If you're one of the nearly 24 million Americans living with type 2 diabetes, you know your body has difficulty using or producing insulin. What can you do to manage the disease? We asked Jill Crandall, MD, professor of clinical medicine and director of the diabetesclinical trials unit at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, to debunk some myths and help you learn to live well.
If you drop even 10 or 15 pounds, that has health perks, such as:
Lower blood sugar
Lower blood pressure
Better cholesterol levels
Less stress on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet
The Right Balance for Diabetes and Weight Loss
Keep tight control over your blood sugar levels while you lose weight. You don't want to get high or low levels while you change your eating habits.
It’s generally safe for someone with diabetes to cut 500 calories a day. Trim from protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The USDA says that calories for adults should come from:
45% to 55% carbs
25% to 35% fat
10% to 35% protein
Carbs have the biggest effect on blood sugar. Those that have fiber (whole-grain bread and vegetables, for example) are much better than eating sugary or starchy carbs, because they’re less likely to spike your blood sugar and quickly make it crash.
How Exercise Helps
One of the many benefits of working out is that it helps keep your blood sugar in balance. You're also more likely to keep the pounds off if you're active.
If you're not active now, check in with your doctor first. She can let you know if there are any limits on what you can do.
Aim to get at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, to improve your health. You can split up the time any way you choose.
To help yourself lose weight you’ll need to do more physical activity. You should also do strength training at least twice a week. You can use weight machines at a gym, hand weights, or even your own body weight (think push-ups, lunges, and squats).