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9 Dos and Don'ts of Dieting With Diabetes

By Barbara Brody
WebMD Feature

Slimming down can help get your blood sugar levels back into the normal range, and in some cases even cut down on or eliminate the need for medication. Easier said than done? Boost your odds of long-term success by following these expert tips.

1. DO mentally prep yourself.

"Losing weight is more like a marathon than a sprint; you can't go as hard as you can for a short period and then stop," says Michael Dansinger, MD, director of Lifestyle Coaching for Diabetes Weight Loss at Tufts Medical Center and nutrition doctor for NBC's The Biggest Loser. "If you're not ready, any changes you make aren't going to be sustainable."

To find the motivation you need to keep going and going, Dansinger suggests comparing where your current habits are taking you to where you'd rather be in 5 years. Will you have diabetes-related complications? Or will you be healthier than you are today? The decisions you make now can shape your future.

2. DON'T go overboard.

You're more likely to stick with it if you start small, says Carolyn Brown, RD, a nutritionist at Foodtrainers in New York.

"Your first step might be aiming for an extra 15 minutes of exercise, or skipping the after-dinner treats," she says. "Commit to two new things per week, and build on them."

3. DO some detective work.

Tracking everything you eat and drink for at least a week is the best way to detect patterns.

"You might find that you graze a lot more throughout the day than you realized, or that you often forget to eat breakfast," Brown says. You can use an app or pen and paper, whichever you prefer.

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