If you have diabetes, there are major health benefits in losing excess weight. The most important benefits of weight management in diabetes are better control of your blood glucose levels and blood fats including cholesterol and blood pressure reducing the risk of developing long-term complications.
Why weight management in diabetes?
Being overweight makes it tougher to control diabetes since excess weight makes it harder for the body to use insulin properly, regardless of whether you are on insulin injections or whether your body is producing injection. Insulin resistance is mainly associated with extra fat around the waist. Besides this, it also increases the chances of heart attack and stroke.
Losing just 10 per cent of your body weight, if you are overweight can help you enjoy the health benefits of weight management in diabetes – which is better diabetes control, lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Once you decide to lose weight, make sure your goals are realistic. This means slow and gradual weight loss to sustain it.
Another reason to manage your weight in diabetes is to reduce the risk of developing diabetes complications. Exercise and diet can help significantly in managing diabetes and also lower the risk of other health issues. I have found that this also increases my energy levels and makes me feel better.
Here are some healthy weight loss tips for weight management in diabetes:
- Make a resolution to eat healthy and get regular exercise. This will lower your risk for insulin resistance and improve your heart health.
- Make small changes in how much you eat and what you eat. Exercise at least 5 days a week. This will help you stay healthy and put you on the path to reduce your diabetes drug dose. It helped me cut my medication in half.
- Regardless of what your goal weight is, plan ahead before you take action. Discuss your plan with your doctor to know what is right for you. Set clear goals that you can easily follow to lose weight. If you foresee any obstacles, have a backup plan to overcome them.
- Remember that you must want to lose weight. Don’t do it because your doctor said so. Taking personal responsibility is the first step. Think about why it is important to you to lose weight. This will help you stay on track even when your motivation is low. Here is my own example:. I want to lose weight because
- I want to keep up with my family
- I love to travel and want to be fit enough to have a good time
- I want to reduce my chances of heart disease and other diabetes complications
- I don’t want to feel tired
- I want to manage my diabetes and be healthy
See what I mean? You have to want it enough to put in the effort happily. I have written down all the reasons and put them up where I can see them every day. And I find it is a great reminder to inspire me to keep at it.
- Set diet goals you can achieve
- Avoid fad diets or crash diets that promise quick weight loss and also restrict what you can eat. These seldom work in the long run and usually result in binge eating where the weight comes back quicker than it went. Set small goals and steadily work towards them. Make healthy changes that turn into healthy long term habits. Here are some examples:
- I will opt for whole grain cereals and low fat milk instead of a muffin
- I will avoid eating out. If I have to eat out, I’ll plan what to order before I go out
- I’ll opt for fruits for dessert and skip the ice cream
- I’ll exercise portion control and use the plate method
- I’ll maintain a food journal
- Set activity goals that are doable. Daily activity is really the best way to control blood sugar and boost your energy. Some easy ways to do this are:
- Go for an after-dinner walk for 30 minutes three days of the week
- Get off the bus a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way
- Join an aerobics class in your area
- Track your activity in a calendar
- Look at what works best for you. Begin slowly and build up incrementally. I go for a brisk 40-minute walk every day in the evening as this is the time when there are no distractions. You can consider walking, dancing, climbing the stairs, swimming and more. Check with your doctor to see what is safe for you.
- Count your calories
- Remember that you must cut down on calories and burn more each day to reach your goal. Look for healthy eating tips and make a plan that will help you.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your successes. It is not easy to make lifestyle changes overnight, but it is worth the effort when you start seeing the benefits in the form of better health, better blood sugar management and healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
The key is to lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off. Find out from your doctor to make a plan based on what works for you specifically.
Day 23 of the A to Z Challenge
W is for Weight Management and Diabetes