Got diabetes? Need advice? Of course you do! And you also came to the ideal place: Ask D’Mine, our weekly Q&A hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and community teacher Wil Dubois.
Now, Wil requires a crack at 2 questions regarding weight… losing it and gaining it. Consistently a touchy topic, diabetes or maybe not, but even more complex while the D and other health issues like thyroid issues could be in play.
Have diabetes concerns of your own? Email us in AskDMine@diabetesmine.com
Shauna, type 2 from California, writes: I’ve looked everywhere for a response and have had no chance. Here is my problem: I’m 5’1″ and in 147 lbs, also thick. My entire life I’ve been a comfortable 108-115 pounds until lately. I had been diagnosed with annually ago and was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I had been born with celiac disease and I have done research on which I should eat to lose weight, control the blood sugar, thyroid and celiac, but the hints for what to eat all contradict each other. I would like a list of exactly what I can eat that will be compatible with all three: celiac, hypothyroidism and kicking the obesity and diabetes until it is too late and my A1C goes on the top. I don’t have any problem eating whenever I want to and am willing to eat mostly anything. I simply need to know what foods go with all of these conditions and do I want to cook things or can I eat, raw veggies, for example. I truly hope you can give me a record of a diet that will help me overcome these issues and shed the weight. Oh and I do walk in a constant pace on a treadmill but do not lift weights since I have a back injury. I’m a stay-at-home mother and wife so I stay pretty active. Thank you so much for your time!
Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: First things first. There’s no secret to losing weight. You simply need to bring fewer calories in your system than you burn off. It is that simple. Each of the various crazy-assed diets are simply different methods of doing that. Counting carbohydrates is a workaround for counting calories. Eating Mediterranean is another way of putting fewer calories in your mouth than ingesting American-style. Eating multiple tiny meals to keep portions down and hunger at bay is just another sort of calorie reduction.
Of course, actually, your celiac is your true limiting factor for you. It trumps all other diet information. Celiac quite literally controls that which you can and can’t eat. And on this front I think you’re fortunate, although I’m not sure you would agree with me. But the way I see it, as you’ve had celiac from day one, you’ve got that down pat. Truly, all you will need to learn is diabetes and thyroid.
So let’s discuss thyroid diets.
In all honesty, I’d never heard of a thyroid diet, and I’m hypothyroid myself. But no wonder you’re confused: When I investigated I found that an entire industry was built on the notion of thyroid-healthy diets with books, videos, and assorted know-it-alls spouting off about what you should and should not eat for a healthy and happy thyroid.
Sadly, there’s no science to back it up. One of it. If you don’t believe me, believe the experts in the Mayo Clinic. Of course, while there’s no clinically confirmed diet for treating diagnosed hypothyroidism, it is well worth touching on the impact of diet on the drugs used to deal with it.
Thyroid meds come in 2 flavors: synthetics and “naturals.” The synthetics can be affected by dietary fiber, some flours, along with other meds–so the official instructions say to take them on an empty stomach at least an hour before eating, drinking, or taking some other kinds of meds. But that’s not the reality in the trenches. The endos I used to use were more pragmatic: They told our patients simply do what you do, always, and we’ll adjust the dose to match your lifestyle. The natural pill, called Armour Thyroid, seemingly does not play well with soybean products. But that’s about it for thyroid diet.
Along with the thyroid should not be an issue with your weight, as long as it is properly controlled with drugs. When your thyroid went out of whack, it had been simple for you to get weight and difficult to shed it. In reality, weight reduction may have been what tipped your physician off to the fact that your thyroid has been misbehaving. But I must assume that your physician currently has your thyroid meds set right for you, and a medicated thyroid is doing the same job as a totally healthy one — so you should be back to square one on the capability to maintain a healthy weight. Having controlled hypothyroidism is the leading cause of nothing, much less weight gain.
So much for thyroid.
At this time you will be delighted to know that diabetes diets are simple. But I can’t give you an exact list of what you ought to eat like you asked for, since no two cases of diabetes have been created equal. We are all different. That said, I can inform you just how you can produce your own list. And all you need is a pen, a notebook, and a glucometer.
Unless your doc says otherwise, a meal that treats your diabetes well will not make your blood sugar increase more than 60 or so points. Higher-carb foods such as starches will obviously cause the most increase. To produce your own private list of foods that work for you personally takes track and error. First, test your blood sugar. Write down the results, along with what you are about to eat. Next set a two-hour timer and sit down and eat. In just two weeks, test your blood sugar. Examine the difference in the amounts. If the second number is more than 60 points greater than the first number there’s a problem with the meal. It may be what you were eating, how much of it you were ingesting, or what combinations of things you were eating. This type of exploratory testing is called Testing in Pairs, since you’re doing two examinations, a set up, to examine cause and effect around meals.
Important: Do not get stressed out by people who say things like, “Following a meal your blood sugar should never go over a goal of 180 mg/dL.” People who say things like that are being stupid. Sorry, but it is true. There are two separate components to blood sugar: Rise and Goal. And they are separate issues. True, in the long run you want your after-meal amounts in goal, however if your before-meal numbers have not been correctly corrected yet and are high, your after-meal amounts will be that much greater again, irrespective of how good the meal has been for you.
When it comes to learning how to eat for your private diabetes, rise virtually all. In the event the increase–the difference between the amounts before and after the mealis good but you’re still over your doc’s goal, that’s a problem for your physician to repair. You don’t need to alter the meal.
OK. So you already know how to eat for celiac. You know there’s no special way you want to eat for hypothyroid. And you also know now how do develop a record of meals favorable to your private diabetes. Now. How can you lose weight?
Straightforward. Keep to the low carb food options, and/or lower the portion sizes on the greater calorie selections. Provided that you will be back to a comfortable 108-115 lbs.
Our next reader is keen to gain what it is you’re keen to shed…
Bankim, type 1 from India, writes: I want to increase my weight. I’m a 29-year-old vegetarian. My weight is 52 kg and I’m 163 cm tall.
Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: So for U.S. readers, Bankim’s weight translates into about 115 lbs. And in five-foot four-inches, Bankim includes a body mass index of 19.7, slender, but not medically underweight. Nonetheless, if you would be more happy heavier, we’re here to serve.
And like losing weight, there’s no secret to gaining weight. You simply need to bring more calories in your system than you burn off. It is that simple.
Well, except for the fact that most of the high-fat, weight-gaining foods that are low carb (and consequently diabetes-friendly) aren’t precisely on the menu. My only advice is to start looking for higher-calorie vegetarian food options like rice, pastas, and potatoes, boost your meal size in case you can without spiking your blood sugar, and consider adding snacks or an excess meal to your day.
Oh, and check your thyroid to make sure you aren’t hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid), the other facet of Shauna’s coin. As crazy wracking can make it hard to lose weight, uncontrolled hyperthyroid can make it hard to gain it.
This isn’t a medical advice column. We are PWDs publicly and openly sharing the wisdom of our accumulated experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we’re not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are just a small part of your whole prescription. You still need the expert advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical practitioner.
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This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a customer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content isn’t medically reviewed and does not stick to Healthline’s editorial instructions. To find out more regarding Healthline’s partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.
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