Losing Weight with Diabetes: What Makes Sense

It is hard to be sensible about a necessity that is also one of life’s great pleasures: food.

For those with diabetes, being sensible about food is more than a personal choice. It is also part of a medical treatment plan that may include losing weight. Unfortunately, there are no quick solutions to weight loss that safeguard our health.

Suggestions for Losing Weight with Diabetes

What you are about to read is entirely sensible.

  • Within the carb and calorie limits of your doctor’s or dietician’s meal recommendations, focus on the quality of the foods you eat. Choose carbohydrates with high nutritional value. Eat more fresh produce and whole grains instead of packaged or processed items that contain hidden sugars and unhealthy fats.
  • Enjoy regular physical activity. To lose weight most of us must burn more calories than we take in.
  • Keep your metabolism revved up by spreading calorie intake over the entire day. Skipping meals, in the long run, causes people to gain weight. When people do not eat regularly the body begins to store the calories it gets for later use, instead of burning them—and it stores those calories as fat. The same thing happens to those who go on extreme low-calorie diets.
  • If you want to join a weight loss program look for one tailored for people with diabetes, or at least understands their needs. Programs provide information and support to create patterns of eating that maintain healthy glucose levels and weight.
  • You have to be patient since there is no perfect weight loss diet. Diets do not work unless they are individualized, and relevant to a person’s lifestyle, food preferences, and health needs.

Sometimes individuals trying to lose weight associate taking insulin with weight gain. Although insulin may appear to be the culprit, it is important to know it is not.

Why Insulin Is Not the Cause of Weight Gain

Some people discover they can drop a few pounds quickly by cutting back on insulin. What many individuals lose by doing this is not fat but water weight—when blood glucose is high people tend to dehydrate. Then, as people go back on their prescribed dose of insulin, the body over-collects fluids to make up for the dehydration. This re-hydrating process can rapidly put on extra pounds.

Another problem with cutting back on insulin is that not all the food ingested can get into the body’s cells and provide energy. This makes people feel hungry so they eat more food. Since their insulin is low, the body cannot process the extra food and they lose weight.

After losing the weight, people resume taking the correct amount of insulin and continue eating the extra portions of food they are now accustomed to. Since their body has adequate insulin, the extra food is processed and causes weight gain.

Modest weight gain can also be attributed to over-treating low blood sugar reactions by consuming too many calories. This is particularly an issue for those on intensive insulin therapy. Again, the weight gain is owed to metabolic processes, not the insulin.

Source: Joslin Diabetes Center
Image credit: Daniel Oines / flickr

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