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Diabetes and Weight Loss

There's no question about it. If you're overweight and have type 2 diabetes, dropping pounds lowers your blood sugar, improves your health, and helps you feel better.

You'll want to work closely with your doctor or diabetes educator, because while you're losing weight, your blood sugar, insulin, and medications need special attention.

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No matter what you weigh now, losing weight will make a difference.

Losing even 10 or 15 pounds has health benefits, according to the American Diabetes Association. It can:

Plus, you'll probably have more energy and feel better.

The Right Balance for Diabetes and Weight Loss

Keep tight glucose control while you lose weight. You don't want to get high or low blood sugar while you change your eating habits.

Cutting 500 calories a day is generally safe for someone with diabetes. When you're choosing which calories to cut, cut them across the board: from protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The USDA says that calories for adults should come from:

  • 45% to 55% carbs
  • 25-35% fat
  • 10% to 35% protein

Carbs have the biggest effect on blood sugar. Eating carbs that have fiber (whole-grain bread and vegetables, for example) is much better than eating sugary or starchy carbs, because they are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream, cutting your risk of blood sugar spikes.

Exercise, Diabetes, and Weight Loss

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 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (like brisk walking) a week. You can split up the time any way you choose.

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).

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