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.

Losing some weight could both prevent you from developing diabetes, or help you to better manage your condition if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes.

First things first – weigh yourself

First off, work out how overweight you actually are. For many people, weighing yourself is the first step to weighing less.

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.


Keeping fit helps our bodies to stay in good shape and has a number of health benefits.

A research study from 2010, by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, found that a combination of strength and aerobic activity can be effective in weight management as well as for blood sugar control.

Aerobic exercises are activities that get the heart pumping faster and get us breathing harder. Aerobic exercises are usually of moderate intensity over a lengthy period of time. Examples include:

  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Moderate intensity dancing
  • Cycling
  • Brisk walking

Anaerobic exercise is higher in intensity and a shorter duration than aerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercises are activities that force the body’s muscles to work without oxygen.

When performing anaerobic exercise, your muscles will tire relatively quickly and your breathing will become intense. Anaerobic exercises include strength training and rapid bursts of activity. Examples include:

  • Weight lifting
  • Push ups and pull ups
  • Sprinting
  • Climbing steep hills or flights of steps

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise both help the body to burn calories. Aerobic activity tends to burn more calories in the short term, however, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn.

This is why a combination of moderate and high intensity exercise can be beneficial. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise help to increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

By increasing our insulin sensitivity, we can help our body to better lose weight and control blood sugar levels.

What can you do?

Read up as much as you can, including topics such as diabetes and obesity, and diabetes and metabolic syndrome

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.

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