Most people don’t realize the strong link between Type II Diabetes and obesity. Fully 90% of individuals diagnosed with Type II Diabetes are also overweight. But this also means something else – losing weight can combat diabetes in ways no other medication or lifestyle can. Weight loss and diabetes don’t always go hand in hand – it can be challenging to lose weight as a diabetic – but it’s not impossible.
The American Diabetes Association doesn’t think so. In fact, according to the Association, losing just 10 or 15 pounds can go a long way in lowering blood sugar. Cathy Nonas, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, concurs: “No matter how heavy you are, you will significantly lower your blood sugar if you lose some weight.”
There are two lifestyle factors that often need to be reevaluated when anyone tries to lose weight, but for diabetics, they are especially important. A healthy diet and consistent exercise are the surest tracks toward losing weight, and the two can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 58%, as assured by a National Institutes of Health study conducted in 2001. But for those that already have Type II Diabetes, acting on diet and exercise can significantly reduce the risk and occurrence of symptoms.
Before attempting weight loss with diabetes, it is crucial to check with your doctor. Diet is already an important consideration for diabetics, and doctors can provide key advice in how to structure your meal plans. Many fad diets, such as the Atkins diet that virtually removes carbohydrates from daily food intake, are unsafe for diabetics. Complex carbohydrates are among some of the healthiest and best nutrients for a diabetic, as the molecules are broken down into natural sugar, but not too quickly. Instead of buying into a fad diet, maintain one of a balanced nature. About half carbs, 30% fat, and 10-20% protein is the best way to go. The key is to cut out the amount eaten, rather than completely abstain from specific types of food.
All healthy weight loss requires some exercise, and for diabetics, this can be even more important. Just a half hour of exercise, four or five days a week, can help bring down weight. Make sure the exercise is sustained, and done in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet. However, as exercise becomes more strenuous, the necessity of monitoring your blood sugar becomes ever more pronounced. High aerobic activity can lead to an immediate drop in blood sugar. If you are running or engaged in another activity that raises the heart rate, you’ve got to make sure that your blood sugar does not drop to a dangerous level. Also, keep in mind that extended exertion, like lifting weights, can lower your blood sugar for hours after you’ve finished exercising.
Yet all told, exercise is vital, as is a calorie-cutting diet. Remember to talk with your doctor – they can advise you in types of exercise and food that will be good for your health. And most importantly, they know you. Tailoring the right program to meet your personal needs is key to your success.
Though diabetes and weight loss don’t always go hand in hand, by exercising and revamping your diet, you can encourage their mutual acquaintance. Your body will thank you for it.