Losing weight is a struggle for everyone, but for someone with diabetes, it may seem futile. However, weight loss carries many benefits for those who suffer from diabetes, including lowering your blood sugar, reducing blood pressure, improving your cholesterol and taking pressure off of joints. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise plan, but the following tips can help diabetics jump start their weight loss as well as maintain it. The American Diabetes Association lays out losing weight for diabetics in four simple steps: assess your lifestyle, manage food choices, have support and regular physical activity.
Assess Your Lifestyle
The first step to weight loss as a diabetic is knowing where your current health stands. Be sure to talk to your doctor and let them know you’re planning on starting a new exercise and food regimen, and set goals for yourself. Take a step back and look at your environment, your lifestyle, the kind of foods you buy. Make changes where needed, but the first step is recognizing where change is necessary. If you’re sitting at work all day, make sure to take breaks to stand and correct your posture. If your go-to snack is a bag of chips, replace it with a healthier option. Once you recognize what’s holding you back from your goal weight, you can start to implement changes.
Familiarizing yourself with food groups and what constitutes “bad” and “good” food so you can begin making healthier choices. Portioning your food is important as well, and you need to determine if you’re putting too much on your plate. Your daily calorie intake will need to adjust as well. Cutting just 500 calories a day is safe for diabetics and will improve your health across the board — as long you’re cutting the right things. Carbs, fats and certain proteins need to be distributed across your diet. Try to stop eating out and, when necessary, pack healthy meals to go.
Have Support, but Rely on Yourself
Having a support team of friends and family is important when making a lifestyle change as big as significant weight loss. Many people choose to do diets with another person or a group of people. However, when it comes to your health and weight loss, it’s up to you to make (and stick to!) the changes. Figuring out what strategies work for you and monitoring your food intake makes you solely responsible for your weight. Support of others is a great motivator, but make sure you have your own motivations for wanting to be healthier — you’re more likely to stick to, and reach, your goals that way.
Being physically active it the best way to improve your health. It can prevent chronic disease, helps with your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol control. To lose weight, you must burn off more than you’re eating and drinking every day. It’s also important to figure out what routines fit your schedule according to your diabetic issue. Aerobic exercise such as running on a treadmill or biking can lower your blood sugar almost immediately. Weight lifting or other prolonged exercises can lower your blood sugar hours later, which is important to note if you’ll be driving or doing other activities that may be inhibited by the drop. As you exercise more, your blood sugar levels must be closely monitored. Trying different exercises to figure out what you enjoy is important as well — if you’re doing an activity you like, you’ll stay motivated and be all around happier.
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