The other day on Facebook, someone posted whether or not it would be possible to ever lower an A1C but also not gain weight. I’ve heard this a lot over the years about how it seems like weight gain is inevitable with type 1 diabetes. And trust me, I have definitely struggled with this. But this year I’ve dropped 20 lbs and lowered my A1C over a percent. So I thought about what I did this year that made a difference and I made a brief list of my thoughts. Ginger Vieira saw it and suggested that I blog about it.
And when Ginger tells you to do something, you do it!
The main thing I figured out is that even though I don’t think insulin causes you to gain weight, but it doesn’t help when it comes to losing. Obviously you can’t go without insulin, but I do think that cutting down insulin safely helps. How do you do that?
Four Things I Did To Take Less Insulin (without ruining my blood sugar)
1) Always work on getting the right basal and bolus ratios (and tweak them as often as necessary) in order to avoid using correction boluses. Most people take more insulin when they correct bloods sugar than when they raise their bolus or basal rate to avoid the high. This is a great way to get your blood sugar in better control but not have to take a lot more insulin. Plus, it’s no fun chasing highs and lows.
2) Getting on Victoza. This isn’t available to everyone, but it made my body more sensitive to insulin and it decreased my appetite. Both of these helped me take less insulin. Other drugs, like Symlin or Invokanna, can help you take less insulin and sometimes it will curb the appetite too.
3) Exercise regularly, especially strength training. I know, it’s a PITA, both time-wise and BG-wise, but it’s so helpful in so many ways. Insulin sensitivity is just one of many benefits to regular exercise. And don’t worry about needing to eat before or after working out. Your body actually needs some fuel to work out. As long as you’re not eating more overall throughout the day, there shouldn’t be an issue.
4) Eat less. There are a myriad of ways to do this, but I’m not going to argue about the most effective eating plan. But I will say that when you eat more than your body needs, you’re going to gain weight. Insulin’s entire mechanism is to bring the sugar your body needs to the cells, and then store the rest as fat. I’m not saying everyone who is overweight overeats, that’s why I listed those other 3 things first. I think they are just as important as your diet.
And there you have it. Four little ways to lower your A1C and not gain weight at the same time.