Having recently lost a couple of pounds I have been reminded that weight loss and insulin reduction go hand in hand. I mean, it is something I already knew but my basal manipulation has been a bit different this time round. Knowing that I would have to reduce my basal insulin when I started losing fat, I was prepared with night time alarms to make adjustments.
I’ve noticed that when I lose as little as 1lb in weight my insulin dose needs to change too. Despite small adjustment each day, the past week I have woken up most nights with very low blood sugar, the lowest being 1.5mmols. Luckily I keep my Lucozade in my bedside cabinet and was able to treat it quickly.
Anyway, without trying to scare you, I hope this will prompt you to do something about your background insulin / pump basal rate if you plan on a diet. Do extra blood sugar checks and if you are waking up lower than usual it is definitely time to adjust. Especially if you are cutting calories alongside exercising. I would start by reducing in small increments 0.05 and keep adjusting until you get it right. Speak to your diabetes team if you are really unsure.
With the plan that I will lose 1 pound per week over the next 4 weeks, I will monitor how much insulin I have to reduce by and update this post.
With regards to hypos interfering with dieting…
I’ve said this in a few of my blogs before, but when a person is trying to lose fat, they have to be in a caloric deficit, i.e. burning more calories than they consume. However, I have received tons of emails from fellow diabetics who are frustrated that they can’t lose weight because they have to eat to treat a hypo.
“I’ll never lose weight if I have to keep eating the calories I burn off in the gym”
I always tell them “Yes you will, there are other ways around it.”
Night time hypos that are treated with carbs that I haven’t already accounted for… I just make a note of how many carbs I have eaten / drank. Usually 20 during the night as I like more than 15 to be sure when I sleep – and then I just subtract those carbs from one of my meals or snacks the next day. This ensures that I am still in a caloric deficit.
I do something similar with day time hypos, although this is never really a problem because I like to eat every 3 hours anyway and have probably planned the carbs and just won’t bolus for them. If not, I subtract the carbs from one of my later meals.
I hope this makes sense. Please comment if you have any questions. I know it can be difficult to calculate everything and to feel like you are stuck, but the fact that you are trying and reading this post says a lot about how your future will go. 3 carb counting tips for diabetics has proven to be very useful for otheres. Take a look.