10 Tips for Managing Your Weight with Diabetes
Allison Bush Mar 26, 2012 (updated Jan 16, 2015)
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Managing your weight when you are living with diabetes is one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make. Here are some top tips to help manage your weight with diabetes.
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Choosing realistic goals
Start with realistic goals. When overweight people achieve even modest weight loss they reduce risk factors in the heart. Ideally, overweight patients should strive for 15% weight loss or better, particularly people with type 2 diabetes
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Establish a daily exercise program
A regular exercise program is essential for maintaining weight loss. If there are no health prohibitions, choose one that is enjoyable. Check with a doctor about any health consideration.
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Resist hunger pangs
Hunger pangs should not be taken as cues to eat. A stomach that has been stretched by large meals will continue to signal hunger for large amounts of food until its size reduces over time with smaller meal.
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Know your caloric intake
Be honest about how much you eat, and track calories carefully. Studies on weight control that depend on self-reporting of food intake frequently reveal that subjects badly misjudge how much they eat (typically underestimating high-calorie foods and overestimating low-calorie foods). In one study, even dietitians underreported their calorie intake by 10%.
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Weight loss medications
One option for people who cannot lose weight by through diet and exercise alone may be to use a weight-loss medication in addition to staying on a lowcalorie diet. Two medications now marketed for weight loss are sibutramine (Meridia) and orlistat (Xenical). Both medications are intended for people who are significantly overweight.
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Weight loss maintenance
Once a person has lost weight, maintenance is required. To maintain a healthy weight, make careful decisions about how many calories you consume in food and how many calories you expend through physical activity. Such thinking will eventually become automatic.
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Weight loss surgery
A procedure known as bariatric surgery has been very helpful in producing rapid weight loss and improving insulin and glucose levels in people with diabetes.
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Realistic weight loss expectations
As a rough rule of thumb, 1 pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories, so one could lose a pound a week by reducing daily caloric intake by about 500 calories a day. Naturally, the more severe the daily calorie restriction, the faster the weight loss. Very-low calorie diets have also been associated with better success, but extreme diets can have some serious health consequences
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Know your weight loss numbers
To determine the daily calories requirements, multiply the number of pounds of ideal weight by 12 to 15 calories. The number of calories per pound depends on gender, age, and activity levels. For instance a 50-year old moderately active woman who wants to maintain a weight of 135 pounds might require only 12 calories per pound. A 25-year old female athlete who wants to maintain the same weight might require 25 calories per pound.
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Watch Your Fat Intake
Fat intake should be no more than 30% of total calories. Most fats should be in the form of monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil). Saturated fats (found in animal products) should be avoided.