I know that my first and foremost concern should be my health, and getting my life on track as a diabetic (which I am definitely doing), but I am also human.  As someone who has constantly struggled with maintaining an ideal weight, I was thrilled with my inexplicable weight loss before being diagnosed with Diabetes.  I had been in Europe for a few months, eating whatever I wanted (including fresh crusty loaves of Italian bread, homemade Czech pastries and rolls, German chocolate, and sooo much beer and wine-in other words a bunch of fattening, high carb, high sugar foods) and traipsing about thinking "Wow, I am lucky, my metabolism has really taken a turn for the better"!  I can look back now and chuckle about this, and when I tell my friends about the symptoms I was experiencing that led me to diagnosis, we share a laugh together. 

 

Of course when I was diagnosed, I understood the weight loss and it scared me.  However, after 2 weeks of knowing that I have diabetes, and changing my eating habits for the better, I am a bit surprised at my weight gain.  I of course left the overindulgent eating habits in Europe when I came home mid November.  But, I was still consistently eating sweet and/or fattening foods (albeit natural), upon my return home.  I realize that my body was eating into itself but when I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago, I completely cut out all white and refined foods and essentially have been eating proteins, raw green vegetables, whole grains (in moderation) and an almost entirely low fat/low carb/low glycemic/no sugar diet.  So why, oh why did I gain 10 pounds in 1 week?! 

 

I did a lot of research about insulin usage and have gotten so many mixed results.  A lot of sources said that insulin doesn't make you gain weight, but maintaining the same eating habits before insulin therapy is what makes you gain weight.  Well, my eating habits have gone from healthy to super healthy and I have still been exercising.  What gives?  I am a bit neurotic, I won't lie, but I am petrified of struggling with weight gain as a result of using insulin, even though I am easily eating 1/3 less than usual (portion and calorie wise).  At the same time, I am hell bent on tackling my diabetes and taking all necessary precautions to make sure my blood glucose doesn't get too high (i.e, using insulin)  Hrmmph!

Views: 190

Comment by brnyrbr on December 31, 2010 at 10:36am

I don't know much about insulin but I have observed my mother.

She went into a coma in 1982 during that time she was dxed with T2.

My mother was heavy prior to that time. It seemed her fat melted away.

Her treatment included insulin, diet, and exercise.

Even on insulin she maintained her new slim self for a long long time.

 

I've heard other people affected by diabetes make the comment they can't lose weight on insulin. They also state that they gain weight on insulin.

I think that they are correct in what they say.

 

Perhaps insulin affects people's weight in different ways.

Since we are all different and what is normal for others isn't always normal for us.

 

I noticed that you're exercising.

Sometimes you will have a muscle weight gain from this.

That is a great gain because it burns calories better.

 

Best of luck to you

brn

 

Comment by Claire on December 31, 2010 at 12:39pm

Well, I've got a similar problem. As a matter of fact, I am Czech and I too bake those delicious pastries :-) During 2 years of my diagnosis I've gained 20 pounds... I eat healthy and exercise a lot but still, things like stress and school and erratic daily schedule get in the way of being perfect. Maintaining tight blood glucose levels doesn't help either because that means you're getting more insulin...

About insulin - it is an anabolic hormone. In theory, insulin should not make you gain weight if you use only as much insulin as you need to cover energy from food that you burn throughout the day. So if one eats more than he should -> uses more insulin to cover it, the result is weight gain. Insulin resistance contributes to weight gain as well. The problem is that people with diabetes don't have a natural way of insulin delivery - it goes under the skin, than to the whole system (muscle and fat cells) and then the rest goes into the liver. It should be the other way around. And because of that people with type 1 diabetes usually need more insulin than they would had they been healthy (had they had a physiological way of insulin delivery).

Hence you get more insulin, you gain weight - that's how I see it. However, it's not the end of the world. There are many many people (women - men have a bit different metabolism and usually don't have that much problem with excess insulin) that are T1D and stay skinny despite eating a lot (usually they do sports a lot, eat healthy and so).

If there is anybody who has already figured out how to eat normally (healthy), take insulin -> maintain good diabetes control and doesn't have weight issues, I'll be glad to hear your advice. Because as Frankie writes, although I know quite a lot about diabetes, insulin and nutrition, the theory seems to be a bit different than the reality...

and by the way, Happy New Year to everyone.

Comment by Brian (bsc) on December 31, 2010 at 1:39pm

It is perfectly normal to notice a large jump in weight after diagnosis and starting on insulin.  It is simply your body restoring itself after a period of utter starvation.  It is great to balance healthy eating and watching your weight, but it may be nearly impossible trying to keep your body from restoring to it's natural setpoint.  My recommendation, don't look at your scale, instead focus on healthy eating and exercise.  If you are unhappy with your weight and body composition after a couple months, you can work on that. 

Comment by Frankie Sloane on December 31, 2010 at 3:03pm

Hi Brnybr,

 

Well, the thing about me is that I have type 1, not type two, which as you know is completely different.  So for me, I haven't started off at a heavy weight in the first place.  That is part of why this is so frustrating.  It is true I have been exercising, but not any more than I ever have, so the weight gain definitely isn't muscle. 

Comment by Frankie Sloane on December 31, 2010 at 3:09pm
Thanks for your comments Claire and Bsc, It is nice to learn a bit more information about insulin (i.e, it being an anabolic hormone).  I am still learning about the terminology and such, but essentially I am only on 20 units of Lantis and 0-6 units of Novolog a day.  From what I can tell, this isn't a ton of insulin and I am eating small, square, balanced meals.  So, hopefully, my body is just getting itself back on track and will stabilize once my blood glucose and routines stabilize.
Comment by Claire on December 31, 2010 at 3:17pm

yeah, you're probably still in the remission phase when your pancreas still works a tiny little bit. That helps with blood sugars control :-) you're really OK with insulin, based on tables, a person should use about 0.6 IU/kg of body weight per day.

I think the best way to go is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay motivated to control your diabetes and wait how things turn out.

I mean, I have type 1 diabetes but I consider myself being healthier and in a better shape than many people around me :-)

Comment by Lila on December 31, 2010 at 4:03pm

How much weight did you lose before diagnosis? It could simply be your body returning to its natural equilibrium. Which may not be the same as what you might mentally consider your 'ideal' weight.

 

I put on 10% of my pre-dx weight in the 4 weeks after dx despite being too terrified to eat anything in those weeks. However my BGs rapidly stabilized and that was the much more important thing. Really, what the bathroom scales tell you is just a number which ultimately is not very meaningful. The numbers from your meter are the ones you should listen to :)

Comment by Frankie Sloane on December 31, 2010 at 5:24pm

Lila,

I lost about 15 pounds but it was over the course of 2+ months so I got used to it and even bought new clothes!  Your points are so valid though, I especially like what you said here:

 

"Really, what the bathroom scales tell you is just a number which ultimately is not very meaningful. The numbers from your meter are the ones you should listen to :)"

 

Thanks!

Comment by latvianchick on January 1, 2011 at 1:26am

My diabetologist says that insulin does cause weight gain.  It is a bit of a bitch but I do feel better with it.  I was severely underweight - having always been - er - cuddly but not grossly overweight!  I found myself going down and down rapidly and buying smaller and smaller clothes.  At first I was happy about it but then it got scary and I thought I had cancer.  I went back and forth to the doctors and not once did they pick up on it!!!  I had all the symptoms for 10 years before I was accidentally diagnosed while in hospital for something else!

 

Hey, diabetes sucks, but it was a relief to know what I have.  The insulin itself is not what causes the weight gain but having too much insulin (and the wrong sort!!) and eating because of hypos (and excess insulin is stored as fat, particularly around the middle) is what causes it.  If you can find the right balance - and that is the scary thing - too much and you hypo etc, too little and you are constantly running on high.  I maintained goodish weight control for a couple of years and then it piled on.  Recently because of other health issues I have been running too high and then I have been losing a lot.  Again it is a bit scary but at least I do know what is going on.

However I must not (nor should you) make the fact that you are getting bigger an excuse to stop the insulin or you will open yourself up to complications.  Work with your doctor and watch what you are doing and try to find the consequences of what you are doing yourself.  Everyone is an individual!  That is what is so difficult!  What works for one may not work for others.  Keep testing and keep records of your results and see if you can find a pattern.  Your highs in the morning may follow lows at night and once the insulin has faded out your body will raise the bars so to speak to compensate.  A bit like going into starvation mentality. 

Mine goes down at about 2pm - and I know that is often because I forget lunch! 

Good luck and I wish you well in the future.  It is a bummer but at least you know what the problem is and you need to experiment to some degree as to what is best for you.  It is early days yet.  I wish you a happy 2011 with health and success in all you do!

Comment by Frankie Sloane on January 1, 2011 at 4:43pm

Latvianchick,

 

I should probably just be patient until I get in for my first endo appointment.  I was diagnosed just after two weeks ago and won't be seeing someone until the 5th of January.  Everything that I have learned, has been self taught up until this point, and my mom who is a nurse is assisting me with regulating insulin usage/blood sugar.  I definitely do not over eat with lows, or in general so who knows.  I am hoping the endo does!

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