The health effects of being overweight or obese are numerous… and very serious. Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry, as many individuals set out to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.
Losing some weight can help lower blood sugar levels, as well as reduce risk of complications due to diabetes. However, certain dieting methods can be dangerous for diabetics. It is important to understand the effects dieting can have on blood sugar and overall health.
New research has found that individuals who fluctuate in weight have twice the risk of death, heart attack, or stroke compared to individuals who maintain a stable weight. Those who lost, and then re-gained the weight, also had a 78% increase in risk of developing diabetes.
Simply stated, if you aim to lose weight, do it the right way the first time because if you trigger a cycle of losing and gaining, you could pose a serious risk to your health.
The keys are: eat right, get moving, and take it slow. While the results may not be immediate, they will be worth it. Think of this journey as a marathon instead of a sprint. You are more likely to succeed long-term if you start slow.
The first thing to do is to speak with your healthcare team. If you are not currently at a healthy weight, your physician will set a goal weight for you to reach. Check in regularly with your physician regarding your progress to ensure you remain on track.
Don’t fall for fads. While the “lose 20 pounds in a week with the XYZ diet” may sound appealing, don’t trust it.
Don’t skip meals. While it may be tempting to cut calories by not eating, this strategy will backfire. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar goes haywire. It can drop to unsafe levels; you will notice that you have less energy, and you may develop a headache, or stomachache.
When you finally do eat something, you are likely to over-eat (thereby consuming more calories than you would if you had eaten two regular meals), or make a less-than-ideal food choice because you are so hungry. Not to mention, your blood sugar will skyrocket because it is getting stimulated all at once instead of over the span of an entire day.
Eat regularly to make sure that your body is getting the fuel it needs. For some, this means 3 larger meals and 2 snacks, for others it may mean eating every 2-3 hours. Find what works best for your blood sugar.
Moderation is key. Telling yourself that you can never have (insert name of favorite food here) because you are now diabetic, is completely unreasonable. Check out these food hacks and enjoy your favorite foods again!
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, as well. This not only keeps your metabolism running at top speed, but also helps you feel full.
The first meal of the day has an especially strong impact on your metabolism and blood sugar. Eating within 2 hours of waking helps set the stage for stable blood sugar all day.
To help curb evening snacking, try closing down the kitchen after dinner so you don’t eat more before bed.
Don’t go it alone! Identify the supportive individuals in your life. Tell them about your goals and ask them to keep you accountable and motivated as you work toward those goals. This group could consist of family members, friends, coworkers, or online support circles.
It is possible for diabetics to diet safely and effectively; a great healthcare team, access to good information, personal dedication, and a healthy dose of support are what it takes!