Countless Americans are trying to lose weight, but for some, weight loss is a critical component to preventing numerous medical complications. People with type 2 diabetes should consider including weight loss or weight management as part of their treatment plans. If you are overweight and have diabetes, it’s important to talk to your doctor before beginning a new diet and workout routine. You may find that you need to adjust the dosages for your diabetes medications and insulin injections. Weight loss for diabetics can improve quality of life and contribute significantly toward managing the disease.
Benefits of Weight Loss
According to WebMD,* a weight loss for diabetics of just 10 to 15 lbs. can do wonders for a person with type 2 diabetes. It will help you manage your blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels. Weight loss will also stabilize blood pressure levels, which reduces your risk for heart disease and stroke. It can even alleviate joint pain by reducing the pressure on your knees, ankles, and other weight-bearing joints.
Managing your blood sugar levels with weight loss and weight maintenance will help you prevent many of the potential complications of type 2 diabetes. These can include damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Damage to the nerves is called neuropathy, and in severe cases, this can lead to amputations. Poorly controlled diabetes may also increase your risk for osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
Aim for sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes rather than drastic diet plans. If you try to exercise for three hours every day and eat little besides lettuce, you’re not only wreaking havoc on your body, but you’re also setting yourself up for weight loss failure. Instead, set small goals that will gradually carry you toward your ideal weight. Incorporate those goals into your daily lifestyle until they become a habit.
For example, set the goal of walking for 10 minutes after dinner every day. After a few weeks, start increasing that time. As you become more fit, try to include a 2-minute jog in each walking session, and then gradually increase your jogging time. Include a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training workouts in your regular routine.
Diet & Meal Plans
As a diabetic, it can be dangerous to attempt drastic changes in your diet. Consult your doctor or dietitian before changing your meal plan. As with exercise, make small changes that are sustainable. Instead of vowing to cut out all desserts, for example, include healthy, diabetic-friendly desserts in your meal plan, such as low-sugar yogurt parfaits with fresh berries. Other small, sustainable changes might include replacing white flour with whole wheat in your recipes, eating brown rice instead of white rice, and eating fish and chicken instead of steak.
Monitoring Your Blood Sugar
As well as consulting your doctor and nutritionist about your new diet and exercise program, always monitor your blood sugar levels closely. Weight loss for diabetics can be tricky. Working out will lower your blood sugar levels. How often and when you should test your blood sugar levels will vary, depending on your medication, blood sugar control, and mealtimes. Always follow your doctor’s recommended testing schedule.