How does Low Blood Sugar Affect Weight Loss? 🤔Does it have to? What factors do you have to look out for?
Type 1 Thursday is here!
Do you have experiences with how blood sugars impact weight loss? Share them in a comment!
Thank you so much for watching. Please let me know if you have any questions!
If you prefer to read my thoughts on this, here’s a text version on low blood sugar and weight loss:
Blood Sugar and Weight Loss?
This week I’m excited about the new audience question! (If you have any questions that you want to hear my answer to, then please let me know!)
This week’s question comes from Joe, and Joe writes, “how do low blood sugars affect weight loss?” Thank you for the question!
Are you insulin dependent?
A lot of it depends on if you are taking external insulin or not. Because weight loss happens when a) the blood sugar is stable and b) there’s no excess insulin in the body. There are different theories of weight loss, two main ones as I see it, which I’ve talked about before here on Type 1 Thursday. One is the good old calories in vs calories out which we know is maybe not as applicable as they thought that it was. The other one is that it is actually hormone regulated, mainly with insulin as it is the master hormone in the body. If you don’t have excess insulin, and your blood sugar’s are stable, weight loss will occur.
In diabulimia, which is a very, very serious condition to have, which is when you take no insulin to lose weight. But that is not the point of this. This is about healthy, happy weight loss, if that is necessary. This is not an eating disorder thing that I’m talking about. Just to clarify that, and I find that very important because it is a terrible, terrible condition to live with. So, none of that, just healthy healing, healthy weight loss if necessary.
What is a low blood sugar due to?
A low blood sugar is because you took too much insulin for that particular circumstance. For that particular food, for that particular mood, for that particular weather, whatever it is that is influencing your blood sugar, you took too much insulin for that. That’s why you ended up with a low blood sugar, because nothing else lowers blood sugar like insulin does, and nothing else can lower blood sugar lower than it should be in a normal human being than insulin. So, if you are treating diabetes with insulin, does that mean lows are equal to excess insulin? Which then means that it will be a slower weight loss?
Well, actually, not necessarily. It depends on how stable your blood sugars are. If they are jumping like a roller coaster, so that it’s super high and then goes super low (which means that you then have to treat it and then go super high and super low. Again.) That’s a completely different thing than if your blood sugar is really stable. And then sometimes it trends downwards and dips minimally and you can correct it very easily. I’s a completely different thing than if you are all over the place in terms of blood sugar, and are struggling with it. Balanced blood sugar is the key, not a jumpy blood sugar. That’s what we should aim for. And that usually also aids weight goals.
Low Blood Sugar anyway?
You know, we all end up there no matter how good (or whatever) we are as people with diabetes, no matter how well we take care of ourselves, circumstances do change in the body. And lows do happen. They happen to me, they happen to everyone I know who are normally quite well controlled.
The key here is how do you treat it? Do you choose to eat the whole kitchen? So you grab anything from grapes, to peanut butter, to that sugary candy you have in the back somewhere, to snacks, to yoghurt, to honey, to you know the whole nine yards which will end up on this rollercoaster blood sugar ride, which is quite detrimental for your health. And it feels, first and foremost, really, really frickin terrible. So try to avoid it for that reason alone! Or, number two, do you treat low blood sugars targeted with an exact measurement of glucose? Because that doesn’t create the rollercoaster rides. It creates an even curve, even if you do dip a little bit you take a gram, or two grams or three or four, depending on how much you need (and that you need to do a trial and error with). You just come up a little bit again, and then you’re fine. Again, you don’t get those big swings. So that is really important how you treat the low when it does happen.
Correcting a low is of course, necessary, it can and definitely does save your life. So don’t skip it, even if it would potentially kick you out of ketosis, if that is your goal. I’m not saying that ketosis and keto and low carb is everyone’s goal, but if that is what you’re worried about in this question that treating a hypo will kick you out of ketosis or something, don’t be! You really need to save your own life in that case. It doesn’t matter if you get kicked out of ketosis or not. If you are fat-fueled in that way, or you can burn both fat and sugar, you will get back into ketosis very fast afterwards, so don’t worry about it. It really is key that you do take care of this.
The short version of my answer to your question, Joe, is that low blood sugars do not have to affect weight loss at all. It depends on how you treat the low and depends on how stable you are blood glucose is normally and that you don’t have excess insulin in your body.
Hope that helps!
If you have any questions, do let me know. And also do let me know your experiences of blood sugar and weight loss? Have you managed to lose weight, or maybe you don’t manage to lose weight although your blood sugar’s as good as perfect? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll be happy to chat with you there.
I asked on Instagram what topics you wanted me to cover on Type 1 Thursday, and a good amount of people said WEIGHT LOSS!
So I took the opportunity to gather my thoughts on weight loss and Type 1 Diabetes in a short video for you! If you prefer to read about weight loss and T1D, I’ve transcribed it for you below.
What are your experiences with Type 1 Diabetes and weight loss? What worked for you, or what didn’t work for you? Let me know in a comment!
If you prefer to read this, please go ahead:
Weight Loss & Type 1 Diabetes
This is the moving party of a Type 1 Thursday! I have been doing Type 1 Thursday for 17 episodes over on The Low Carb Universe (my other project). I’m very, very happy to welcome Type 1 Thursday back to where it belongs – on the diabetes page (that would make more sense, right?!)
I am a Type 1 Diabetic since 34 years, and I am very, very happy that you are here with me, because today’s topic is super interesting. And it turned out to be a really hot topic! When I asked on Instagram a couple of days ago what I should talk about, a good few people said this topic. I am very happy that I have the chance to cover that for you today. And the topic is, not maybe completely unexpectedly, Type 1 Diabetes and weight loss and how that works together.
It can be really tricky when you are taking a lot of the fat storing hormone, insulin. The more insulin you take, the more weight you gain. It’s not always easy to lose weight with T1D. I wanted to try to describe a little bit what is going on in your body and how it could work for you as well. (And please, please, please do share your experiences with T1D and weight loss, or weight loss at all in the comments! I am very, very happy to talk to you more there!)
Weight loss has many reasons, there can be a gazillion reasons as to why you want to lose weight. There are two main ones, with the first one being you want to improve your health. And that can be of course a reason to lose weight, which is good, that’s great. Secondly, it can also be vanity. So I think, first of all, anyone who wants to lose weight needs to be honest with themselves as to why they want to lose the weight. Is it because of health reasons? Or is it simply because it would feel great to have those last 5 kg/10 pounds, or whatever else off the body and feel accomplished? It’s definitely an important thing to consider.
There are also two main weight loss theories. The first one is the hormone theory, which is that weight gain and weight loss is all about the hormones. It’s all about insulin, and it’s all about how insulin is the master hormone, and how that then impacts the other hormones. The other theory is the the old one, to eat less and move more, the kcal theory, which I feel like we’ve disproven this one? In my humble opinion, I feel that it is actually a combination of the two. Yes, your hormones have to do with weight loss, absolutely. But so do calories, I don’t believe that you can eat 15,000 calories in a day and still be losing weight. Unless that helps to regulate your hormones in some way. Your hormones need to be balanced for you to lose weight. And that actually requires a certain amount of calories, and a certain amount of the right macronutrients. Enough amino acids, enough fatty acids, because those are both essential for the body, there’s no essential sugar for the body. There is essential protein, and there is essential fat so that the hormones can become regulated. Those two for me (not saying anyone else!) but for me really go hand in hand. So it does require both of them to work to get there!
The old saying “abs are made in the kitchen” is true! I’ve heard several numbers on this, but there is an 80/20 thing going on, that 80% is the food and 20% is the exercise. So there you have this again: both go together for weight loss. And if you’re really overweight, if you just start eating the right things, you perhaps don’t even have to exercise in the beginning. That’s great, right? Generally, if abs are made in the kitchen, movement does also play a part in regulating your hormones.
What do I eat if abs are made in the kitchen? Well, there are, like I said, essential protein to the body, amino acids are essential. Focus on that. That is also what, for example, Dr. Bernstein talks about in his “Diabetes Solution” – to focus on the protein. And if you see someone really ripped, there’s a good chance that they are eating a good amount of protein. That’s also because protein is thermogenic. It actually it burns calories when the protein is processed in the body, shortly explained. Also have some fat for good measure, and to regulate your hormones. It may be difficult to get up to an OK calorie count in terms of protein only. So do have some fat. But when you get to stable hormones, and become a fat burner, you will use the fat that you already have on your body, which is actually a very simple way of weight loss, right? Then, of course, carbs; keep them to a minimum, mainly leafy greens. This also really helps your blood sugar, which does help in weight loss, as well. It’s incredible how much goes hand in hand in this!
What does this kind of eating, focused on protein, some fat, a little bit of carbs, what effects does this have? Well, it’s clearly that if you lower the amount of carbs, you lower the amount of insulin that you’re taking. And because insulin is the fat storing hormone, and the master hormone, if you use less of it, there’s a good chance that you will store less fat, as well. And, like this, you won’t really add too many calories on to your diet, which is also goes back to one of the two theories that the calorie, “eat less and move more”, (the 80s called and they wanted their nutrition advice, or weight loss advice back!). I do think it does play a role, I just don’t think that is the only thing that plays a role. Protein does repair your body and it helps to build muscle, which really does help you in losing weight, as well.
In order to lose weight, you also have to be motivated, and you have to find your WHY? Why do you want to lose weight? This is where my background as a coach comes in quite handy! Ask yourself why in three levels; why do you want to lose weight? And the answer to that ask why again? And then the answer to that as why again, so that you really know what is behind your choice of losing weight.
But could it be something else? Why did you gain the weight in the first place? And did you gain it overnight? Or did it take a while to accumulate? Because there is no overnight solution to losing weight. It is hard work! And it is a lot of trial and error, just as getting a grip of diabetes is, so is the weight loss process. Could it be something else than just “random” weight gain? Could it maybe be your thyroid? That also has a lot to do with hormones! Could it be stress, which is the hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and can really drive weight gain. Can be fluid retention? Are you retaining fluid for some reason? Maybe not enough salt? And could you be pregnant? Could it be some sort of medication that you’re on? For example, antidepressants are usually causing weight gain, so it’s corticosteroids. Antipsychotic medications and birth control pills can really, really make you gain weight because that also goes back to the hormone theory.
Please do share your weight loss success or questions in the comments, and I’ll be happy to chat with you there.
Sure, food is a big part of losing weight. But it’s not the only part.
This is such an important realization to make, if nothing else to stop yourself from buying into the next fad diet with some super formula that will make you loose weight faster than lightning.
That’s nothing more than excellent PR and marketing work. Rarely there’s any science at all behind it.
The following tips are true for the vast majority of people, whether or not you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, adrenal fatigue, other problems with endocrinology, or just plain don’t-know-what-to-do status.
1. Mental Clarity
The major, number one on the list of weight loss tips is: Mental Clarity.
This is so important I could talk about it all day.
What you eat and how/if you move is crucial to what happens to your weight.
But so is also your mental state.
You’re probably confused and feeling lost when your weight loss suddenly stops or you can’t keep the 500 kcal limit a day (ok, that last one is i n s a n e). You start wondering what’s wrong with you and why you can’t look like that Victoria’s Secret angel…. (ok, that last one is probably self-explanatory… We all have different circumstances and starting out points; all of us can’t end up looking like a super model!)
So you end up feeling stuck. What’s a girl to do?!
a)Answer these crucial questions for yourself:
– What/who/why am I holding on to this weight for?
– What is my excess weight shielding me from? (This can be mental or physical things, like not wanting extra attention or having been bullied around the time when you started gaining weight.)
– Who will I be when I’ve lost this weight?
– How will people see me when I’ve lost the weight?
The answers to these questions will help you clear your mental blocks around weight loss.
Answering your “why” (as in why you want to lose the weight) is bringing back the enjoyment in the whole process. It’s a motivator, part of the goal and something to look at on days where everything is blah.
So WHY do you want to lose weight?
If that doesn’t work, you might need more help, in which case I’d recommend working with a coach, therapist or practitioner (for example nutrition and/or emotional freedom technique (EFT Tapping))
No sleep – no weight loss.
This has so much to do with hormones, de-stressing and giving your body the time it needs to heal and repair itself.
When you’re depriving your body of sleep, you’re actively stressing it. And let me tell you this, nothing will happen to your weight if you stress! (Apart from if you want to gain a few and feel miserable.)
Stress hormones, such as adrenaline, norepinephrine and epinephrine give your body other things to do than to focus on weight loss. They throw your body into a “fight or flight” mode and all your body will care about is surviving. Certainly not about losing weight, it will rather hold on to it in case it needs it for the flight-part.
A night here and there without proper sleep is, admittedly, not going to do much. But when it becomes a habit, it might halt your progress.
This goes for any other stressors as well, not just the lack of sleep. Our new favorite hobby, “being busy”, definitely doesn’t help and is a reason why I think so many are overweight these days.
“Eat less, exercise more”, right?!
God no, please don’t!
Exercise shouldn’t be a self-punishing mechanism, although I know very well that it can easily be one.
You should exercise because you enjoy it. Because you feel that your body feels well. Because your mood improves and you can push yourself a little further every time.
Yes, it’s important to exercise. But it’s just as important not to do it out of hating yourself. You have to love the weight off!
As for what kind of exercise you “should” be doing, I couldn’t care less!
Do what motivates you, what makes you feel good and what makes your heart and soul sing those happy tunes.
Be it power walking (with a good audio book!), running, dancing, weight lifting, swimming, mountain climbing, (aqua-) aerobics, pilates, yoga, tennis, football, floor ball, basket ball… You get the point; whatever it is that makes you feel good – do it!
4. Eating only when you’re hungry
“Ooohhh, it’s almost 12 o’clock, that means I get/need to have lunch!”
Unless you actually are hungry (and by hungry I mean properly so, not just any little rumble in your tummy), don’t eat a full meal.
If you’re not hungry when your usual lunchtime rolls around, there’s no one who says that you h a v e to eat. Save it for when you actually are hungry.
Eating because you’re used to it is frankly pretty silly. It makes you eat more than you need to, and, in most cases, it puts you back on the blood sugar roller coaster. (You don’t want that, whether you’re diabetic or not.)
I’m definitely not advocating any type of eating disorders!!
But I am telling you to listen to your body. What does it tell you? Are you really hungry, or are you just bored? What does it need? Are you procrastinating something that you know you should be doing with a snack or a meal?
Check in with yourself before your next meal, are you really hungry?
This point could (and will be) a whole blog post/a third of my book.
That you are what you eat is clear by now, with everything you eat slowly becoming part of your cells, muscles, skin, bones, organs, hair and nails.
So that what you eat plays a more-than-crucial role on your weight journey is clear as crystal.
Let’s assume you’ve realized that all them carbs aren’t your best buds.
And let’s assume you’ve done something about that. Like starting to eat less processed carbs, flour, bread, pasta and rice, and have started eating more healthy, healing, happy fats. For instance.
And what if your weight is still the same? Or, gasp, has increased?!
If you’ve gone over the point’s I’ve mentioned above, here’s 3 things for troubleshooting Vol. 2.0:
– You’re not eating enough fat, and still eating more carbs than your body can tolerate.
– You’ve fallen for the “low carb baking” train and use almond flour (etc) like it would be water. There is such a thing as eating too many nuts, and in this case, I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening.
– You’ve heard dairy is basically a “free food” instead of the carby stuff, so you use it. A lot. But it might be that your body cant handle all that diary, and reacts with bad skin and weight gain.
No bueno. Dial back on these things one by one until you find which one(s) is(are) your culprit(s).
Patience, my dear, patience.
Being someone who has close to zero patience (working on it!), I understand you completely.
You’ve made all the changes needed; you’ve even given up on bread.
So, naturally, you expect results, like, yesterday.
Except that’s not always the case.
After years, even decades of abusive eating, your body won’t “get it” straightaway.
We can adapt, and your body will adapt to your new, healthier ways. Being animals of habit, the same goes for your body when it comes to weight loss. It knows what it knows and not a thing more. But it can definitely learn new things.
All you need to do is to give it a fair chance to do so, too!
Can you show yourself, your weight loss journey and your body a little more patience? I think you can!
Quick recap of what’s important with weight loss:
1. Mental Clarity
4. Eating only when you’re hungry
Which of these have you tried? Where are you still struggling? Answer in the comments below!
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