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Best Type 2 Diabetes Strategies for Women

By Barbara Brody
WebMD Feature

Losing weight can turn your type 2 diabetes around. You might end up needing less medicine for it, or maybe even none at all.

Follow these experts' tips and get ready to win at losing.

1. Don't settle.

Like most Americans, this probably isn't the first time you've tried to lose weight. But experience isn't always a good thing. You may have picked up some habits along the way that are actually making it harder.

Maybe you've crash-dieted before. But this time, demand results that last. It will take longer, but it's worth it.  What ultimately makes the difference is finding a plan you commit to for life: not a diet, but a way of eating that's delicious without undermining you.

Or maybe you think that dieting means drinking calorie-free soda and eating sugar-free cookies and fat-free potato chips? Not true.

Research shows that the particular diet you choose isn't all that important, as long as it's safe, it’s OK with your doctor, and it cuts down on calories. What matters is whether you can stick with the changes you make, and layer in exercise to help keep it off for good. It starts with flipping your thinking from "diet" to "lifestyle."

2. Pump some iron.

Muscle burns up lots of calories. So give your metabolism a major kick by starting strength training.

"The more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn, even when you're resting or sleeping," says Wayne Westcott, PhD, an instructor of exercise science at Quincy College. "Resistance exercise has also been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce insulin resistance."

To reap all these benefits, Westcott recommends lifting free weights, using weight machines at the gym, or working out with resistance bands at least twice a week. Yoga and other activities that use your own body weight also count. Have a trainer show you how to do the moves. Keep doing your usual aerobic activities (such as walking or swimming), too.

You will not bulk up. You're training your muscles to your advantage.

3. Outsmart your craving for sweets.

When your sweet tooth is raging, don't ignore it. But don't be ruled by it, either.

A few squares of good-quality dark chocolate (65% cocoa or higher) are a good pick because they have antioxidants along with theobromine, a natural appetite suppressant, Scott Isaacs, MD, writes in his book, Beat Overeating Now!

If chocolate isn't your thing, he says it's OK to have a very small amount (less than 100 calories) of whatever treat you're craving as long as you pair those gummy bears or jelly beans with a healthier food, such as a piece of fruit, to curb the impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels.

If it's going to be too hard to have such a tiny serving, pick something naturally sweet, like fruit.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Normal
70-130
High
131+

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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