feeling heavier in November of 2011.  I had gained at least 17 pounds since my wedding date.  So I joined My Fitness Pal and entered my weight.  I didn’t go back to My Fitness Pal or think about my weight much again until the following August, August 2012. I had gained 6 pounds since the previous November.  I thought to myself that I should take action but I didn’t.  By December 2012, I had gained 8 more pounds!  I think working from home had something to do with the pounds accumulating.  This was my heaviest I had ever been (even heavier than my drinking days of 21).

A few weeks after my heaviest ever-the dress helped hide some fat

A few weeks after my heaviest ever-the dress helped hide some fat

I finally decided to take action.  But this time I decided to avoid any yo-yo diet.  I started a Couch to 5k program in November (a few weeks before my heaviest weight).  That went pretty well so in January I signed up for a 10k and 10k training.  I tried to eat a little healthier, focus on my blood sugars and kept running.  I also had the added benefit of getting the flu in January which shed a few pounds and did basal testing/fasting all throughout March and April which had to help a little bit with the lbs.  From the beginning of December to the end of February, I lost around 10 pounds then from the beginning of March to today (beginning of June) I’ve lost around another 10 pounds so 20 in total.  My goal is to lose another 15 pounds but I’m not as focused on weight loss now but more on being healthy by running, lifting weights, eating right, having good blood sugars, etc.  Hopefully by “being healthy” I can continue to lose weight/stay in shape and hopefully this will be a good path for getting my A1C Below-Seven. 🙂

I added a My Fitness Pal widget to my site to track my weight.  Right now it says 6 pounds lost (not 20) and that’s because I started in November 11 then gained an additional 14 pounds through December 2012 before starting to lose weight, so it’s net is 6 pounds.

My current weight

My current weight


9 thoughts on “Weight Struggles with Type 1 Diabetes

    • Thanks! 🙂 You can’t really tell from the photo (I stayed away from the camera then haha) but back in Nov/Dec I was my heaviest ever, clothes weren’t fitting and I felt really negative about having to get dressed up to go out…now I’ve lost 20 pounds and I feel a lot better about life so hopefully I can keep it up!

  1. Pingback: New workout routine | Below Seven

  2. Weight stuff with diabetes is a TOTAL pain. I am constantly struggling. Way to go (both of you!) for sharing this – I think it’s something that needs to be talked about more often.

  3. Just discovered your blog today and love it 🙂 Reading through just this post alone, I can see many similarities in my life! Many. Thanks for sharing, I’ve just liked you on facebook too! 🙂

  4. I just found your blog and this is so inspiring as I am struggling with this issue right now. I got a new insulin pump/CGM after being on shots for the past 2 years and I immediately gained 10 pounds. I can’t fit into any of my clothes and every time I work out, I go low and drink a gallon of orange juice. So frustrated that I want to cry. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    • Aww hang in there! Losing weight with diabetes is definitely not easy! Have you tried a temp basal before working out? That might help curb the lows while working out some.

  5. Just saw your story upon doing some research online on how to lose weight as a T1D. I have been working out for 2-3 months now and eating super healthy which was a complete cold-turkey change for me since I never worked out before, ever! I also used to eat complete crap – veggies were not in my vocab. I have noticed that I feel better and have more energy, but I haven’t lost a single pound! I just know there is no way I am not losing weight – there has to be a reason. Upon doing some research I saw that a lot of T1D’s have this problem, and I’ve basically learned that there’s two ‘solutions’ from what I’ve read: 1. Cut out carbs completely (unless you’re having a hypoglycemic episode of course) so that you don’t have to take the ‘fat-feeding’ insulin. 2. Ask your doctor about putting you on Symlin, I guess it can aid in weight loss for diabetics. Both of these options have shown success for some but the first seems extremely difficult like you must be depriving yourself, and the second I don’t think my doctor would put me on because I am relatively young and not so overweight that I need a weightless aid to help. It appears that diet and exercise are working great for you, I’m just wondering why it’s not for me!! Going crazy over here! Any advice you can pass on would be hugely appreciated!

    • Hi Kelsey! Glad you found me! I eat carbs and I wasn’t on Symlin either and I lost about 30 pounds! It’s possible to do it the good old fashioned way of diet and exercise. A few tips-1. Use My Fitness Pal and be honest! I found this a great tool to keep track of how many calories I was eating; it adds up quickly! 2. Make sure you are getting enough calories. Sometimes when you are trying to lose weight you might “starve yourself” and not get enough so then your body hangs on to the fat. 3. Drink a lot of water, as cliched as it sounds, drinking water really did help me to lose some pounds.

      Exercising also seemed to help me a lot too, as long as you can regulate your blood sugar so you don’t have to compensate with too many sweets to treat a low. Getting my blood sugars in good control for exercising was a work in progress though. Finally, don’t get too discouraged if you don’t see it coming off quickly. I would lose around 0.5-1 pounds a week, some weeks gaining a little before losing probably because of water weight. Oh and the FitBit has helped me more recently! Good luck!

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