Type 1 diabetes & losing weight tips
Talk to your dietitian about adjusting food intake and insulin doses. Losing weight can easily lead to a vicious circle if you have diabetes. Taking insulin forces you to eat even if you are not hungry at the time. Try to decrease your food intake and, at the same time, decrease the amount of insulin you give yourself. It can be difficult to find the appropriate balance between insulin and food. You may find it hard to know what foods you can cut down on. Write down everything you eat in the course of a 3 day period, recording the exact quantities. Include everything, food, drink, sweets, ice cream and so on. Ask your dietitian to calculate the energy amounts and advise you on reducing the amount of fat and calories you consume. If you decrease the amount of food you eat, you run the risk of becoming hypoglycaemic – and if this happens you will need to eat to reverse the situation. But the next day you can think about reducing both food and insulin to lose weight sensibly. Remember to check that you really have low blood glucose (less than 3.5-4.0 mmol/l (65-70 mg/dl) before eating something extra. Be careful not to eat too much if your blood glucose level is too low. Ten to fifteen grams of glucose is usually enough. Then wait 10-15 minutes before eating anything else, even if you are still hungry, as this will give your blood glucose level time to rise. You should avoid losing weight too quickly. A slow and steady loss resulting from a change in habits is better than a quick loss caused by reducing your food intake to a minimum. A sufficient rate is usually 1-3 kg (2-6 lb) per month. It may not sound like much, but will result in many kilograms in one year. Complete fasting can be dangerous for a person with diabetes and it is something that is positively discouraged.
This content is based on Dr Ragnar Hanas' helpful book, Type 1 Diabetes in children, adolescents and young adults. Click here to order copies of Dr Hanas' book online.