Controlling your weight is one key to managing diabetes. Shedding even a few pounds by being active and eating wisely may improve your diabetes control. But if you have diabetes, some weight loss programs aren’t right—or even healthy—for you.
Talking with your doctor is a good place to start. Ask these questions:
- What’s my current weight? What is a healthy weight for me?
- What are the best foods and exercises for diabetics as part of my weight loss program?
- How do I keep my blood sugar from dropping too low during and after exercise—and what should I do if that happens?
Set a Realistic Weight Loss Goal
Now you’re ready to get started. Aim to lose one to two pounds per week—rapid weight loss diets promising you’ll lose 10 pounds in 10 days aren’t for you. Losing weight at this slower pace is safe and realistic for most people.
You’ll probably need to make some changes, but cutting calories doesn’t mean giving up on foods you like. The secret is to make every calorie count. Choose foods that are as nutritious as they are delicious.
Healthy Foods for Diabetics
Work with your doctor or registered dietitian to create a personal meal plan. Then keep these general tips in mind for managing diabetes:
- Eat plenty of nonstarchy vegetables. Examples include asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, greens, mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes.
- Focus on high-quality carbs. Pick whole-grain bread, pasta and cereal rather than refined grains. Choose low-fat or nonfat milk and yogurt rather than the full-fat kind. Limit foods and drinks with added sugars.
- Forget supersized meals. When dining out, try to order smaller-sized menu items. If that’s not an option, share a plate or take some food home.
Diabetes and Exercise Go Hand in Hand
Adding more physical activity to your day is a great way to start managing diabetes. It helps burn calories as well as lowers your blood sugar. Many experts recommend getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week. Break your exercise into smaller chunks of at least 10 minutes if that fits your schedule better.
Writing down what you eat and how much you exercise in a weight loss diary can be a good way to see when you’re doing well and how you can improve. The American Diabetes Association has online trackers for eating and exercise at www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/weight-loss/getting-started/food-and-physical-activity.html.
Questions about diabetes and weight loss? Ask your Rite Aid Pharmacist.
“Balancing Calories.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Updated May 15, 2015. www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/calories/index.html.
“Be Active.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Updated September 18, 2015. www.cdc.gov/diabetes/consumer/beactive.htm.
“Blood Glucose Control and Exercise.” American Diabetes Association, Edited December 16, 2013. www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/get-started-safely/blood-glucose-control-and-exercise.html.
“Understanding Carbohydrates.” American Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/.
“Diabetes Overview.” National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/overview.
“Food and Physical Activity Tracker.” American Diabetes Association, Updated May 15, 2015. www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/weight-loss/getting-started/food-and-physical-activity.html.
“Non-starchy Vegetables.” American Diabetes Association, Updated May 14, 2014. www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/non-starchy-vegetables.html.
“Physical Activity Is Important.” American Diabetes Association, Updated April 9, 2015. www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/physical-activity-is-important.html.
“Take Charge of Your Diabetes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/tcyd.pdf