Exercising & hypoglycemia

By jensta Latest Reply 2013-05-05 17:30:48 -0500
Started 2013-04-28 23:36:43 -0500

I've experienced weight gain since being diagnosed with T1 in November. At first I thought I was just gaining all the weight I've lost, but now I've gained more than just that. And I've gotten so frustrated with trying to exercise because my blood sugar gets low in the middle of it, and I have to take a break just to replenish my carbs.

I've told my doctor about the weight gain, and she still insists that I eat 60 carbs each meal, which is more than I was eating before the diagnosis.

How is everyone controlling the weight gain?

18 replies

Dr John
Dr John 2013-05-02 07:48:48 -0500 Report

Do you use a pump? The really nice aspect of using a pump is that you can decrease your basal insulin (temp basal) during exercise for a period of time. I decrease my basal 10% for 2 hours when I exercise or are very active.

LouellaMarie 2013-05-01 05:10:14 -0500 Report

Oh my! I have gained so much since going on insulin and being diagnosed! I am ashamed of how "fat" I look now. My nutritionalist just told me to cut down a little on my carbs, but only a little since I get hypoglycemia attacks of I go too low, lets just say, it hasn't done a thing! It is now warm enough outside that I can beging to walk, so that is my plan, to walk twice a day and do my garden and just see what that will do for my weight, Or will I have to do something more drastic, I dont' know, but I do know I have to so something, I can't stand looking at myself with this great big stomach, Oh, I'm sorry, I have gone way off on a tangent here, I know how you feel, lets just say, There must be answers for us. I wil keep an eye on this post to see if anyone is doing well with something they can tell us about. You are NOT alone! And being healthy and happy is more inportant I know then how I look, but still, I am with you all the way!!!!!!!!!

Type1Lou 2013-05-01 08:32:28 -0500 Report

One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with diabetes is trying to find the right balance…and it may be different for each one of us. If you are cutting back on your carbs and increasing your exercise, you should be able to decrease your insulin and get to your desired weight. Insulin is what enables our bodies to convert the food we eat into usable energy. Any excess food eaten that is converted will be stored as fat, hence the weight gain. What kind of insulin are you taking and when? Hypos are awful, I know. Discuss this with your doctor and he/she may be able to provide more guidelines for you. Wishing you well!

lneider 2013-04-30 19:44:22 -0500 Report

Ihave trouble with lows when I excercise too, try 3 10 min walks each day that willgive you 30 mins of walking that is recomended, talk to a nutriion instructor about balancing your diet around excercise I loss 100 pounds in two years just walking along with a balanced diet, good luck, it is frustrating I know… Linda

LouellaMarie 2013-05-01 05:12:48 -0500 Report

Thank you so much for letting us know it is possible and that you were able to lose weight. That should keep our hopes up!

sNerTs1 2013-04-30 13:36:48 -0500 Report

You get 60 grms per meal, I get 60 grms a day. We ALL are different when it comes to what is allowed for our diets. It took awhile for me to get adjusted right, through keeping a diary, I was able to keep pretty level numbers.

For me, my sugars drop as well after exercising. I now eat a light snack before I exercise, which usually consists of 1/2c of yogurt and some fruit. That seems to agree with me. BUT that's me. I also had problems because I would grab a nice hot shower afterwards, they dropped again. I now cool down, check my sugars and then get my shower in.

There are things you can do. This might be a good discussion to have with your dietitian. Good luck. I hope my experience helps you!
*Hugs* Cheryl

Set apart
Set apart 2013-04-30 05:47:47 -0500 Report

When first diagnosed I was told to have at least 45 g of carbs per meal, I followed this for a while and felt like in was eating too much. I then realized that although I need carbs for energy I didn't need as much. I eat sometimes almost no carbs to 30 per meal now. My carb intake per day is less than 100 grams and probably never even. The less carbs I eat the less insulin I need, and although I am pushing losing this last 5 lbs. I've done alright keeping my weight under 130. Carbs like other foods are calories and if we aren't burning enough calories then it will become stored fat. There isba free app, called spark that can help you with this weight loss. Remember we shouldn't be feeding our insulin, we should only need insulin to cover our food intake, carbs!
Good luck!

Gwen214 2013-04-30 05:04:16 -0500 Report

I actually haven't found that balance yet, and have the same frustrations, especially with cardio. I have to eat, and get my BG up and take my pump up. also, suggested to drink a sportsdrink or orange juice instead of water, before I exercise, you're nutritionist can plan your meals and exercise plan. I drop in the middle, and continue to drop afterwards, even after dinner. Your body is different, so talking to a diabetic educator or a fitness person who is familiar with type 1 diabetics.

mary, the diabetes lady
mary, the diabetes lady 2013-04-29 20:05:14 -0500 Report

Ugh! 60 grams of carbohydrates at every meal! You have got to be kidding me! A person with type 1 diabetes makes no insulin. They must take insulin injections in order to survive. Why? Because glucose aka sugar in the blood is deadly. Carbohydrates ARE SUGAR! So let's see now you eat 60 grams of carbohydrates at every meal and you do that I would guess at 3 meals per day. 60grams x 3 meals equals 180 grams of carbohydrates a day and that's only if the doctor doesn't have you eating a carbohydrate snack or two during that same day. And you are injecting insulin. And you wonder why you're gaining weight? I wonder why you wouldn't gain weight?
Look insulin is an anabolic hormone. It's main function is to get the carbohydrates/sugar/glucose into the cells where it is needed AND to store fat. Insulin does not permit fat burning. You can run from now till next week exercising but if you are taking in copious amounts of carbs and copious amounts of insulin to try to cover those carbs you can't lose weight. You will gain weight. If you take in a lot of carbs and a lot of insulin, you will get fat. Period. You need to find the right balance of carbohydrates to the amount of insulin you are taking. I am no doctor but I was able to help my husband overcome the horrible effects of his type 2 diabetes like neuropathy, weight control and energy levels.
In 2001 my husband, a type 2 diabetic, was put on 13 servings of carbs a day by the nutritionist at a well known hospital in our area. The endocrinologist put him on 5 units of insulin a day. 18 months later he was on 43 units of insulin and his weight ballooned to 280 pounds! He's 5'10". In 2003 after reading Dr. Bernstein's book and doing a lot of research on diabetes, I came up with a plan for my husband. Within 3 months on our plan, he was completely off of insulin, within 9 months he lost 80 pounds and has since lost another 20 for a total weight loss of 100 pounds.
So you say, well he's a type 2 not a type 1. Dr. Richard Berstein is a type 1. I took what I read in his book, "Diabetes Solution" and what I had been reading in other books like "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes and "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes, "Living the Low Carb Life" by Dr. Jonny Bowden, etc. and realized it IS the carbohydrates! It has absolutely NOTHING to do with calories. We've NEVER counted a calorie and my husband has kept the weight off since 2003.
Read these books. I have nothing to do with these authors except that we all owe them a debt of gratitude for helping people with diabetes live better and longer lives.
Bravo to CTFish reply re: Your diabetes management is up to you.

Katie Beth
Katie Beth 2013-05-01 02:56:16 -0500 Report

I got diagnosed as a LADA (1.5) diabetic in March. They put me on Humalog and Levemir and in the course of a month I gained 12+ pounds! 2 weeks ago I started cutting way back on carbs. Now I need less than half my original dose of insulin and I have already lost 3 pounds. I am doing a high protein whole foods approach. Eggs, reduced fat cheese, lean meat, veggies, etc. Don't let the weight gain get you down. Cut back on the carbs and you can lose it! ;)

CTFish 2013-04-29 15:20:39 -0500 Report

60 grams of carbs per meal seems like a lot to me as well. The ADA and the dietician/CDE I see both recommend 45 grams of carbs per meal and 15 per snack or a total of 180 grams for the day. I suppose if you do not do any snacking then your total is 180 as well but depending on your I:C ratios having 60 grams of carbs at any meal requires a lot of insulin. Or at least it would for me, especially at breakfast when I am most insulin resistant and my I:C ratio is 1:5.
Exercise is a great way to lose weight and feel better but the lows can definitely be frustrating and curtail any enjoyment you might get from the exercise itself. Approach exercise with caution. Make sure that your blood sugar is steady before exercising and have some juice or glucose tablets handy while you exercise.
The weight gain for me happened when I was taking far too much insulin and having to constantly eat to keep my blood sugar from dropping. Since I started carb counting and stopped the constant roller coaster blood sugars, I have managed to lose 25 pounds. But this has been a work in progress for almost a year and I am forever asking questions and reading.
Don't rely on your doctor to do the work for you. Doctors are there for acute problems and to write prescriptions. The day to day management of your diabetes and blood sugar is up to you with some help and guidance from a trusted CDE or dietician. So if you are gaining weight eating 60 grams of carbs at every meal then cut back on what you eat. If you're going low during exercise, then cut your insulin dose. Or don't bolus before exercise. Just make sure you keep a careful eye on your meter and also keep a good log of what you eat, how much insulin you take, and how much exercise you do and how your blood sugar responds. With this kind of information you can make a solid plan on how to lose weight and exercise safely.

Type1Lou 2013-04-29 10:22:12 -0500 Report

60 carbs per meal seems too high to me. If I ate 60 carbs per meal, my insulin needs would increase and I would also gain weight. I am a 5'3", 64 year old female who is moderately active. I maintain a weight of 120 lbs. I began using a pump in August 2011. I finally agreed to use a pump because I had started getting frequent serious hypoglycemic episodes while on MDI (Multiple Daily Injections) of Lantus and Novolog after years of MDI with no problems. I try to limit my carbs to 30 for breakfast and 45 each for lunch and dinner for a daily total of 120 grams of carb. You will find much disagreement here and among the experts about what the "proper" level of carb consumption should be. I've found that 120 grams per day works for me. It will vary from individual to individual.

If you know you will be exercising, you should try to adjust your insulin accordingly…easier if on a pump. What works for me is to set a temporary basal level of 0% for 15 minutes prior to exercising, the duration of the exercise and 15 minutes following the cessation of exercise. How much you adjust depends on the duration and level of exertion. Exercise generally increases your insulin sensitivity. Several books that I would recommend are Gary Scheiner's "Think Like a Pancreas" and Dr Richard Bernstein's "Diabetes Solution" Hope this helps

lneider 2013-05-01 07:20:19 -0500 Report

good morning great info here, Iam going to get these books as well as repeating a diabectic nutrition class :) Linda

HRG617 2013-04-29 09:09:58 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November at the age of 26. I gained about 5 pounds back because I had lost some before being diagnosed. I work out everyday and eat really well and have maintained weight but not lost any ( even though I have tried). I truly believe to lose weight, you need to reduce your carb intake which would lower your insulin needs. Try to eat the good carbs like broccoli, asparagus, kale etc.

Not sure if you are on a pump or shots. When I was doing shots, I would take my lantus every night around 6. Would go work out at 5, to prevent a low because by that point there was barely any in my system anymore. Never have extra insulin in your system left over from a meal, it always makes me go low. I'm on the omnipod and it has allowed a lot more flexibility. Hope this helps :)

alemmings 2013-04-29 01:32:12 -0500 Report

The medication that u may be taking if u r on any can cause the weight gain. I'm on an 1800 cal diet and I only eat about 45 carbs a meal. Idk if ur on insulin or not but I am and if I know I'm going to b really active I eat a few more carbs and take a lil less insulin.