My Experience With Intermittent Fasting for Type 1 Diabetes

In a nutshell, intermittent fasting means closing the window of time during which you eat.

If you have breakfast at 7am and finish dinner at 7pm, you’d be eating during a 12 hour window and fasting for the other 12. Many of us don’t do that, though.

Nighttime snacking is likely an epidemic and from what I hear/read, it is wise to give your body at least 12 hours of fasting time.

Have you ever skipped a meal and felt lighter, recharged, and not hungry? I have often felt this way. I understand about a third of you will probably be about the opposite but such is my experience.

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

I was interested in intermittent fasting years ago when I read what Tim Ferris had to say about it. He has access to exceptional people, is wildly curious, and respects science to as much as a degree as I can tell so I tend to consider what he has to say.

I started trying it a year and a half ago in the hopes it would help me lose some stubborn weight. If I didn’t have type 1 I might have type 2 diabetes. In other words, I become resistant pretty easily and quickly to insulin. If I eat my disciplined way and exercise my basal insulin is about 11 units every 24 hours. If I eat the standard american diet and don’t exercise it goes up to about 30 units every 24 hours. Big difference.

Anyway, I began by just not eating breakfast and having my first meal of the day at lunch (noon) and then having dinner at about 6pm and finishing up at 7pm for the night. I continued my walking most days, trying to walk at least 3 miles a day.

This was easy for me because I have always regretted breakfast. Seriously, I eat it and feel too full for lunch and if I skip lunch I get hungry so it just complicates things and zaps my precious energy. For so long though, the commonly heard “never skip breakfast” has prevented me from doing what felt right.

I lost 10 pounds in about 8 months. I’ve since lost another 5-6 pounds by having lunch not at noon, but at 3pm each day. I’m never hungry before 3pm each day so it seems I have adjusted to this way of eating, which is cool.

Intermittent Fasting for Better Blood Sugar

The other reason I’ve enjoyed intermittent fasting is because instead of figuring out insulin for three meals or more a day, I’ve cut it down to two, giving me one less variable to mess up my blood sugar levels with.

Skipping breakfast helps with the dawn phenomenon and morning exercise, too I think.

For example, when I get up, I first test. I adjust with insulin if needed, usually giving the tiny bit extra for the dawn phenomenon and then get on the treadmill. Exercising in the morning before food has proven to help burn more calories AND it has been proven to keep exercise happening in the first place. If we put it off for later in a busy day, it may just not happen at all.

During and after my walk on the treadmill I will drink coffee, which is my personal way of incentivizing my walk.

When Will I Stop Losing Weight?

I’m very curious about this question because if eating well, consistently walking, and fasting keeps reducing my weight, what does that mean?

Does it mean that intermittent fasting is helping to boost my metabolism? I swear I eat as much food as I used to, if not more. My last blood tests from 2 months ago show my thyroid working much better than it did 2 years ago when it was at the very lowest end of normal, so that is encouraging.

I’m not done losing weight so I will just continue on the path i’m on. I estimate that for my 5’4 height and very small frame I should weigh less, still. Belly fat is my main concern and as my kids lovingly tell me, my stomach is a “cozy and squishy pillow” to lay on.

I’ll be very interested to see if my blood pressure changes in a positive direction with any additional weight loss (fingers crossed). You’ll be the first to hear about it if it does.

13 Comments

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Are you still intermittent fasting? How’s it going?

I am. It’s still going well. Lost another 2 pounds. :)

Interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject.

I have type 1 diabetes. I was 20 years old at the time I found out. I had weight loss, no energy and was thirsty all the time. I also could not eat and was never hungry. If you need more info about diabetes, you gotta check diabetescentrale.nl/teststrips-bloed for health reference ; I found that site is quite interesting.

I’m looking into intermittent fasting. I also have type 1 (over 40 years) hypothyroid (16 years) . I have a ton of little questions like Does coffee not count? I thought water only when fasting. Do you have any resources or do you just have to try it to see what works for you? Thank you.

Hi Kris. Coffee doesn’t count if it’s black. Though some fasters will put cream in their morning coffee. Here’s a good resource on intermittent fasting: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/intermittent-fasting and another one: https://jamesclear.com/the-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting. I recommend staying hydrated and listening to your body as you attempt this. Let us know how it goes!

I have been attempting the Intermittent fasting for about 2 weeks now. I usually wake up with a stable BG level but approx an hour into being awake, my BG always spikes up causing me to take some insulin to correct my levels. Does taking this insulin effect or break my fast? I will take the insulin to correct my BG but continue my fast for another 3-4 hours.

No, it’s ok to take that insulin to cover the morning spike because even non-diabetics get a spike in the morning and their pancreas secrets the necessary insulin to cover that, too :) I have to do the very same thing.

Hello,

Im a type 1 diabetic and my BG level usually spike about an hr after I wake up causing me to take insulin to correct my level but I continue my fast until I hit my 16hrs. Does taking this correction dose of insulin break my fast?

Hi. I’m a T1 diabetic and I’ve been IF 16/8 for about 4 weeks now. I’ve noticed the past week and a half that after I eat lunch (only 20-30 carbs) I am requiring a LOT more bolus insulin to cover. It can take me well into 2-3p before I get it under control. In the past, before I started IF, I always needed more quick acting than normal when I ate breakfast. Is this normal or maybe I’m doing something wrong?

Hi Sav, thanks for your comment. More fast-acting than normal is typical at breakfast because of the dawn phenomenon action but I’m not sure why you would need more at lunch as there are many variables which could be the cause. Try troubleshooting: making a list of possibilities you can try to check off such as infection or illness, expired insulin or starting your meal with higher blood sugar levels than before. Good luck!

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