Losing weight is a strenuous enough task as is, never mind trying to do so whilst managing Type 1 Diabetes. Should I start with cardio or weights? Does this mean goodbye to all carbs? Why is that exercise rising my sugar levels? HOW DO I STOP THE HYPOS?? These are just a few questions you might find racing around your head when trying to embark on a weight loss journey.
Taja Cato from Diabetic Fitness World multi-tasks as a fitness coach, weight loss expert and a Type 1 Diabetic! Previously, Taja had an unhealthy relationship with food which led to struggles with her weight. After a string of fad diets and feeling uncomfortable in her skin for far too long, Taja decided to do something about it. Keep reading for a breakdown of her weight loss journey and her answers to Type 1 Weight Loss FAQs!
What was the most daunting part of your weight loss journey?
The fear of disappointment. “What if I put so much time and effort into losing weight for it to not work out in the end?” I seriously felt like I’d already tried every diet and nothing worked for me in the long run.
What was the most challenging?
Learning how my blood sugars were affected by different types of exercise and trying to find answers on fat loss and type 1 diabetes were the most challenging aspects. There really wasn’t a lot of information out there!
What exercise impacts your sugar levels the most and what do you do about it?
Low intensity cardio is always a bit of a challenge as it plummets my blood sugar levels! If I’m planning to do cardio I have to plan ahead. I’ll consume some carbs before my workout and I always have to set a temp rate on my insulin pump about 40-60 minutes before I start my workout. I also cut my bolus back 50% both before and after my workout because any sort of low intensity training makes me a lot more insulin sensitive.
Were there any particular foods or food groups that you cut out?
No, I actually found the opposite to be more helpful! I was used to restricting foods from my diet in order to lose weight which lead me to have a very unhealthy relationship with food. I found that being less rigid with my diet helped me to achieve my goals because I didn’t crave “off limit” foods. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to achieve sustainable fat loss is cutting foods from their diet, because from a fat loss standpoint, there isn’t any “good” or “bad” foods, what it really comes down to is the amount of calories you’re consuming.
Would you recommend a certain diet for any of your clients now?
I don’t follow a strict diet myself. When it comes to fat loss, I always recommend people follow a diet they can stick to for the long term! I don’t believe there is a one size fits all approach when it comes to nutrition and I teach my clients to fuel their bodies with right amount of macro-nutrients in order to achieve their goals. This gives them the flexibility to eat whichever diet makes them feel best.
What is your top tip for any Type 1 Diabetic that is looking to lose weight?
Try not to focus on eating “healthier” or cutting things out of your diet. Weight loss might seem incredibly challenging, but it doesn’t have to be torture. The only way to lose body fat is by a calorie deficit, so figure out how many calories your body needs to lose weight and then track your food intake to ensure you’re maintaining a calorie deficit. That way, you can still eat the foods you enjoy and it’ll be much easier to achieve your weight loss goal because it will become a lifestyle change instead of just another “diet”.
Where do you get your inspiration to stick at it?
The inspiration only stuck after I realised what my body was capable of. It took about 4 months to see a noticeable change, but when I realised that I COULD lose weight and keep it off despite having type 1 diabetes, that’s what gave me the motivation to keep going.