If you are overweight with type 2 diabetes, weight loss is an extremely effective treatment plan. A weight loss of 10% of your current body weight can greatly reduce your risk of getting diabetes, or improve your glucose control.

Just to convince you, here is a list of the benefits of weight loss for a person with diabetes:

Health Benefits
1. Reduce glucose and the need for medication
2. Reduce insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity
3. Reduce blood pressure and perhaps medication
4. Reduce blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides)
5. Reduce risk of heart attack, stroke, cancers, orthopedic problems (bones and joints)
6. Improve sleep problems (such as sleep apnea)

How to Lose Weight
With diabetes, you need to lose weight in a gradual, healthy manner. Crash diets could play havoc with your blood sugar, and may not be balanced in protein, carbohydrate and fat. Some people with diabetes use a low-carbohydrate diet to lose weight. Research shows that many drop off the program because it is unrealistic to follow forever. A very low carbohydrate diet may be lacking in the nutrients from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You need to establish healthy eating habits that will serve you well over time, and keep your weight off.

A pound of body fat is 3,500 calories. In order to lose a pound a week, you can take 500 calories a day from your diet, or a combination of increased calorie expenditure (exercise) and less calorie intake. Take 1,000 calories a day out, and you lose two pounds a week.

Use DiabetesCare.net’s BMI Calculator (scroll down to MyCare Tools - must be a registered member and logged in) to assess your need to lose weight. Use our Nutrition Tracker (scroll down to MyCare Tools - must be a registered member and logged in) to calculate a calorie level for weight loss, and then track your food intake each day.

Volumes of advice on how to lose weight have been written, yet there is no single easy way. Obesity is a complex problem, and many people struggle to control their weight. The following are the primary changes that can be effective.

Ten Basic Tactics to Lose Weight
1. Portion control: If you have a diabetic meal plan from a registered dietitian, you already know about serving sizes. Use smaller plates and glasses, refrain from taking seconds, serve yourself less meat and starch and more vegetables, and share restaurant meals.
2. Plate Diet: Fill half your plate with low-calorie vegetables (limit the butter, oil or cheese). Divide the other half into half, pacing four-ounces or so of low-fat meat in one section, and about one cup of low-fat starch/whole grain food in the other. You have a full plate, lots to eat, but fewer calories.
3. Watch the Junk: Although you’ve learned that people with diabetes can work a little added sugar into their diet, junk foods, with sugar, salt and fat, should be rare in your diet. Select healthy snacks in the fruit, dairy or vegetable group to carry you over to balanced meals.
4. Keep Food Records: Research shows that people who keep food records lose twice as much weight. Just recording your intake, and even counting calories and/or carbs, can teach you to make better food choices. Use the DiabetesCare.net (mentioned above) to self-monitor.
5. Manage Your Hunger: If you allow yourself to get too hungry, you will naturally overeat. Hunger management is a key element to weight control. Eat three balanced meals, and low-calorie snacks if more than four-five hours pass between meals. If you get too hungry, you will grab the first food available, eat it fast, and eat too much. Learn to be aware of your hunger approaching and eat when hungry and stop when satisfied, not full.
6. Be a Mindful Eater: Research shows we mindlessly consume 200-500 calories a day doing things such as nibbling while cooking, munching in front of the TV, or eating while playing on the computer. Keep food consumption enjoyable: eat at the table, chew food thoroughly, and slow down your eating speed.
7. Manage Your Environment: Don’t tempt yourself by buying treats and keeping them in sight. Food cues such as the cookies in the jar can trigger extra calorie intake.
8. Plan, Shop and Prepare: Take control of your food choices by menu planning, shopping regularly (not when hungry!), and cook simple meals at home. Pack lunches more often. You will eat healthier and lose weight when you can limit the fats and control the portions.
9. Eat Breakfast: Studies show that people who eat a nutritional breakfast have more success at weight loss and keeping it off.
10. Diet Plans: Increase the fiber in your diet, eat 30-35 percent of calories from mostly healthy fat, and increase whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Get three servings of dairy a day or take a calcium supplement with Vitamin D. Consider using meal replacements—portion-controlled and calorie-controlled food (bars, soups, packaged entrees) and drinks (shakes) for one or two meals a day. Meal replacements can help minimize your food choices and decisions about food, offer better alternatives than what is available, give your diet plan structure and are very convenient.

Don’t forget that exercise is effective in weight loss. People who watch less than 10 hours of TV a week are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. Even if you aren’t ready for a formal exercise routine with cardio and strength training, consider using a pedometer to track your steps. You wear it on your waist, set at zero in the morning and wear it all day. Record your daily steps. Set a goal to slowly increase your steps each week. The recommendation is about 10,000 steps a day, or four miles of motion on your body. Pedometer use can be a fun way to motivate you to be more active in daily life. And, being more active will lower your blood glucose. Use DiabetesCare.net’s Exercise Tracker (scroll down to MyCare Tools - must be a registered member and logged in) to help with your exercise program.


For more information, visit DiabetesCare.net`s Weight Management and Weight Maintenance section.

Reviewed by Clara Schneider MS, RD, RN, CDE, LDN - 05/13