Type 1 Diabetes and Weight Loss: A Double Edged Sword

Most women in the world are sensitive about their weight, even if they're slim. However, if you have type 1 diabetes and a weight problem; it's a double edge sword. A person with type 1 diabetes (pwt1d) can't just stop eating spontaneously. We have to carefully consider how we are going to reduce what we eat and how we are going to include exercise in our daily lives.

The advice I got when I was 'encouraged" to skim a few kilos off was to exercise, exercise and more exercise. In fairness, the staff at the clinic I was attending at that time were not very well educated in diabetes and I was not given access to a dietitian or any further advice.

I needed to lose my second baby weight that was still hanging around 5 years later. I started with the exercise and worked out how to adapt my insulin to my body's needs around that. For me, a 30 minute brisk walk, 5 days a week, took a couple of weeks to get the adjustment right. Initially, my body just wanted to have hypos but by the end of the second week I had mastered the insulin to eliminate them. I did this for more than a year and I felt great but I was not losing any weight.

I have since learnt that exercise burns glucose before it burns fat. So it makes sense that a person with type 1 will never get to the stage where you will burn fat by exercising. Exercise also lowers blood glucose and that, in most cases, leads to taking in more glucose to replace what your body has used up. So here you are! In a Vicious circle!

But exercise will make you body more efficient. It will help you control your blood glucose and help you tone up the flab but I don't see how it can help a person with Type 1 lose weight.

So even though I had toned my muscles and gotten fitter I did not lose weight by exercising.

Next phase of weight loss: reduce food intake. I have always kept a food diary and this was handy when I needed to examine what I was eating and where I could shave the calories (namely carbohydrate and fat).

I was already on low fat everything for many years but I did need to look at the fat in my meats and other proteins. And of course, see if I could switch my current carbohydrates for better ones and therefore reduce my carb intake overall.

The two most significant changes I made were switching to porridge for breakfast and from two slices of bread in a sandwich to one or rye crackers. And a third change was to load up on vegetables and bring in more fruit.

It worked! I started to fit comfortable into my clothes again and I felt better about myself.

Weight loss is never easy, for anyone, if it was we'd all be skinny, but for us type 1's it feels like two steps forward and one step back all the time. But for me the knowledge about how to do it and making informed choices really helped me get out of the mental roundabout.