Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience.
We’ve all battled with the idea of losing a few kilos at some point in time. But if you have diabetes and are overweight, then you must start doing something about it right now.
Excess weight can have many effects on your body, and the sooner you try to get fitter, the better it is for you.
“Weight loss is essential for diabetics to prevent cardiometabolic complications. Exercises help improve metabolism to burn fat, thereby reducing the extra fat that increases insulin resistance. The moment you start exercising, your body requires extra energy from blood glucose, and muscles also take up more glucose, thereby lowering the glucose levels in the body,” acknowledges Dr. Amita Bhandarkar, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine and Diabetology, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru. She further helps us in understanding the importance of weight loss for those with diabetes.
Why does diabetes cause weight gain?
If you are taking insulin, it can cause weight gain. Insulin is an anabolic hormone. It promotes uptake and storage of glucose and fat into insulin-sensitive cells. Also, if you have repeated episodes of hypoglycaemia, your doctor may recommend you to eat glucose in some form, which can also make you gain weight .
Importance of exercising in losing weight
A healthy diet combined with a proper exercise plan will help you lose weight faster, as compared to only restricting how many calories you are consuming. Exercise helps to manage your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, reduces the risk of heart attack, keeps your A1C levels and blood sugar levels in check and helps to avoid health complications .
Importance of diet in losing weight
If you have diabetes, it is best to limit your intake of foods that can lead to spikes in blood sugar or that contain unhealthy fats. Avoid processed foods with a high content of glycaemic load such as white rice, canned fruits, fried foods, refined flour, full-fat dairy and food high in trans- fat.
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A few changes in your daily routine can make a big difference. And yes, the amount of physical activity you do in a day matters a lot more than just a single exercise session. Some healthy lifestyle habits you should include in your day include:
- Walking to work
- Using stairs instead of elevator
- Going for a mini-walk post dinner
- Walking while talking on a long call
- Getting up to fetch a glass of water every couple of hours
How to know if I have reached the ideal weight?
To answer this, you will have to first understand the concept of healthy weight. The healthy weight of each person differs based on their muscular development, age, build, height, gender and sex.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is usually an important indicator of ideal weight. However, BMI is tricky because it doesn’t account for fat versus muscle. Healthy weight charts and calculators can be helpful tools, but they’re not the be-all-end-all. Hence, a combination of the BMI and body fat measurement helps in determining the optimal weight for your body type.
Keep a right balance between diabetes and weight loss
Keeping tight control over the blood glucose levels when you lose weight is the key . Both high and low levels of glucose are bad when you are trying to lose weight. Usually, it is safe for those with diabetes to cut down 500 calories a day. Calories for adults should come from 45% to 55% carbs and 25% to 35% fat.
Protein is helpful in satiety and retaining muscle mass. Carbohydrates are great for those who need a quick burst of energy during a workout. They also provide fibre, which is critical for digestive health and increasing satiety.
Try and incorporate a healthy diet and have some exercise each day.
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- Sheri R. Colberg, Ronald J. Sigal, Bo Fernhall, Judith G. Regensteine, Bryan J. Blissmer, 5 Richard R. Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes. The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement. Diabetes Care. 2010 Dec; 33(12): e147–e167. doi: 10.2337/dc10-9990. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992225/
- Mohammad Asif. The prevention and control the type-2 diabetes by changing lifestyle and dietary pattern,J Educ Health Promot. 2014; 3: 1. Published online 2014 Feb 21. doi: 10.4103/2277-9531.127541. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3977406/