A New Way for People with Diabetes to Lose Weight

by David Mendosa Patient Advocate

We have many tips and tactics on how those of us who have diabetes can get down to a healthy weight and then keep off those pounds. I have written about many of them here, and each of them probably help some of us some of the time.

Like just about everyone else who has diabetes, I have struggled most of my life with my weight. So many of us are overweight, in fact, that one government study that I have cited here several times says that more than 85 percent of all people with diabetes -- including both type 1s and type 2s -- have an unhealthy body mass index of 25 or more.
This compares with the one-third of all Americans who are overweight. And for us being overweight is not only much more common but it also makes it much harder to control our blood sugar level.

I was able to shed most of those unneeded pounds starting in 2006 when I started taking Byetta. The next year, when I wanted to stay thin without any diabetes drugs, I lost even more weight when I switched to a very low-carb diet.

Losing that weight was one of the hardest things I ever did. But keeping it off proved to be even harder. I eventually set my goal to get down to a BMI of 19.5, the low end of the normal range, and actually reached it from time to time. But as I wrote here a year ago, after my weight increased when I took a cruise on a small ship, I simply failed at maintaining the weight I wanted to have.

Until I hit on a new way that for me is both simple and surprisingly easy. I am not claiming that it will work for everyone, and in fact it probably won't be as easy for people who don't follow a very-low carb diet and aren't as motivated as I was by the discouragement over my repeated failures to maintain my healthy weight.

One cornerstone of this new way to lose weight and maintain weight loss is a twist on a standard dieting recommendation. But instead of weighing myself once a week, I weigh myself every morning.

Supposedly people get discouraged from daily weigh-ins because our weight seems to fluctuate up or down a couple of pounds every day for no good reason, or for at least for no reason that we can figure out. The fluctuations are certainly true in my experience. But, of course, the same fluctuations happen when we make our weigh-ins once a week, and that would be even more misleading.

Then, when the scales tell me that my weight is up that morning from the previous morning, I make an immediate course correction, which we know is easier in the long run than to wait until things get totally out of hand. My immediate course correction is simple. I skip dinner that day.

After eating my typical breakfast and lunch that day, I avoided consuming any calories after about 1 or 2 p.m. I do drink plenty of water, tea, and iced herbal tea.

Sometimes I tell myself that skipping dinner is intermittent fasting. But that would be an exaggeration. Most people think of intermittent fasting as fasting for at least 12 if not 24 hours, and can be a good thing for us to do for several reasons.

Because I don't eat any wheat or other grains that are well known for being addicting) and for making us hungry, going without dinner once in a while isn't a problem for me. Others who don't follow a very low-carb diet may noticed that their mileage may vary.

On July 4, when my weight was five pounds above my goal, I first put this new way to a test by skipping dinner that night. The next morning my weight was down by more than one pound. Since then, I have skipped dinner five more times, when my weight was up from the previous day and it was more than my goal weight.

The result? I am travelling now without my scales, but the last time I checked I was two pounds below my goal weight. And I just returned from another trip -- and that trip was on a small cruise ship.

Maintaining my weight, which used to be the most difficult thing I ever did, has become easy with this new way. It might be easy for you too when you try it.

David Mendosa
Meet Our Writer
David Mendosa

David Mendosa was a journalist who learned in 1994 that he had type 2 diabetes, which he wrote about exclusively. He died in May 2017 after a short illness unrelated to diabetes. He wrote thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and published a monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 kept his diabetes in remission without any drugs until his death.