Losing weight is a cornerstone of New Year’s resolutions. It’s up there with quitting smoking and alcohol in terms of its popularity, but despite being made with the best of intentions it can seem impossibly hard to stick to by the end of January.

This is perfectly normal. Losing weight is not easy, but with patience and some good advice it is tremendously beneficial, especially if you have diabetes. When overweight people with diabetes lose weight it can lead to better blood glucose levels, increased energy and added motivation to stay on top of their diabetes management.

There are several reasons why you may feel your weight loss resolution is not working. Here are some tips that can help you remain positive and possibly look at losing weight from a different angle.

1. The January curse

It may mark the beginning of the New Year, but January is a dreadful month to be making resolutions, especially losing weight. The cold and dark requires extraordinary willpower to commit to regular exercise and there is a greater likelihood of illness developing. If you’re struggling, focus on the basics for now; eating healthily and getting regular exercise. Then, when it comes to late February, you can start to commit more intensely to your weight loss regime.

2. Adopt a low-carb diet

A low-carb diet can aid weight loss by limiting the amount of insulin – which helps to store fat – that needs to be produced by people with type 2 diabetes; or administered by those with type 1. Less circulating insulin therefore prevents and can reverse weight gain. If you’re not currently employing a low-carb diet, check out the Low Carb Program: a 10-week education course that was developed with the help of 20,000 people with diabetes.

3. Eat real food

You may have reduced the amount of cookies or brownies you eat per day, but if you don’t replace these snacks with real, nutritious foods then you won’t receive the proper benefits. Avoid processed foods at all costs; stick to healthy fats, vegetables, meats and fish. If you’re going to snack, make sure it’s a healthy option. Additionally, be sure to read food labels carefully: low-fat dairy and pasta sauces are among the surprising food choices that can be filled with sugar.

4. Get enough sleep

If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, you are more likely to feel tired the next day. As you’ll be lacking energy, you’ll also be more tempted to eat comfort foods for that initial energy boost. This is known as secondary eating. Sleep deprivation can make it much harder to stick to your weight loss plan. Avoid stimulants before bedtime, such as alcohol, exercise and smoking; and try to go to sleep at a similar time each night. This will train your biological rhythms and make it easier to get a good night’s sleep.

5. Don’t let work ruin your plan

Work can throw up countless hazards to your weight loss plan. One of these is eating at your desk, which you may do because of stress, or fatigue. As it is much easier to eat convenience food at work, you may be less inclined to eat something like requires cutting up, like a salad. Make sure you prepare all your work food at home and avoid buying food either before you arrive or on your lunch break.

6. Take baby steps

Weight loss isn’t a sprint. It can take a long time for your hard work to pay off. For now, set realistic expectations for yourself, such as losing 1-2 pounds per week. Taking things one day at a time will help you develop a sense of achievement and confidence that can spur you on to achieve your longer-term targets.

7. Avoid unconscious eating

Unconscious eating occurs when your attention is focused elsewhere, such as watching the TV or browsing on your phone. Not focusing on your food makes you more likely to eat less healthy food and not feel full as quickly. Make sure there is nothing to distract you from your food – eating at the dinner table each night can help with this – and be sure to savour every bite. It can take up to 20 minutes for your body to realise it is full.

How have you been getting on with your New Year’s resolutions so far? Was weight loss one of your aims, and are you happy with your progress so far? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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