Weight-Loss Tips From People With Diabetes
Need some motivation for reaching a healthy weight? Get inspired by three people with diabetes who shed a combined 132 pounds. And the best news of all: They did so without sacrificing their taste buds, starving themselves, or running marathons.
1. Don’t Skip Meals.
“Eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with limited healthy snacks in between, has been shown to be the best way to optimize metabolism and stabilize blood glucose levels throughout the day,” says Wendy Scinta, MD, founder of Medical Weight Loss of New York in Fayetteville, New York. “I suggest that my patients have their largest meal at lunch if possible.”
2. Aim for Quality.
Not all calories are created equal. Stick with lean proteins such as chicken breast and fish, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and small servings of low-fat dairy. Added sugar should be minimized or avoided whenever possible, Scinta says.
3. Drink Up.
Mild dehydration can often mimic hunger and trigger overeating. Aim to drink 64 to 82 ounces of water a day (if you have kidney disease or take a diuretic drug, check with your doctor first).
4. Pile on Protein.
To maintain muscle mass during weight loss, eat at least 1 gram of lean protein per 2.2 pounds of your body weight. “I encourage my patients to eat 30 grams of protein at least twice per day for optimal muscle preservation,” says Scinta.
5. Count all Calories.
Don’t overlook “invisible” calories, such as the butter or oil you use to prepare food.
Diabetes and Your Scale
How much you weigh is important, but where you store those pounds—particularly fat—can greatly influence your health.
“Body shapes are often referred to as apples and pears, based on where people store deposits of excess weight,” says Scott Cunneen, MD, FACS, FASMBS, director of metabolic and bariatric surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Pear-shaped people carry weight below their waist, while apple-shaped people are widest around the middle.
If you carry excess weight around the middle, a layer of fatty tissue, called visceral fat, covers and supports the intestines and organs in the lower abdominal area. “That type of excess weight is directly associated with type 2 diabetes because fat stored viscerally causes more changes in your physiology that lead to inflammation and the pancreas and liver malfunctioning,” says Cunneen.
Your goal, when losing weight, is to decrease visceral fat. “Your body will lose weight in its own way,” Cunneen says. “But your goal is the reduction of gut fat versus butt fat.” There’s no proven method to specifically target visceral fat, but overall weight loss will eventually reduce it.
Check with your doctor before making changes to your eating or exercise plan.