Carrying excess body weight increases resistance to insulin, making blood glucose management more challenging. Moreover, the longer you have been overweight, the greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That is why it is important to maintain a healthy weight to prevent the disease and lower the risk of complications.
Here’s how to get started to lose pounds through exercise and eating smart to help you control diabetes:
Get physical. Exercising helps muscles use sugar and burn calories. So, it is vital to build exercise into your daily routine. The best physical activities for diabetics are:
- Walking. It is easy and anyone can do it almost anywhere. 30 minutes of brisk walking three times per week is a great and easy way to start being active.
- Swimming. It doesn’t put pressure on the joints, which is good for patients with concomitant diseases. Besides burning calories, swimming can lower stress levels, which in its turn lowers blood sugar levels. To get the most out of swimming, swim at least three times a week. Start with 10 minutes and gradually increase the length of workout. But, don’t forget to let the lifeguard know that you have diabetes before getting into the swimming pool.
- Dancing. It is an exciting and funny way to promote weight loss (up to 150 calories in just 30 minutes), improve flexibility, reduce stress and lower blood sugar. Patients with restricted abilities, whose condition limits their participation in conventional forms of exercise, can go in for chair dancing, where chairs are used for support.
- Stationary bicycling. It can be done inside, no matter the weather, and you don’t have to worry about falling or getting a flat tire when away from home. Besides burning calories, bicycling also improves blood flow to the legs, which is of great benefit for diabetics.
- Yoga. It is a great diabetic stress reducer. It also helps lower body fat, fights insulin resistance and improves nerve function – all important for diabetics. Another thing that makes yoga one of the best activities is that it can be done as often as you like.
Eat smart. Several sneaky strategies can help you reverse obesity and diabetes without drugs.
- Eat only when hungry. Avoid eating of habit, boredom or emotions.
- Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes after you start eating for the brain to realize that you are full.
- Eat regularly. Having regular meals reduces overeating. Never skip breakfast and space your main meals 4 to 6 hours apart. While skipping a meal may seem a good thing to cut back on calories, this will actually make you overeat when it’s time for the next meal.
- Measure your portions. Check your portions with measuring cups, spoons or scales. No matter the size of your plate, follow a balanced plate model to allocate your carbohydrate intake, so that you feel full until next meal. Half of your meal should be composed of vegetables, a quarter of starches and a quarter of meat or fish.
- Control hunger. Keep small snacks like pre-cut vegetables or whole fruit handy to control hunger. Avoid fried, salty and sugary munches.
- Eliminate ‘white foods’. Cutting on white sugar, white bread, white flour and white potatoes you can significantly drop the pounds, thus improving blood glucose control and reducing the risk of heart disease.
It is necessary for diabetics to balance a healthy weight with the need to keep blood glucose levels within target range. So, even small behavior changes can help you achieve a healthy weight. Fear of having low blood sugar shouldn’t prevent you from being physically active and eating smaller servings.