FUDiabetes

My Goal to Regain Weight that I Didn't Mean to Lose

I don’t typically talk about my goal to gain weight bc nearly everyone says, “You can have mine!” or “I wish I had THAT problem!” and then I get annoyed bc it’s not culturally acceptable to say, “Well, I see you eating three family sized bags of pb m&m’s every week and you might want to reconsider that…” …anyway…it’s nearly impossible to have a legit conversation about difficulty gaining weight in this country…

Now that that’s out of the way…

Since going off of birth control, and since going on the pump, my weight’s been running 15 pounds less than it was while I was on birth control and on injections. I’m tall and trim. I’d really like to have those 15 pounds back for two mains reasons: (1) improved insulin pump site options and (2) so that I can stop hearing how skinny I am from overweight relatives.

The biggest problem for me has been losing the insulin sensitivity stabilizing effects of being on birth control. You all have heard me talk about that a LOT on here. Getting down to brass tacks, the crazy swings of insulin sensitivity lead to a lot of missed meals because of stuck highs that never budge…or I’m busy living my life and can’t afford to run the risk of a sudden tank while in a store or at an activity with my kids…so I take less bolus and eat less for less blood sugar variability.

Add to that that I took on a new job this winter working from home, but working crazy hours for 8 weeks straight. I was prioritizing my sleep…but it was happening at atypical hours for me…which made me feel like garbage even though I was technically getting enough sleep. That led to me having no energy to do even house chores between working, and therefore my insulin wasn’t doing a whole lot.

By the end of my assignment, my weight was the lowest it’s been in FOREVER. So that became my new project.

I’m starting week 3 of my weight gain project. I write down my calories everyday and have tried different protein bars, different flavored almonds and peanuts, different anything with heavy calories in it.

So far I’ve gained FIVE pounds. I’m SUPER excited about that. And my blood sugar has been shockingly super good during these weeks. Which has led me to some anecdotal conclusions for what works best for my own physiology and might not apply to anyone else…but in case it does…

When I eat every three hours, I need less insulin for each eating session. I’m eating the same exact lunch I’ve eaten for the last two years. But eating it three hours after breakfast seems to dampen my blood sugar spike, even with running the same extra basal as before. I think what was happening before this project was that my body was so ready for food that it would mainline everything into my bloodstream ASAP. I’m eating 400-500 calories about every three hours that I’m awake and I need significantly less meal insulin to accomplish the same bg curve per meal. That’s the most interesting conclusion for me.

Also, my basal profile is based on steady bg in a fasting state. I’m running an extra +20% 24/7 right now to accommodate being in a “feeding state”. I don’t need to drop my basal overnight…which I thought I would need to…but with eating this much, I have to keep it high overnight. And as hormones fluctuate for me, I add to that +20% to cover the hormone resistance.

Hopefully this is helpful to someone…or at the very least, mildly interesting.

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Could part of this be that you have a little leftover insulin from the previous meal bolus? For most people, insulin takes 3-5 hours to be completely used. So perhaps there might be a little “extra” insulin still in your system that is at work if you are eating within 3 hours?

Congrats on the gains!

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I see your point there but I don’t think so. It would be getting down in the weeds to explain everything I tweak and track, but ultimately, keeping myself fed more frequently is leading to far more food intake and far less insulin per carb/fat/protein. I don’t get the crazy stuck spikes that I used to get with 40 minutes of prebolusing for lunch. I really think it’s a fed state vs a fasting state based on what I’m seeing out of my insulin efficiency. If it was the breakfast bolus wrapping up, then I’d expect to see a low or a downward trend if I didn’t go ahead and eat the next meal. But that’s not happening when life makes me stretch to four hours apart or further. :woman_shrugging:

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Good for you. You are like the lineman at our little outdoor weight lifting gym that have “chimp” class after us old people. The trainer has helped 5-6 of them reach the all-state level. He insists they eat every three hours they are awake with a minimum of 5 meals a day. The first and last word to them each day, is did you eat, and what are you eating right after this class. If they haven’t eaten enough they aren’t allowed to lift. Crazy how most people’s experience is different. So you are eating like a lineman!

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I have no in depths technical knowledge about this but can reinforce what you are doing with my anecdote. When I was diagnosed I had lost about 35 pounds from a 5’10 frame and was obviously approaching skeleton physique at about 145 pounds.

Once I got my insulin regimen started I discussed with my endo (who is very good) my overwhelming need to put weight back on quickly and decided vaguely my ideal weight is 170. Long story short, she advised something similar to what you are doing. I also met with a nutritionist who was not very helpful so I just sort of winged it.

It did not take long, my recollection is a few months. Lots of focus on protein + low glycemic carbs between meals combined with exercise. Looking back, I was still honeymooning to some extent during those months which probably made everything go much smoother and more predictably than post-honeymoon.

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I see the same thing. I have to be real careful what I eat after a long period without eating. Even a small amount of carbs will send me crazy high…fast. That’s why in the morning I start with protein and limit carbs.

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I also need to gain back weight after a DMARD (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug) caused unintended weight loss. I would appreciate examples of meals and foods that you all are using/have used. The dietitian recommended Boost high protein as a supplement to meals, but I don’t have a sweet palate and one serving contains 30 g CHO. Anyone have any experience with something like Boost?

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I can’t wait to put all of my food choices out here for review! I always wish people would give more specific information on what they do…so I lay before you my highly contemptible food choices for shock and awe! :slight_smile:

The following is my diet out of necessity for the goal of weight gain in the short term. I realize eating like this forever will kill me of heart disease way before diabetes complications will get me.

Breakfast: three scrambled eggs, 1/4 cup shredded mexican cheese, 2T guacamole, pico de gallo, Nature Valley PB Dark Chocolate Protein Chewy Bar (these bars are amazing bc they taste awesome and have 190 calories for only 15g of carbs which is the best ratio I’ve found for palatable calorie rich bars): Total of 640 Calories

If I go low between breakfast and lunch: Snickers PB Square (110 calories for 11g carb)

Lunch: Half turkey sandwich with provolone, green pepper, mustard, rest of the green pepper dipped in 2T hummus, string cheese (410 calories)

Snack: 1 cup Breyer’s choc pb ice with a mashed up Chips Deluxe chocolate chip cookie (440 calories)

Dinner: Usually some form of meat/carb combo like chicken parmesan and spaghetti or any version of tacos…my favorite being chicken crockpotted all day in salsa verde…and then cover it all in sour cream, gaucamole, pico, cheese, etc

Snack: Tostitos and a metric ton of shredded mexican cheese (400-500 calories)

Also, I snack of Cocoa peanuts, smokehouse almonds, NutRition nut packs, and dove dark chocolates whenever I can

And you’re rural so I doubt you’re close to a ChickFilA, but if you are…their Cobb Salad with Avocado Lime Ranch dressing will get you 930 calories with a slow sugar burn on it due to the protein. It’s amazing and my go-to for calories on busy days.

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I also want to add my highly personal opinion that protein shakes were invented by psychopath dieticians to torture people with.

They’re horrible. In my opinion. When you drink them, your body knows it’s being punished for something you did in another life.

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At my last job, I wasn’t allowed a meal break during my 9 hour shift. Also not allowed to eat while working. I pretty much singlehandedly kept Glucerna in business. 7th circle of hell stuff.

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I have a possible theory on why someone might need less insulin for more frequent and smaller meals compared to eating the same amount less frequently.

But first, you have mentioned that you sometimes do larger boluses with a syringe so that your pod site does not get jacked up. Is that involved in the smaller meals? Like 2 boluses of 3 units is going to work more efficiently than 1 single bolus of 6 units. Maybe bolus size is a factor?

If not, then here is a another thought I have.

Just focusing mainly on carbs here, as they are the nutrient that needs insulin primarily, and they are the body’s prime energy source.

This is overly simplified, because microbiology is complex and you would need a textbook to go through all of this completely.




When you eat carbs there are 3 main outcomes for them.

  1. Glycogenesis - Glucose can be stored as glycogen for future use. This is called glycogenesis, it is the process where glycogen is synthesized. Glucose molecules are added to chains of glycogen for storage. Muscles and the liver store glucose as glycogen. When the glycogen is later needed for energy, the process is reversed, and that is called glycogenolysis.

  2. Glycolysis is where glucose is broken down by enzymes to release energy and pyruvic acid. Glycolysis is the series of reactions that allow the body to extract energy from glucose.

  3. Lipogenesis - Excess carbs that are not needed - as in, you have filled up all your glycogen reserves and are not currently expending energy for which they are needed - those are carbs that are converted to fat for future energy needs.

A body generally has enough glucose in the blood glucose that can sustain all the necessary cellular processes for about 3-4 hours. If you don’t eat in that time frame, your body needs to use stored energy to keep you going.

All of these things are processes that are continually happening. It is not all-or-nothing, but instead it is just the constant converting back and forth and your body using what it has and making what it needs for now and for later.

The process of eating, storing, and then breaking down the storage for energy use is not very efficient. Eat, store, need energy so break it down again to create energy - not efficient at all.

But the smaller and more frequent meals gives your body a more steady-state energy supply. You can use the food to allow more effective glycolysis, which does not need as much insulin as glycogenesis. It is a more constant supply of fuel, and I think that makes the insulin requirement lower.

A more steady state input of carbs means the you need less of the storage process (glycogenesis) and less of the retrieval process (glycogenolysis). And I think that leads to your insulin being more efficient.

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That’s all super interesting!

To throw more information out there, I’m not eating smaller meals more frequently. I’m eating the same meals plus additional ones. So I’ve filled in my day with extra eating without detracting from anything I was already doing as part of my routine. And I’ve smooshed some of it an hour closer together to allow more feedbag sessions.

And I’m still injecting everything that’s not basal. And I never inject more than three units in one injection. So I usually do a two unit and then a three unit injection for each meal or snack.

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With me eating more frequently, and eating more food in addition to what I was eating before, I’m seeing far fewer and far slower bg spikes with the same foods I have eaten for years. I’m just asking you all to trust me on that. I don’t eat adventurously these days bc I’m a busy mom who really doesn’t have time to experiment with fun foods just because. I stick to known quantities because I already have enough variability with each pod site having different basal effectiveness plus a revolving door of hormones. The more things I can keep the same, the fewer inconvenient “oh sh!t” moments I have.

The whole point of Symlin is to slow the emptying of the stomach to prevent super rapid blood sugar spikes, right? That’s how I’ve always understood it. I don’t take Symlin. But I’m talking about the concept of it.

What if eating more frequently (not smaller, not bigger, not solely protein, not anything special…just eating more frequently) somehow impacts how rapidly my stomach processes everything?

That’s really the only thing I can think of that would be causing this big of a change in the results I’m getting for my blood sugar spike after lunch (it’s non-existent now…whereas before this weight gain experiment I was having to make my lunch smaller and smaller and smaller to deal with stuck 270s after lunch just for a dang turkey sandwich even with a large and long prebolus). And I waited to post about this until I saw my new eating routine through both high and low hormone conditions. My meal insulin is doing wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more for me eating more frequently. And again…it’s not smaller meals more often. It’s everything I was eating before, plus more. And I’m not taking crazy meal injections to cover this stuff just to have that “my butt’s hanging over a cliff and at any moment I might tank” feeling. Which is what I was dealing with before.

I try to find what works and stick with it. But if I know the “why”, then I can extrapolate and change things up in a workable fashion to make daily life easier and less rigid.

But I’m personally confident that it’s not leftover meal insulin from the prior meal, it’s not smaller meals, and it’s not changes in insulin delivery.

I swear it has something to do with my stomach or how my body is processing things. It’s just far more forgiving with how I’m doing things now, rather than a small breakfast, small lunch, moderate snack, good dinner, small after-dinner snack…which is what I was doing before. My meal injections just haven’t changed that much from a ratio perspective and they go sooooo much further now.

I don’t know. Maybe this will help someone or generate an interesting discussion. But I am super thankful that my weight it going up, I feel way better and way less trapped with insulin and food, and that I might actually reach my goal weight for the first time in eight years.

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The higher fat content delays stuff. And more food being in your stomach will process more slowly. So if you never have a totally empty stomach - eating more frequently - that will slow digestion and reduce spikes too. Those are things I did not pick up on your original post. I thought it was smaller meals more frequently.

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@T1Allison
Thanks so much for all your info. It’s very helpful and I will definitely be using some of your ideas.

I haven’t been keeping as close a record of calories as you have, but I have tried to tweak a few things to get more calories. One of my problems is I’ve never been a big eater, and one of the medical issues I’m having is leaving me without much of an appetite.

A few things I do: baby carrots (or any veggie) with Ranch dressing, 5% fat plain FAGE Greek yogurt (only 3 g CHO in 100 g with 95 cal) instead of low-fat yogurt (I eat it with frozen blueberries or raspberries which are pretty low in carbs and high in fiber), I too use shredded cheese on everything, string cheese snacks, and lately I’ve been having a hotdog at lunch.

It’s hard to balance the high calories with fruit and veggies! :yum:
Wish we had a Chick-fil-A! There aren’t any in the whole state of Montana.

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Yeah I have always just tracked carbs. But after I realized that none of my work pants fit by two sizes…I finally made myself research calories and start a calorie notebook. I double checked my BMI and how many calories I’d need to just maintain weight. And I try to add at least 500 to that daily…but prefer 1000 if my hormones allow it. I didn’t realize how low my calorie intake had gotten on a daily basis in chasing around my blood sugar graph.

I hope you find some things that help you out!

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@T1Allison
Yeah, I’m down 2 sizes as well. I’ve always been a size 12 and I ordered a new pair of size 10 jeans so I’d have something to wear, and they are still huge. :disappointed:

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I totally get that! I had unintentionally gotten down to this record low pant size eight years ago when everything was going to pot for me. And then I recovered enough weight that I donated those tiny pants when I moved houses thinking I’d never accidentally get down to that size again. But here I am. So I ordered some pants to get me through until I can hopefully get outta here for good. I’ll have to make it a habit to check my weight at least once a week after I get to where I want to be…fingers crossed that that goal happens. I didn’t see any upward scale movement until the last few days…but it appears to be holding on.

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I used to have a hard time keeping weight as high as I’d like it but I found that moving to the taco truck capital of the world has reversed that

In my entire line of work if you’re a man under 250 lbs they treat you like you must certainly have full blown aids…

But joking aside… I was about 200 when I got diabetes and dropped to 160 without even realizing it… and it took forever to come back… think it just took the approaching-middle-age metabolism shift for it to happen

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@Eric @Sam @Chris @T1Allison
How would you bolus (ie. how much and how long before) for a protein shake, say 30 g CHO (15 g sugar), 20 g protein and 6 g fat? I know your amount of insulin would be specific to you, but how much relative to a regular meal?

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