If you have diabetes and you're overweight, don't despair. You don't have to get model-thin or fit into skinny jeans to manage your diabetes better and boost your health. Losing any amount of weight can lower your blood sugar levels, improve your blood pressure and blood fats, and make it easier for your body to use insulin.
You can do it by making small changes in what and how much you eat and by getting exercise most days. This can help you lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. In 7 to 10 weeks, you can lose about 10 pounds. You'll improve your health, and you might even be able to cut back on your diabetes drugs if your doctor gives you the OK.
Sometimes, living with diabetes can seem like a full-time job -- trying to keep up with everything you need to do for proper diabetes care.
"Diabetes is a very time-consuming disease to manage well," says Karmeen Kulkarni, MS, RD, CDE, and former president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association. "The medication, the food, the physical activity -- you add life in general to that whole picture and it ends up being quite challenging."
You might be thinking, "Well, I've tried this before and never got anywhere." The key is to think in terms of small steps. You're not trying to lose 50 pounds -- just a few pounds will do.
No matter how much you want to lose, it helps to plan ahead for weight loss before you start trying to drop those extra pounds. Always work with your doctor during the process, especially if you take any drugs. Weight loss is likely to affect them.
Start with these three steps:
Ask yourself why you want to lose weight, and why now.
Set clear goals that you can follow to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Think about the hurdles you might face, and plan ways to get over them.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
Why Do You Want to Lose Weight?
It's not enough to hear from your doctor that you should drop extra pounds. It must be something that you want for yourself. Think about why it's important to you. This will help you keep on track through the tough times of low drive or high temptation. What inspires you to lose weight?
Do you want to be able to keep up with your children as they get older and more active?
Is there a charity walk or run you've always wanted to join?
Are you tired of feeling tired?
Do you want to manage your diabetes more easily?
Are you planning a big vacation and want to be fit enough to fully enjoy it?
Do you want to lower your chances of heart disease and other health problems?
Whatever your reasons, write them down, and post them on the refrigerator door or somewhere you can see them. The list will remind you every day why you're tackling the challenge of losing weight.