There are many important factors when it comes to managing diabetes but If there is one thing that could be said to stand out above all others it would be the ability to manage a diabetes weight loss diet.
It is imperative for diabetics to manage their weight especially if they are carrying a few excess kilos around the midriff. Being overweight and diabetic is a very dangerous combination.
Long term complications without a diabetes weight loss diet
As we know diabetes is a chronic disease that is responsible for a whole range of long term complications associated with having the disease, including cardiovascular issues, stokes, problems in the liver and kidneys as well as the eyes and potential leg amputations. If none of those complications scare you then you must have no emotions like a robot.
The most important factor in managing diabetes is the ability to manage glucose level to a degree that has your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. The next most important factor is to manage your weight. Managing your weight is primarily down to diet and exercise with diet being the most important of the two. Please see my post on diabetes exercise guidelines here. One can also manage their weight via medication or take more drastic steps such as surgery, this however can be dangerous not to mention expensive. To maintain a healthy weight you need to watch you overall calorie intake.
How many calories do you need to lose weight?
The first thing that I will recommend here is to talk to a nutritionist. Together you can work out the perfect eating plan to lose some weight. How many calories you require to lose weight will depend on a range of factors including weight, age, gender and overall activity levels amongst other things. Basically you need to burn more calories than you eat on a daily basis to lose weight, it really is that simple.
No downside to healthy weight loss
There really is no downside to maintaining a healthy weight, whether you are diabetic or not. The list of benefits is remarkable. In a psychological sense you feel wonderful, your mood improves and you have a sense of well being about yourself. Just think how you feel when someone asks “have you lost weight?” Your energy levels also go through the roof allowing you to achieve more and tackle more tasks and activities.
Being overweight puts an excess strain on your body in all sorts of negative ways. We know that a very modest amount of weight loss lowers the risks of complications dramatically. The statistics suggest that losing as little as 5% of your body weight can lower the risks of getting diabetes by 50%. If you have pre-diabetes it is essential that you lose weight. Losing 5-10% of your body weight can work to prevent type 2 diabetes in up to 60% of people.
Measuring your waist line can be a great way to get insight into whether you are overweight or not. Depending on a range of factors including your height, women should aim for a waist line somewhere below 80cms while men should aim for less than 94cms.
Please see my other post about the importance of diabetes and weight loss here.
What you need to know
It is important that you read up and research foods to be understand a diabetes weight loss diet. You need to know what foods to have in your diet and which to avoid. Without doubt the most important food group to understand as a diabetic is carbohydrates as they have the biggest impact on blood sugar levels. The difference between the portion of carbs in your body and the insulin that you produce is essentially what your blood sugar levels are.
Carbohydrates are found in foods such as sugars, starches and fibre. Carbs are found in food such as bread, rice, pasta, cereals, fruits and some vegetables. Not all carbs are created equally however. There should be ones that feature heavily in your diabetes diet and others that should not. Carbs that are low in starch are ideal. Please read more information about starchy vegetables here. Adults should try to eat at least 25 grams of fibre each day for digestive health. Fibre can also lower cholesterol in the body as well. Beans, nuts, vegetables and whole grains are your best source of fibre. Counting your carbohydrates is one way of keeping track of how many carbs you have consumed over the day. Please see my post on carb counting.
Protein is another macro-nutrient that you need to understand if you want to effectively manage a diabetes weight loss diet. Again not all protein is created equally. Protein helps build muscle and repair damage to the body. The protein that you should focus on include oily fish, lean meats such as skinless chicken and turkey. If you eat red meat it should be fresh and unprocessed. Protein is also found in beans and nuts and tofu.
Fat is considered to be an evil food by some but that is not the case. Again not all fats are created equal. You want to focus on eating more mono and polyunsaturated fats. These work to protect your heart and are considered the healthy fats. They are found in foods such as the omega 3 found found in oily fish, healthy fats are also found in avocados, nuts like almonds and olive oil as well. At the same time you want to limit your intake of saturated and trans fat. These are found in meats such as sausages, lard, butter, cream sauces, crisps and chocolate.
You can eat all food in moderation
A diabetes diet does not mean that there are certain foods that cannot be eaten. Everything is possible to eat however some foods should be consumed only in moderation. A prime example would be coca cola. Personally I now drink diet coke or coke zero but I still enjoy full strength coke occasionally. Sometimes if I have very low blood sugar something like coca cola is essential and could save my life. Aside from that, I drink it sparingly as an occasional treat but I am always careful to monitor my blood sugars very closely afterwards.
More weight loss hacks
The basics of weight loss are that you need to reduce the number of calories that you consume on a daily basis. A few of the basics include –
- Foods high in fat tend to have more calories so watch how much you eat especially saturated fats. Obviously fast food, crisps and chocolate and other junk foods are about the worst you can eat so you need to keep them in moderation.
- Try baking food instead of deep-frying it.
- Smaller portions of food goes a long way to lowering your overall calorie count.
- Using sweeteners as a substitute for sugar is also an effective way to manage your calorie intake.
You must buy this…
If you are a type 2 diabetic (or type 1 for that matter) and you are looking for some inspiration and motivation in the kitchen then I highly recommend this eBook. This was written by a 5 star gourmet chef who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After his diagnosis he fell into depression and it was only after doctors told him that he would soon lose his limbs and his life did he turn his life around. He used his knowledge in the kitchen to write and invent some truly delicious and nutritious recipes. After a month or so eating the food he had created his diabetes went into full remission has has remained so ever since. This eBook comes with my highest recommendation.
So it basically comes down to burning more calories than you are eating. That is page 1 of every how to lose weight manual. A healthy diabetes weight loss diet is very important when it comes to managing the disease and avoiding the chances of long term complications. Do you your research, speak to a nutritionist if need be and buy the above eBook, that is the key message from this blog post.
Please let me know how you are going with your diabetes weight loss diet below.