Weight management is hard as it is, but balancing weight on top of insulin and diabetes seems impossible. As a person on insulin therapy, I have found myself blaming weight gain on diabetes and insulin, but should I? Is diabetes or insulin causing weight gain or making weight loss difficult, or is it just another sorry excuse!?
Honestly, it’s probably a little bit of both. Looking back at my weight trends, it is interesting to see the correlation between weight and daily insulin totals. When I am at my heaviest, my insulin doses are also at their highest! So, what comes first? The chicken (insulin) or the egg (weight)?
Personally, I’m guessing insulin; but, only because I’m pretty sure I self-mutilate myself! Because of my fear of high blood sugar, I over-estimate the number of carbohydrates eaten at meals (especially dinner). So, what happens is twofold:
1) I do more insulin than I need; and, since insulin is a “storing” hormone, it’s job is to encouraging storage of calories, leading to weight gain. More insulin = more storage = more weight
2) I end up with low blood sugar later and need to eat more calories than I would have if I had accurately entered my carbohydrate-count for the meal! More calories = more weight
So, can I blame diabetes and insulin? Well, sure. If I didn’t have diabetes, then I wouldn’t be on insulin, and if I wasn’t on insulin, then I wouldn’t have to deal with low blood sugar requiring snacks; BUT, that’s a pretty big cop-out if I’ve ever heard one (and I have heard a lot of them!). First of all, insulin is a storing hormone for everyone, whether or not we have diabetes; so, even those who make insulin naturally are faced with the “challenge” of insulin storing extra calories. Now those of us with diabetes may need more insulin than those without, but regardless, we all have to deal with it!
Now that I take full responsibility, how do I turn it around? Well, a smaller body requires less insulin (which is why weight loss is recommended for those trying to avoid or decrease the amount of insulin needed); so, losing the weight that I re-gained may prevent some of the extra insulin “storage”. The obvious answer is: STOP DOING MORE INSULIN THAN I NEED!!! Stick to the basics: carb-counting and measuring foods to avoid over-estimating. My doctors and I spent a lot of time perfecting my insulin-to-carb ratio and insulin sensitivity (amount of insulin needed to bring down a high), and what do I do?! I get big-headed and try to outsmart the system, when really all I am doing is digging a bigger hole (and bigger and bigger and bigger as my weight increases!); so, it’s time to start trusting my pump and my medical team. Sometimes I DON’T know better than everyone else!