Weight Loss and Type 1

Boyds Bear Mrs. Griz and insulin pensA recurring theme that I see on discussion boards is “how can I lose weight when I have to use insulin.” Like anything else, it might not be easy but it is possible. When I went thru my foot infection, I gained about 65 pounds when I wasn’t able to exercise. Once I was able to get back on my treadmill, I was able to lose that weight.

Boyds Bear Iown PayneI know some people feel that you don’t need to exercise to lose weight. I am old school and I believe that you do need to exercise to lose weight. I know every time I have gained weight, it was because I quit exercising. When I started exercising again, I would take the weight off. I know there are some people out there that have a super fast metabolism and they can get away with not exercising. If you are reading this because you are trying to figure out how to lose weight, then you are not in that lucky group with the super fast metabolism. You need to exercise!

A couple years ago, they had some studies that said you need to exercise 55 minutes a day, 5 days a week just to maintain your weight.  That means if you want to lose weight, you need to exercise more than 55 minutes 5 days a week.  If you are spending a half an hour at the gym three times a week, that is not going to cut it if you are having a hard time losing weight. There were articles on both the Washington Post and Time if you want to read more about that.

Not everyone has two hours a day to spend on the treadmill, but there are a lot of things you can do to add some movement into your day. When you go to the store, park at the far end of the lot instead of taking a close spot. If you are just stopping to pick up milk and the dairy section is on the right side of the store, park on the left side and walk across the store to add a few more steps. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Take Fido for a walk instead of just opening the door and watching him lift his leg on your neighbor’s bush.

Dog walking

You need to pay attention to what you are eating. Write down every little thing that goes in your mouth. I know this kind of the extreme, but I read about a woman that could not figure out why she wasn’t losing weight until she started writing everything down. Once she started writing stuff down, she realized that she was consuming over 700 calories a day in coffee creamer alone. All those little things add up – 50 calories here, 20 calories there and before you know it, you have added several hundred calories to what you thought you were eating.

Figure out a calorie amount for the day and stick to it (other than treating lows obviously). I know counting calories is old school also, but if eating as much as you wanted actually worked, you would not be trying to figure out how to lose weight. There are calorie calculators on the web that you can plug in your age, height, weight and activity level and they will give you a recommended calorie amount. I personally think those things estimate on the high side. Of course if it tells you that you should only be eating 1800 calories and you are currently eating 2200, then they might work for you. Back in the old exchange list days when I was first diagnosed, I was put on 1200 calories a day and I was pretty skinny back then and wasn’t trying to lose weight. I think today’s guidelines add too many calories, but that is just my personal opinion. I try to stick to 1200 because that works for me.

Weigh and measure your food and pay attention to serving sizes. One serving of peanut butter is usually two tablespoons. That doesn’t mean plop that big spoon from your silverware tray into the jar and take out two heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter. That means get the little rounded one out from your utility drawer and once you fill the round part up, take a butter knife and even off the top. Otherwise, that 190 calories just became 500 calories. Guestimating is not counting calories.

I often hear people saying that they have to eat something before they exercise or they go low and eating something defeats the exercise. It doesn’t defeat the exercise. For one thing, exercising will help speed up your metabolism and that means help losing weight. If you are going to drink 100 calories of juice before you exercise, that doesn’t mean that you eat your 1400 calorie limit for the day plus 100 calories in juice. You need to include the 100 calories for that juice in your plan for the day. If you planned 1400 calories, that leaves you 1300 calories for other food items.

A lot of people like to use juice to treat a low. If you are trying to lose weight, then you need to use lower calorie treat items. Glucose tablets don’t have as many calories in as juice. They might not be as tasty as other stuff, but they work and don’t pack in all the calories.

Green tea supposedly helps speed up the metabolism. Drink lots of water.

Cut back on carbs. You don’t have to go Atkins style if you like your carbs, but cutting back some does help get the scale to move.

Watch your salt intake. Salt helps retain water. It is also in things you normally would not think of as being salty. A few years ago, CNN did a story on stores injecting something that contained a lot of sodium into their chicken to give it a longer shelf life. I looked at the label for my chicken and the store I used did not inject sodium into their chicken. I originally saw that when I was still in the process of losing the 65 pounds I had gained. A few months after the story aired, I moved and my weight loss came to a halt. I was on the treadmill feeling really bloated and I remembered the chicken story. I decided to quit eating chicken and my scale started moving again. I had moved and switched grocery stores but never thought to read the chicken label. Who actually reads chicken labels!

Comments

  1. Great post Kelly. I completely agree with everything you said.
    I went for years without weighing myself and ended up close to the obese category on the BMI.
    Then, during my big hospitalization I lost a lot – being fed through a tube in your nose probably helped. And now by the end of the year I’d like to take off 15 more pounds.
    My new CDE (love her) gave me an updated nutrition counter put out by Calorie King. It has listings for tons of restaurants. Who would think that an Arby’s chicken salad sandwich had 800 calories? Even at Subway there is a great variation in calories, depending on the choices you make.
    And the whole hypo treatment thing – yes, glucose tabs are pure sugar so you don’t waste calories on fat. Plus without fat, they’re absorbed more quickly.

    • Thanks Kathy! Those restaurant food items are very deceiving. I once worked next to a Wendys and they came out with some new salads. I was getting one every day for lunch until one of my co-workers looked up the nutrition info. When she came back & told me how many calories were in it, I about fell off my chair.

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  1. […] loss and type 1 diabetes is always a conundrum, but Kelly Booth shares some advice she’s found helpful. Hint: Don’t forget to read chicken […]

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