Type 1 Diabetes and Weight Loss


Can it be done, absolutely!

Can it be a challenge, absolutely!

Is it worth it, absolutely!

It can be very difficult to know where to start considering there is a new weight loss program that comes out every single week, or a new magic pill of some kind, or a certain food that claim to be what you should or should not eat. Lets face it, all of this can literally make you crazy when it comes to weight loss.

So many think losing weight is about not eating, what I found and believe, weight loss is about eating more of the right foods.

Where does a person begin?

The first thing I did was meet with my family doctor to set up a time with my dietitian and with my diabetes nurse educator.

Family doctor – we discussed weight loss and why I felt it was important to loss the extra weight I gained from quitting smoking and having a baby. Getting comfortable with the extra weight was not an option for me, considering I am 5’3″ and any extra weight could very easily become a problem in controlling my diabetes. In my research I thought Weight Watchers® to be the best fit for my needs and life style. The doctor provided me with the go ahead and from his experience found Weight Watchers® to be a very successful program for his patients.

I found Weight Watchers® offered choices and I really could see this eating plan becoming a way of life. I do not believe in an eating plan with so many restrictions you can’t even go out in public, let alone feed it to your family. To me it is about lifestyle changes and understanding what you are putting into your body.

I wanted to better understand how the food would work in my system with my insulin, activity level, and my blood glucose level as I lost weight. I wanted a plan where I could live my life to the fullest, continue to socialize, continue to travel, while still eating healthy nutritious food.

In order for a weight loss plan to work, I believe you have to be realistic about the process, if it took ten years to gain the extra weight it will most likely not be gone in a month. How you set it up is going to make all the difference in the world, if you can see yourself as a healthy person and decide to make yourself a priority in your life you will be able to get yourself going in the right direction. Negative self talk is the number one reason why a person does not succeed in life. When you can see and feel yourself being that person you want to be. Feeling healthy, vibrant, strong,energetic, full of life, confident, and wearing the clothes that you feel comfortable in. Let me tell you, it changes who you are.

Dietitian – I met with the dietitian to discuss the Weight Watchers® program. I wanted to know if the recommended points program would provide me with adequate nutrition to maintain good health with my diabetes. From experience she found this program very successful, including for those with diabetes. Understanding food labels are very important in calculating your insulin to carbohydrate ration. Weight Watchers® also use the food label for calculating points. Click here to read more about what your dietitian can do for you.

Diabetic nurse educator – The diabetic nurse educator is the primary person I work with when it comes to understanding how and when to adjust my insulin. Considering I will be seeing changes in my food choices and activity I will also see changes in my Insulin requirements. The other thing I knew for sure, as my body became stronger and physically fit, my insulin requirements would go down. Check here to read more when meeting with your diabetes nurse educator.

Reading food labels

the-nutritional-labelWhen you read food labels you can work any item into your eating plan. Your dietitian will teach you how to read food labels and also recommend the amount of food you require to maintain good health. Click here to better understand what the food label is telling you.




IMG_6021Stay away from the labels claiming “Sugar Free” or “Dietetic” you do not have to purchase these products because you are diabetic, they are expensive and not necessary. They have added so many artificial ingredients and you do not want to put these products into your body. You also want to stay away from foods that have been labeled “Diet” again they have used artificial ingredients in these foods. Talk to your dietitian to better understand these products.

Most of this can be very confusing when you first start creating a healthy eating plan and really understanding what is in the food you are eating. One thing I know for sure is you want to set up a meeting with your dietician. Click here to better understand what a dietician will do for you.

YES ~ I Signed up for Weight Watchers®

I did it, I found a meeting close to home. I wanted a group where the people were energetic and enjoyed life. I found it very important to find a group that was lead by a person I enjoyed listening to. The meeting lasts approximately 30 minutes, the person who runs the meeting is a life time member of Weight Watchers® who has maintained their goal weight. I find commitment and accountability works for me, otherwise I seem to go back to the same old.

I registered, received the week 1 package, and my current weight was recorded, they have a meeting every week talking about some aspect of weight loss, they also recognize achievements in a very respectful way. After the first meeting they hold an introduction meeting for all new comers and anyone returning to find out about any changes. Each week I stayed for the meetings, I always heard something that helped.

When I attended Weight Watchers® they used a point system based on a formula, male or female, age, height, current weight, current activity level on most days. Weight Watchers® calculate all food into points, so when I attended my points were 21 points per day. The good part is it all comes down to choices, you really can eat what ever food you want. I will give you an example of a food choice. 3 chicken buffalo wing equal 9 points and you could have a grilled boneless skinless chicken breast for 3 points. Considering my daily total was 21 points you very quickly learn to pick food choices that are more nourishing.

I would say it took approximately a year and I did become a Life Time Member. Becoming a life time member has its benefits and also many rewards.

Dr Sue Pederson is a medical doctor and specializes in endocrinology, click on the link below to find reviews on the following eating plans on her website:

Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Paleo Diet, very low carbohydrate diets, Atkins. You may also want to check out her full website, click here.

The Weight Watchers® eating plan was set up to allow for all foods based on the amount which was converted to a point system. The amount of points you aim for is based on your age, height, current weight, activity level, and gender. The program is very realistic in the amount of food you need to eat, in most cases I had to work at getting the amount of food they recommended. The plan changes over the years and when I became a lifetime member it was based on points. I was on 20 points per day, before exercise. Adding exercise increased your points.

The Key Points that Worked For Me:

  1. Drink the recommended amount of water.
  2. Read the material, go to the meetings. Each meeting I attended allowed me to learn something new. Find a meeting that works for you. There is an online option now, I have not experienced this, although it may work for you.
  3. Take the time in the grocery store to find the foods that best work with your eating plan. When you start really looking at the labels, you will find there are many foods you will no longer purchase.
  4. Count everything that you eat and drink.
  5. You will soon learn the foods that take up over half you daily points in one serving and you will start purchasing the foods that allow you to eat more then you were eating before.
  6. Be creative with your meal plan. The more time you can take in setting up variety for your meal plan the more success you will have. One of the things I was introduced to at the Chopra Center was understanding the importance of getting all six tastes in each meal in order to feel satisfied. Click here for more information from the Chopra Center on the six tastes ~ sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.
  7. Eating out, a few things that I found that really added on the points, appetizers are loaded in fat and calories, yes they may taste good. When I found out 1 chicken wing was 9 points and my daily points were 21, I soon realized this would not be a very good option.
  8. Foods that are difficult to figure out the carbohydrate count usually fall into the same category for Weight Watchers. Anything with sauce, sugar, and fat, usually add up the points.
  9. Exercise allows for the weight to come off easier, the program allows for compensation of free points for exercise. Allows you to have flexibility in your eating. I really liked that I could work the foods in with carbohydrate counting for my insulin.
  10. It is so important to see yourself as a healthy person, our thoughts cause us lots of problems when it comes to changing things in our life.
  11. Monitor your food and blood glucose test to get a better picture of your insulin requirements. As you become physically fit your body will need less insulin as your body becomes more efficient. I tested may times to manage the change in foods, activity and exercise.
  12. Hire a coach, having someone you are accountble to.

Lets face it our weight changes as we get older. What you could eat when you are younger and not gain any weight changes as we age. Our metabolism changes and You know when you keep excepting that extra 5 pounds, then 10, then 15….you know what happens.

Try Guided Visualization on the links below:

Understanding the importance of visualization and weight loss:
Jon Gabriel – Visualization for Weight Loss (includes a 10 minute visualization)

This is a great morning visualization for weight loss and a great way to start your day.
Guided Weight Loss Meditation by Jon Gabriel (20 minutes)

Eating healthy is a choice, one of the things I ask myself today before I eat.

  1. Am I hungry? With carbohydrate counting you have lots of control of when and what you eat.
  2. Is this food going to work towards seeing myself as healthy, strong, physically fit person?
  3. Is this going to make me feel better now and/or later?
  4. Is what I’m about to eat (Insulin worthy) if you are type 1 diabetic ask yourself if it is worth another needle, if you’re not on injections ask yourself if this food is worth making your pancreas work extra hard to mange this extra sugar. Desserts can be very deceiving when it comes to how much insulin is needed unless you have the food label to actually know what is in it. The amount of fat makes a big difference how the food will be absorbed into your blood sugar and from my experience I have often ended up low by over estimating how much insulin is needed when it comes to dessert. I’m not saying I don’t have dessert at times, I’m saying I choose them wisely.
  5. I ask myself, “when I go to Weight Watchers® next week and get on the scale what do I want that number to say.” Accountability worked for me! Keeps me on track.
  6. When we sit down to a meal our body needs all the different tastes for our brain to say, “yes I am full”. These tastes are sweet, salty, pungent, bitter, and astingent. One of the ways you can choose the different tastes are by select food that are different colours. Have I selected foods that give me the six tastes to allow my body to feel satisfied. Click here to find additional information about the six tastes.

Great information about diabetes and weight loss on the following sites:

Web MD
Diabetes and weight lose – WebMD

Canadian Diabetes Association
Managing Weight & Diabetes

Live Well With Diabetes,

Thanks Bonnie

Disclaimer – This website does not provide medical advice or treatment recommendations. All content on type 1 diabetes treatment website is for informational purposes and is the personal experience and opinion of the author. Always seek the advice of a licensed physician with you medical questions and concerns.

www.type1diabetestreatment.ca © 2015

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