3 Keys to Managing Your Diabetes When You Lose Weight
1. Check your blood glucose more frequently.
As you lose weight, you may find that your blood glucose levels are lower, and you may need to talk with your health care provider about adjusting your meds.
2. Keep an open dialog with your doctor.
Always check in before starting a new exercise routine to ensure your safety. If you have a diabetes-related complication, for instance, a member of your health care team may need to modify your intended workout plan.
Discuss nutrition updates, too. According to a new report from the American Diabetes Association published in the May 2019 issue of Diabetes Care, there is no “diabetes diet.” A variety of eating plans can help you manage your diabetes. While some—such as the Mediterranean and DASH diets—are safe ways for people with diabetes to lose weight, others may carry health risks. A study published last year in the medical journal Pediatrics found that about 70 percent of people with type 1diabetes who followed a very-low-carbohydrate diet, for example, experienced symptoms of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). This doesn’t mean you can’t try it, but you may need to be under close supervision by a doctor and/or registered dietitian.
3. Consider new medications.
Certain meds approved for type 2 diabetes also may support your weight loss efforts. Among them: GLP-1 receptor agonists such as liraglutide (Victoza) or exenatide (Byetta). While metformin is always the first-line treatment, if you require a second medication, switching to one of these may be a good option. And remember: Insulin may cause weight gain, but that’s no reason to skip your meds. You can counter this with exercise, healthy eating, and working with your health care provider to ensure your insulin dose is well matched to the food you’re eating.
Sources: Avigdor Arad, PhD, RDN, CDN, director of the Mount Sinai PhysioLab and instructor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Louis Aronne, MD, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine; Chris Gagliardi, lifestyle and weight-management coach with the American Council on Exercise; Melissa Matteo, RDN, CDE, registered dietician and certified diabetes educator at the Cleveland Clinic; Kristen Smith, MS, RD, nutritionist in Atlanta and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Reshmi Srinath, MD, director of the Mount Sinai Weight and Metabolism Management Program