Diabetes and Weight Loss
Type 2 diabetes is very closely associated with weight, with over 90% of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics above their ideal weight. Being overweight can hurt your confidence, and getting back to a healthy weight can seem like a never-ending challenge.
However, losing some weight could both prevent you from developing diabetes, or help you to better manage your disease if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes.
First things first
First off, work out how overweight you actually are.
Most people will have an intuitive sense of what a healthy weight is for them, but understanding how much you have to lose can make all the difference in having clear goals.
Talking about weight loss can be tough, particularly if you do not know your doctor or diabetes specialist very well, but understanding weight loss can make all the difference.
Get ready to lose weight and keep motivated
Getting into the right frame of mind to lose weight can be half the battle for some people. Get your head in good shape and allow the body to follow.
Many of us would like to lose a bit of weight. The National Obesity Forum states that a 10% loss in weight can significantly improve the following:
- blood sugar levels
- blood pressure
- and our life expectancy
Some people would have you believe that weight loss is easy. We’ve probably all had someone telling us that weight loss is easy, and perhaps for them it is, but for others it’s not so easy.
Some people can make a change and, as long as they’re dedicated, their body weight starts to decrease. For others it can be more difficult, and some people will have tried a number of methods without success so far.
Diet is a key factor in weight loss. The NHS notes that to be able to lose weight, the amount of calories we eat needs to be less than the amount of calories we use. One of the healthiest diets to follow is the Mediterranean diet - a diet that is rich in fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and poultry.
The NHS states a weight loss plan should include regular physical activity. Adults looking to lose weight are advised to build up to 150 minutes of aerobic activity, such as jogging or brisk walking, each week.
Research studies, including one in the year 2000 from Maastricht University, show that physical exercise can increase insulin sensitivity as well as burn calories.
As of 2012, the only weight loss medication listed by the NHS as suitable for treating obesity is orlistat. Weight loss medication may be prescribed if success has not been possible by diet alone. Use of orlistat needs to be supported by continued dedication to lifestyle changes such as diet and physical exercise.
If being overweight is posing a serious risk to your health, weight loss surgery may be considered. The NICE guidelines only recommend bariatric surgery for people with diabetes who have a body mass index value over 35.
Other NICE recommendations include the need to commit to long-term follow up treatment and be healthy enough to withstand surgery under anaesthetic.
What can you do?
That way you will understand your risks and what you have to do.
Diabetes prevention starts with losing weight.
First things first, discuss weight loss and an individual program with your health care team.
Take things slowly at first, and take one step at a time.
Which diet will help me to lose weight?
The diet industry is huge, but how do you pick a sensible diet?
Many diets involve reducing or restricting certain foods which makes some diets more or less appropriate for certain types of people.
If you need help choosing which diet to pick, a dietitian will be able to assist you in making a suitable choice.
How does exercise help diabetes and weight loss?
Exercise can help you to lose weight, by building muscle and burning calories. Although this can take time, particularly to physically notice the differences, each activity becomes easier as you become fitter. Always make sure exercise is appropriate to your situation.
Could alternative weight loss therapies help?
Alternative weight loss therapies can be beneficial to help support weight loss. They can help with motivation and can also help you to make appropriate health choices. If in any doubt though, check with your healthcare team whether the therapy is suitable for you.
Should I consider weight loss surgery?
If all else fails, and only if all else fails, weight loss surgery is available as a last resort option.
Weight loss surgery is a serious undertaking but for some people it can be particularly beneficial.
Support to help you shed the weight
Losing weight using physical exercise and diet control can be difficult, but if you persevere it will have a hugely positive effect for the vast majority of diabetics.