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Diabetes and Weight Loss: Finding the Right Path

If you've got diabetes, losing weight can get you off insulin and other medications. Create a safe diabetes weight loss plan with the help of experts.
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The Effects of Exercise on Diabetes continued...

Keep in mind: Each type of exercise affects blood sugar differently.

Aerobic exercise -- running or a treadmill workout -- can lower your blood sugar immediately.

Weight lifting or prolonged strenuous exercise may affect your blood sugar level many hours later. This can be a problem, especially when you're driving a car. It is one of the many reasons that you should check your blood sugar before driving. It's also a good idea to carry snacks such as fruit, crackers, juice, and soda in the car.

"With physical activity, you burn blood sugar as well as sugar stored in muscle and in the liver," explains Meneghini. "People using insulin or medications to simulate release of insulin should closely monitor blood sugar levels when they begin exercising more. Over time, as you exercise regularly, you can reduce doses of medications and insulin."

Getting Started on Your Diabetes Weight Loss Plan

Losing weight is never easy. That's where a diabetes educator or a nutritionist can help, advises Deeb. A diabetes educator or nutritionist can develop a program that fits you and your lifestyle -- a program with realistic goals, he says.

"You will need a meal plan, one that you can follow every day. You'll need to know how to alter your insulin and medication based on what you're eating and whether you're exercising more," Deeb tells WebMD. "That's the safest way to lose weight."

A consultation with a diabetes educator or dietitian/nutritionist can cost from $60-$70. Typically, insurance covers the first two visits, but may not cover additional visits, says Meneghini.

Reasonably priced diabetes support groups and classes are available, frequently through hospitals. Ask your doctor or physician assistant for recommendations.

There are also diabetes web sites with in-depth exercise and weight loss information, including:

  • American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) diabetes.niddk.nih.gov

"Information is power, and the better informed you are, the better decisions you can make," says Meneghini.

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Reviewed on October 28, 2011
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