Maintaining a healthy weight is important, but for overweight or obese individuals living with diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight is critical. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that over one-third of the U.S. population is obese. In fact, being overweight is a primary risk factor for developing diabetes.
According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and of those individuals, 8.1 million are yet undiagnosed. A startling 86 million Americans are prediabetic, and without losing weight and engaging in moderate physical activity, an estimated 15 to 30 percent of these individuals will develop type 2 diabetes in just five years.
It is clear that weight loss is extremely important in the fight against diabetes and even more clear that weight loss is a major public health issue. If you are living with diabetes, the good news is that it may be easier than you think to lose weight and keep it off. Whether you are just deciding how to shed pounds or have been making steady progress, here are a few helpful weight loss tips for diabetics.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to realize that the lifestyle changes you will need to make in order to lose weight should be permanent; this is not a quick fix to lose a few pounds before going back to eating a poor diet. Losing weight and keeping it off are the single best thing you can do to lower your risk for developing diabetes. It can also help to normalize your blood sugar levels, possibly even reducing your need for insulin or other medications.
Before you begin any kind of weight loss program, it is important to speak with your doctor. While weight loss is appropriate for many people with diabetes, people with certain medical conditions and those taking certain medications should be monitored by their doctor during their weight loss journey. Some diabetes medications can significantly lower blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous if you are not eating enough food. In addition, as you lose weight, your medication regimen may need to be adjusted, particularly if blood sugar levels are improving.
Deciding what to eat can be tricky while managing your diabetes. There’s actually no list of best foods for diabetics because it essentially breaks down to making healthy choices every time. When it comes to healthy meals, there are a wide variety of options available, albeit some foods provide better nutrients than others.
The American Diabetes Association recommends several foods as “diabetes superfoods,” which have a low glycemic index and are packed with important nutrients such as fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E. The following are some of these best foods for diabetics:
It is especially important for diabetics to avoid refined and processed carbohydrates, however, healthy carbohydrates can still be consumed in moderation. When you eat foods that are high in carbohydrates, the sugars and starches contained within the foods are broken down by the digestive system into its building block, glucose.
As glucose leaves the digestive tract and is absorbed into the bloodstream, blood glucose levels rise. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas in response to high blood glucose levels. Its job is to lower blood glucose levels back to a normal level, which is important because persistently high blood glucose levels can cause severe health complications, like blindness, kidney disease and nerve pain. Insulin plays a critical role in helping cells absorb glucose and put it to good use in the form of energy.
Participating in regular exercise is another one of the most important weight loss tips for diabetics. Physical activity naturally complements your efforts to lower your blood glucose levels, by helping to optimize your body’s use of insulin. Taking a brisk walk is a great way to get started.
Consistency is key, so a little bit of effort each day can lead to noticeable results over time. Not pushing yourself too hard in the beginning is also key to making sure that you stick with it and don’t injure yourself. As always, it is important that you speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
The programs at Medifast Weight Control Centers of California take the guesswork out of meal planning for individuals living with diabetes. Every client is matched with a certified weight loss counselor who can help with aligning meals with dieting recommendations from the American Diabetes Association. Medifast and diabetes meal plans are designed to be low in carbohydrates so you don’t have to spend time counting carbs, thereby taking the concern out of figuring out how eating that particular food may affect your diabetes.
In addition, you’ll prepare and eat one “Lean & Green” meal at home. Your weight loss counselor will teach you how to start cooking healthy and diabetes-friendly meals for yourself so that you can continue to stay healthy, long after the weight comes off.
Managing diabetes can be a challenge, but committing to a healthy lifestyle can make it much easier! Let Medifast for Diabetics help you establish a roadmap to weight loss success for a healthier life. Get in touch with us to start your weight loss journey today!