Have diabetes and struggling to lose weight? Here is what to do

You’re active, you watch what you eat, yet the scale won’t budge.

If you have diabetes, the answer could be in your medicine cabinet—specifically, your diabetes medication.

If you—like nearly 88% of people with diabetes—are overweight or obese, it might be time to ask the doctor if your medication is adding to your weight-loss challenges.

“Diabetes medications are vital in helping manage blood sugar, so you shouldn’t stop taking them. Instead, ask about alternative medications and treatment strategies,” said Patricia Davidson, certified diabetes educator (CDE).

She is an coauthor of an American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) practice paper on diabetes and obesity.

“It’s also important to realize there are other things that could be holding you back—everyone needs an individualized strategy for managing diabetes and losing weight.

A diabetes educator can help,” said Katherine S. O’Neal, CDE and co-author of the practice paper.

In a new practice paper, AADE offers creative tips to better manage your diabetes and lose weight—a win-win.

These tips may help you avoid or delay getting type 2 diabetes, especially if you’ve been told you have prediabetes.

Anyone can benefit from these good health habits, whether or not they’re at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Physical activity is free medicine. In fact, it’s one of the best ways for your muscles to get glucose, which may mean you’ll need less diabetes medication.

Calories in, calories out. Eating puts calories in your body, and when you’re active, you use those calories.

Plan to spend at least 150 minutes a week being active, which is less than 22 minutes a day. The more active time the better, so try to work toward 300 minutes of activity a week (about 43 minutes a day).

Think activity, not exercise. Be creative and do something you enjoy. You don’t have to slog away on the treadmill; dance around the house or at a club, walk the dog, or take a stroll after dinner.

Sneak in activity wherever you can: walk around the grocery store before loading up your cart, park in the farthest spot when running errands, or sprint up and down the stairs when doing laundry.

Food is medicine, too! High-fiber foods can lower your blood sugar while also helping you lose weight.

They not only make you feel full, they can also decrease the amount of medication you need. Read labels and shoot for 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day.

Focus on fruits and veggies. At least 10 grams of your daily fiber intake should come from fruits and vegetables. Aim for five servings a day: ideally, one or two fruits and three or four veggies.

A serving is ½ cup cooked or one cup raw vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are high-fiber veggies.

A serving of fruit is one cup of berries or melon, or a small fruit, like an apple. High-fiber fruits include those that are crunchy and have skin, such as apples, pears, and less-ripened peaches (too ripe lowers the fiber content).

Graze on whole grains.  Whole grains have lots of fiber, keep your tummy healthy and aid in weight loss.

Whether they’re in your cereal, bread or pasta, look for “whole” in the list of ingredients, such as “whole wheat flour.”

Your smart phone can help. Download a food and/or activity tracking mobile app that keeps you motivated. A diabetes educator can help you find an app that works for you.

Ask about weight loss surgery. There are several types of bariatric (weight loss) surgery, and a Cleveland Clinic study found that the surgery may help extremely obese people with diabetes lose significant weight.

Furthermore, 57 to 95 percent no longer show signs of type 2 diabetes, depending on the type of surgery.

There are significant risks to bariatric surgery, and it is typically recommended only for someone with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more and are therefore very obese.

Also, people who have bariatric surgery must continue to stay active and eat healthy to maintain the benefits.

A diabetes educator can help you determine if surgery may be an option to discuss with your doctor.

Don’t do it alone. A strong support system is key to managing diabetes and losing weight.

Your family and friends can help, and a diabetes educator not only works with you to individualize your management plan but can also introduce you to others with the same condition who will cheer you on and share their inspiring stories of success.

Peer support communities, both online and in person, can be a great outlet for support, trouble shooting and camaraderie. Learn more about these communities at DiabetesEducator.org/PeerSupport.

Source: American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).