Losing weight and exercising regularly help you effectively manage diabetes. Shedding pounds can reduce or even eliminate the problems associated with diabetes. Setting goals helps you stay focused and reach your desired weight.
- A five to seven percent weight loss can have a major impact on diabetes symptoms. Shed pounds the healthy way by choosing the right foods and exercising regularly. Exercise at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week. Walking, biking and joining the gym are ways to burn calories and fit exercise into your day.
- Set a weight loss goal to lose at least five to ten percent of your current weight. If you weigh 200 pounds and want to lose 5 percent of your weight, multiply 200 by .05. Your goal would be to lose 10 pounds and bring your weight down to 190 pounds. Establish realistic goals so you don’t get discouraged. Reduce portion sizes to help you lose weight slowly. Typically it is healthy to lose about two to three pounds weekly.
- Visualize how good you will feel when you reach your goal. Weigh yourself weekly and write down the results. Research shows people who keep track of their weight are more likely to reach their goals than those who don’t.
- Choose a diet that is reduced in carbohydrates and sugars. Healthy carbohydrates include non-starch vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat milk or yogurt, sweet potatoes, corn and legumes such as bean and peas. Learn to count carbohydrates and include them in each meal in limited amounts. Include fish in your diet at least twice a week choosing cod, tuna and salmon. Avoid fried fish or choices of large fish which are high in mercury such as swordfish. Good fats should be eaten sparingly due to high calories. Certain mono-unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol; choose foods such as almonds, olive oil and walnuts in moderation.
- Stay away from the trans-fats contained in baked goods, boxed foods, stick margarine and processed snacks. Consume no more than 200 mg of cholesterol daily and minimize your intake of high fat dairy products such as egg yolks. No more than 7 percent of your daily calories should come from foods with saturated fats such as beef, sausage and hot dogs. Also, consume about 1500 mg of sodium daily. Remember many foods have hidden salt.
- Incorporate diabetes education into your lifestyle changes. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about dietary choices. Work with a diabetes educator or dietitian to learn more about making healthier choices everyday. Discuss your body mass index, or BMI, with your diabetes care team. BMI is a measure of your total body fat. A BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight.
- Some people with diabetes use the glycemic index (GI) to help them choose foods. Foods with a high glycemic index are associated with increased blood sugar. However, low glycemic index foods might not be healthier if they are high in fat. Discuss the use of this tool with your doctor. Experiment by testing your blood sugar to see how these foods affect your glucose readings.
- Losing weight and keeping it off involves a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It is important to substitute the types of foods you choose. Use herbs to spice them up or a brown sugar substitute for a sweet treat. Steer clear of crash or fad diets that don’t work or offer temporary results. There is no time like the present to improve your well-being so don’t put off dieting to wait for a better time!
Try setting weight loss goals for better diabetes management. Make lifestyle changes today to keep you healthier and happier. Realistic goals are easier to achieve and build your confidence to take another step in the right direction. Talk to your diabetes care team about way to set goals and achieve them.