Can I lose weight if I have Type 2 Diabetes?—7 steps to better health

This question comes up all the time: Can I lose weight if I have Type 2 Diabetes?

Can you walk? Can you change the way you eat? Even if you answer “no” to these questions, you can lose weight, but it may not be the way you want to do it.

We’ll look at some tips on losing weight with Type 2 Diabetes in today’s post.

The curse of being overweight

Earlier this week I attended a session hosted by the hospital where I receive my diabetic treatment. I made a prediction in my head about the people who would be in attendance. The prediction was based on my experience with this disease and with the types of people who typically get it.

I predicted that 99 % of the people in the room would be overweight or obese.

I believe the only two people in the room that were not overweight or obese were two of the people teaching the class! (The other two were overweight, by the way.)

Being overweight doesn’t automatically equal having Type 2 Diabetes, but it sure is a good indicator.

Excess weight is largely—pardon the pun— responsible for many of the ailments that plague our society today. Many of these ailments are the consequences of Type 2 Diabetes.

Some of those ailments include:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease and failure
  • Blindness or other vision problems
  • Cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Amputations (not an ailment, but it certainly can be a “fact” of a diabetic’s life)
  • Neurapathy
  • Brain fog
  • Crippling depression

These are just a few things that can happen with diabetes. Just a very few. Diabetes affects every organ system in the body from the smallest of parts, to the largest.

With all these strikes against a person with diabetes, is there such a thing as hope?

Is there any hope?

Of course, there is hope. I would not be writing about this if there were no hope. I can guarantee you that you will not find the answer in a pill bottle or syringe. That may seem like a bold statement, but believe me when I say that I have never heard of a pill or injection that does anything more than “manage” your condition.

Management is not a cure.

Statistics show that approximately every other person in the United States is overweight or obese.

There are over 30 million people with diabetes worldwide. But even at that, our world just continues to get fatter, sicker and closer to death.

So, can you lose weight and is that the source of hope?

Yes and yes! There are ways to safely lose weight.

7 quick tips for a healthier life (with more detail coming in future articles)

I weigh 250 pounds. I was told when I was first diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes that if I would just lose weight I could help and maybe even reverse my condition. That was nearly 11 years ago. I weighed 267 pounds then.

My weight has yo-yoed for years. I have weighed as much as 300 pounds and as little as 212 over the past 11 years. I usually hover right around the 240-250 pound mark, though.

I’m not proud of it, I just want you to see where I am and, if you are willing, to go on this journey with me to lose weight and see if we can make ourselves better (because, in my humble opinion, the medical profession has failed miserably at it).

So here are the steps I am suggesting that we start with to get ourselves healthier:

  1. Get motivated!

I don’t care if you have to read every motivational quote and book out there, you must get motivated. Motivation isn’t a do all and be all. You are going to need to refresh your resolve to lose weight every day.

Whatever motivation means to you, you must embrace it and use that motivation every day, every hour, every minute if you have to. Perhaps it will be a photo of a slimmer you. Maybe it will be a phrase or quote that you repeat daily.

2. Keep track of what you eat!

If you are like me, you probably think, “I don’t know why I can’t lose weight. I hardly eat enough to keep a bird alive.” Of course, that bird is roughly the size of a T-Rex!

I use a simple app on my smart phone called My Fitness Pal. There is a free version which works just fine. I have used it for years. You have to remember to log in everything you eat, though. I recently upgraded to the premium version because I wanted to be able to track more things, but the free version works just fine, too.

Just like I did, you will likely discover that you are eating a lot more than you thought you were. Don’t be afraid to put in everything that you eat. The only one you are cheating is yourself if you don’t log it into the app. It has a list of hundreds of thousands of foods and you can create your own, as well.

3. Keep track of your exercise!

The My Fitness Pal app works great for keeping track of your physical activity as well. It lists hundreds of exercises in varying endurance levels. I have created several of my own exercises as well. The app is very versatile and very useful. I wholly recommend using it. I use it almost every day.

4. Take before photos!

This is a big key to helping you get motivated. When you see those photos of yourself looking “large” you realize the impact that all those extra pounds put on you. I have three of my before photos gracing this post. My idea is that I will post photos throughout my journey with you as we lose weight and get control of our diabetes.

Typically, I would have been wearing a lot less in these photos, but I think these photos show very accurately that I am a large woman who could stand to shed a “few” pounds!

5. Take your before measurements!

Taking your measurements before you begin is also an important motivational tool! Sometimes our measurements change before the numbers on the scale change. Having this extra level of tracking our progress is a great way to see that we are making progress. Following are the measurements that I like to track:

  • Neck
  • Chest/bust
  • Right bicep
  • Left bicep
  • Right wrist
  • Left wrist
  • Waist (at belly button)
  • Hips
  • Right thigh
  • Left thigh
  • Right calf
  • Left calf
  • I also measure what I refer to as my “big gut”. It is that area below my bust and above my waist that is quite large and where a good chunk of my fat is stored. Some people skip this area, but I like to measure it.

6. Don’t overdo it!

This step is especially important if you have not been on a diet or worked out recently. When we are horribly out of shape and we are determined to lose weight, it can be a natural thing to want to start out walking or working out hard and often. While we do need to work out hard when we get into it, starting off at a pace that is beyond our level will not prove very beneficial especially if we end up hurting ourselves and can’t work out at all.

I usually start with a walk at home workout that is paced to meet my abilities. A work out should challenge you, but not defeat you!

Start out slow, maybe do 15 minute walks and slowly increase as your fitness and endurance increase.

Another important note: Check with a medical professional before starting ANY exercise program. I’m serious about this! Your physician can assess your level of fitness and recommend where you should start! Don’t mess around and neglect this advice!

7. Don’t give up!

I can’t emphasize this last one enough. DO NOT QUIT on yourself!

Well, I think I have given you some good first steps. Number 7 is my favorite one. In all my attempts and failures, I have never given up on myself nor have I given up hope in a cure or reversal of my diagnosis with diabetes. I know it is there and I know that losing weight and being better is possible, too.

We are in this together!

Thank you for visiting my site. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please leave questions or comments below and I will get back to you very soon!

About the author

Karin Nauber, is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has five grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 11 years ago and has faced many challenges with the disease. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: karin@diabeteshealthnuts.com.

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42 thoughts on “Can I lose weight if I have Type 2 Diabetes?—7 steps to better health

  1. Thanks for this meaningful post. I like that you can talk about your self and your experience. Luckily I’m not the type of getting too big. I gain weight but not as much as others.

    11 years of dieting and taking care of your body, this is quite an achievement. I’m sure it is not easy to be aware of a condition like diabetics every day and keep fighting for ones health.

    You seem to love eating, this is a very nice thing to do, for me as well. But I try to stuff my stomach with salad and raw vegetables once a day.

    Good luck to you and enjoy Thanksgiving with your loved ones 🙂

    1. Thanks for visiting our site, Stefan!

      I appreciate your comments and hope that you will visit again.

      I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, as well!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  2. Great post Karin,

    You were spot on with starting out at a challenging but not over doing it pace. I find this is one of the major “defeats” in every endeavor. I can tell you are passionate about your quest and I have faith you will do great.

    I recommend quality whole foods and supplements. I have heard many good things about shake off also, my niece just started using it so I will be happy to update you on her results.

    Wish you the best success

    Jim (wolf) 

    1. Thanks for visiting my site, Jim. 

      What is shake off? I haven’t heard of it. I’ll have to do a little research and see what I find! Thanks for sharing about it. Please do share your niece’s results, too!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  3. As a diabetic I love reading your articles.  You have such great tips on losing weight as a diabetic.  I think that if a person wants something bad enough they can do that and I proved it by quitting smoking.

    Diabetes doesn’t have to be a death sentence.  You just have to want something bad enough and honestly living should be enough motivation.

    I do have to lose some weight and Im going to build a plan around your article.  Thank you for another great article from a type 2 diabetic.


    1. Hi Dale, thanks for visiting again! I hope that you are getting a lot of good and useful information from my site to help you along your journey.

      I have some exciting new things coming up soon on the site and I am hoping that they will help a lot of people who struggle with diabetes to lessen the struggle!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  4. While I don’t have diabetes, your tips are certainly relevant for anyone trying to lead a healthier lifestyle or lose weight. I have the My Fitness Pal app on my phone, but haven’t looked at it in years. It seems like it would be a great tool to keep track of what I eat. I will need to be more vigilant in using it. Thank you for posting photos of yourself – it really helps to see the real person behind the post. Well done on not giving up!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Fiona.

      Yes, I am hoping that the weight loss tips I will be offering will benefit more than just those of us who struggle with diabetes. Even though I write from the perspective of someone with diabetes, a lot of the health tips are universal! 🙂

      Even though you haven’t used the My Fitness Pal app for a while, you can always jump right back into using it. They have a lot of enhanced features now, so It sure would be worthwhile to take a new look at it! 🙂

      I debated about using the photos, but I want people to realize I am a real person, who really does need to lose weight. I am hoping as I post pictures of me losing weight, it will help inspire confidence in others who need to lose weight.

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  5. Thanks Karin, I have heard a lot about how to use diets in managing diabetes. I’m so happy to read about losing weight. Thaese seven steps are so realistic. What do you think about using a Fitbit to keep track of what I eat, drink and how much I exercise? The before photos are a great source of motivation once you start improving. 

    1. Juliet, thanks for visiting my site! I can’t tell you how much it means to me when people visit! 🙂 I hope they also get something from the site when they visit.

      Using Fitbit can be a great way to keep track of what you eat, drink and how much you exercise. I use an apple watch, as well. Most smart phones have built in apps you can use, as well, to track your exercise or steps.

      I still recommend using the My Fitness Pal app, just because it really does keep track of almost everything. It also stores the information, so I can look back at different months or years and see where I was in my measurements, my weight, etc.

      Have a great day and stop back again!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  6. Karin – WOW – thank you first for sharing yourself and being open and authentic about your journey. I am big on health and nutrition and was pleased to read about your journey and the steps you are taking to keep yourself healthy despite having diabetes I especially love your first step of the 7. I am a firm believer that motivation and keeping your mindset in order is among the first steps to achieving anything! And yes, so very true – management is not a cure. This was a very informative article and you have provided a lot of value. I know others who have diabetes, so this will be very helpful for them as well. Question for you – did you share any of what you are doing in those classes? All the best with your journey and look forward to hearing your response. 🙂

    1. Thanks for visiting the site, LT! Yes, motivation is key. Without it, we won’t get far in much of anything! I share my personal information because I believe that people need to see that I am a real person who struggles through things just as they do.

      I haven’t shared yet what I personally am doing because I sometimes get intimidated in large groups. But I am working on becoming more vocal because I believe that people need to start hearing the truth about diabetes (type 2) and that they don’t have to be “stuck”—literally—with the options that are currently given to us. I do intend to share my website with the class and with my diabetes management team. I think it will be important for them to see what I am doing, too!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  7. Hi Karin, well when I first came to your site, I was looking for information that would help someone else.   Although I have not been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, if I continue on the path that I am on, it is only a matter of time.    

    I am inspired by your determination to improve your life instead of just settling for “I’ve got diabetes.   I have to deal with it.”   I love the attitude, “Do Not Quit on Yourself.” 

    About the motivation thing, I try to find sources of motivation every single day.    Just like I need to brush my teeth each day, I need to read a few motivational thoughts each day to maintain the proper level.  

    Thank you!  Best wishes on your journey.  I hope you are able to help lots of other people in the process.

    1. Thanks for visiting my site, Sondra. I am glad you found some information that helped you.

      I refuse to take my diabetes sitting down! My motivation comes from the fact that I do believe Type 2 diabetes is reversible and I want to be able to help myself as well as others to find the solution!

      I hope my site gives people the motivation to keep trying at weight loss and better health!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  8. I like your 7 step plan.

    Also like your mention of motivation. May I add motivation is not a reading exercise it is a doing exercise.  I struggle with my weight a bit an not cause I over eat or have a bad attitude.  Well sometimes I do overeat a little, but mainly due to my chronic fatique, I find exercising difficult at times because when I push myself to much I have a longer term negative effect on my energy levels.  You do mention thought not to push yourself to hard if you not dieted for a bit.  Love to hear some suggestions as I do care about my health just my body does not always care what my mind thinks

    1. Thanks for visiting my site, Sam!

      Glad you liked the article. Yeah, our brains have “minds” of their own! I think our bodies do, too! The mind is willing, but the body is weak and vice versa!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  9. Hi Karin – very informative post.  I fortunately do not have Type 2 Diabetes, but this information can be so beneficial to people that do have it.  These are great tips to keep people focused and motivated to eating right and to getting exercise.  To become a healthier person inside and out.

    Thank you for the information,


    1. Thanks for visiting my site, Michele. These tips can apply to anyone who wants to lose weight. Sometimes, people with diabetes are under the false impression that they can’t lose weight. A lot of this has to do with insulin because some refer to it as a “fat magnet”, but you can still lose weight, it’s just harder!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  10. I agree 100% with your approach to motivation. It take a relentless commitment.  You’ll slip up from time to time, but that’s not what matters.  It only matters if you give up.  You almost have to be ruthless about it. Don’t beat yourself up when you backtrack, but don’t give yourself a free pass either. Just pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

    I think you’re going to help a lot of people with this post. Well Done. 

    1. Thank you for visiting my site, Jon. I used to beat myself up about falling off the wagon, but found it was so detrimental to my overall health that I realized I needed to stop doing that. Now, I may throw a one hour pity party, and then I move on.

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  11. Kudos to you for this article!! Seriously, one of the best ones regarding health and loosing weight by relating to your audience because they’re like you! Posting photos of yourself and asking people to go on the journey with you is pure genius!!! Loved this article!

    BTW, I have a Facebook friend who went Keto because of her diabetes and she’s now insulin free and lost weight (though that wasn’t her goal). But of course, it’s not for everyone. I totally couldn’t do it (I have no will power), but she’s been a FB friend for years and I saw her first post explaining why she’s trying keto and the initial couple days of ‘keto flu’ then she’s chronicled that she stopped insulin almost immediately because she didn’t need it, and after six months, her blood sugar stuff is normal Not even prediabetes. She’s proud and happy with it. Maybe a research for another article, even if you can’t or it’s not feasible for you. 

    1. Thank you for visiting my site and for your very kind words and advice.

      I have been researching the Keto diet and I go back and forth on it. My intention is to write an article about it very soon. I think it truly can work for people, but may not always be the healthiest alternative. Again, it depends on who you talk to about these things. Some will say it’s the best way and others will point out all the bad things about it! I hope to present a balanced view to my readers.

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  12. I hope I never let it get this far that I’d need to do this myself. I did some research recently and found that I’m at risk for this stuff. I have an…average bod now, but I’m committing myself more and more to exercise. I also have a high metabolism, so that helps with the eating part. The issue came in my mind because I’ve been doing more sitting around thanks to the jobs I partake in and so when even my doctor warned me about my growing weight at one point, while I felt he overexaggerated, I realized that I should step up my control so it never gets that bad at all. 

    1. Thanks for visiting my site, Caldero. I personally believe that anyone who eats any amount of processed foods is at risk. Unfortunately, our world today has made everything move at the speed of now and that means we are relying on foods that are quick and easy to make and eat. We do have jobs that don’t require us to get up and move like we used to and that just adds to the problem. You are at a perfect place to put a stop to your risk by more walking and less processed foods and more fruits and veggies.

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  13. I’ve been wondering about overweight when someone is diabetic will never lose weight .

    The truth is  people living with type 2 diabetics and has obesity are gonna be exposed to many many ailments, especially heart related diseases. I’ve learnt that type 2 diabetes has no permanent cute but to maintain it.

    But stil, after reading thiis article, there is still no permanent solution but just to maintain it. This  article is quite educating. Tanks to the author of this article

    1. You’re welcome, Kehinde and thanks for visiting my site. Is there a permanent cure? It depends on who you talk to. The medical profession—as a generality—will tell you that there is not. But I and many others believe that there is more than just maintenance. We believe and are proving every day that there is a reversal that is permanent. I want to give my readers the same hope that I believe in!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  14. Using diet to manage diabetes has proven to be one of the most proficient ways in tackling the challenge. Your story is quite inspirational and an encouragement to others facing similar challenges and looking for help. The seven steps listed above is a master key to unlocking a healthier life for everyone who chooses to try.

    1. Thanks for visiting my site, Zuchii. The facts are there, but often it seems like the medical profession is ignoring the simple fact that what we eat is behind a lot of our ailments.

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  15. I am glad there is a hope for a Type 2 Diabetes patient as you listed, I have an uncle whose leg is about to be amputated due to the ailment, I never knew there is an app you can use to keep track of what you eat called My Fitness Pal, I am just hearing it for the first time and I will introduce him to the app likewise make sure he follows your 7 tips for a healthier life. Thank you for this wonderful information.

    1. Thanks for visiting my site. I am glad you found it useful. I am sorry to hear about your uncle’s present situation. I have used My Fitness Pal for seven years and find it a great help in keeping track of my exercise and food. Please check back often. I have some other things your uncle may find useful to him.

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  16. Thank you for this article and being upfront and honest about yourself. I am not diabetic but my husband is. When he was first diagnosed, they put him on all kinds of medication. They put him on Metformin and then another one to counteract symptoms of that, and another one for the second medication and so on… By the time he was done, he was taking at least 5. Before that he had no problem with his weight to speak of. He may have been overweight some, but that Metformin just made him pack on the weight.

    After quite a few years of being like that, he started doing research and discovered the many side effects of Metformin and the others. It was almost as bad as diabetes. The doctor just kept wanting to pour medications in him. Thankfully, he was never put on insulin. He took it upon himself to find ways to start healing his body. He changed his diet, of course, and started walking more and he also found natural supplements that are helping him.

    Needless to say, he weaned himself off of the meds and feels a whole lot better. And he’s lost so much weight! Especially now that he no longer takes meds. His diabetes is under control. He can’t yet say it’s gone, but his numbers are way, way down. He was also under a lot of stress at work during that time, too. Stress does make a difference in diabetes. Plus, it helps to get the rest your body needs.

    I was just wondering if you were taking medication or insulin. I think it’s awesome that you are putting it all out there and challenging others to do the same. Thanks again for the information and encouragement you bring to others.

    1. Thank you for visiting Lynn! I am so happy to hear about your husband’s success. That’s how it feels to me, too, like the doctors just want to keep pouring medication into me! If my A1C fluctuates at all, they try something new! I have asked them if they have ever heard of reversing diabetes instead of just trying to “manage” the condition, and they look at me like I’ve said something crazy! I am currently on 3 medications and keeping the numbers down, but that’s with diet changes, too. I feel confident that I can make the changes to get off and stay off of medication including the insulin and another injectable I am on. Your husband’s success gives me hope. Thank you!
      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  17. Thanks for the interesting article. I think mostly what people battle with is not having the right information which is so ironic in this day and age. I had a look at myfitnesspal and it looks like there is some pretty great info here to get started on a more healthy lifestyle. And that’s really what most people need as well, a bit of guidance as to how to live a healthy life. It’s really not that difficult if you have the right information. 

    1. Thank you for visiting, Justin! 

      I personally think that even though we should know about things in this day and age, the problem is there are so many choices and not all of them are healthy choices. You could search a good diabetes diet and come up with hundreds of thousands of choices and  they could all have different caveats. One might focus on protein, another on veggies. I have tried many different “diabetes” diets and so far, for me anyway, the veggies has worked. It might not work for another… I am working on a book now and hope to have that available soon.

      With 2020 vision,

      Karin 😁

  18. “Diabetes affects every organ system in the body from the smallest of parts, to the largest“
    I completely agree with this statement. I have been dealing with type 1 diabetes for over 18 years now (currently using a pump) and so far, I have been diagnosed with CKD in stage 2, diabetic retinopathy (currently blind from one eye), stomach issues and even my hair has been damaged due to my diabetes. I started working out a little bit over 5 years ago to lose weight – even though I wasn’t overweight – but dealing with an eating disorder can trigger a lot of things and behaviors in your body and in your life. Luckily, today my diabetes is under control (even though I have to deal with all the complications) and my weight is manageable, I have been told to gain a little more weight but I’m scared of falling into the eating disorder cycle again so I’m trying my best to eat healthy and stay clean. 

    1. Thank you for sharing your struggle, Stephanie. It can be so hard when this disease starts taking parts of us. I know that there are many things that those with type one can do to improve their health and it sounds like you have found something that is working and is able to keep your diabetes under control.

      I’ve never had an eating disorder, but have known friends who have. I am happy that you are managing that part of your health, as well. 

      Hoping and praying for a cure,
      Karin 🙂

  19. Hi Karin!

    Thanks for such an amazing article! In the present, diabetes is a very serious thing specially in countries like the USA, it is always a good thing that there are people like you who can give their points of view of this especific topic! I have to say I loved your 7 tips and although I don’t suffer from diabetes, I will certainly follow them to be healthier!

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Thank you for checking out another post on our site, Juan. I am glad to see that you found the seven tips helpful. They really are good overall health tips.

      With 2020 Vision,
      Karin 😎

  20. WOW! this is really an educative and well detailed post, i think most people needs to see this because they keep asking the same question, even one of my friend asked me this same question few days ago, i will share it to him and some to some of my diabetic friend wanting to lose some weight, Diabetes isn’t death you just have to adjust the way you eat and every other thing around you…Thanks for the post Karin.

    1. Thank you for visiting our site and for your very nice comments. Losing weight with type 2 is harder, but it is still possible as the post shows. I have lost over 20 pounds and I keep losing as I slowly switch to a more vegetable based diet. It takes work, but it can be done and better health can be achieved.

      With 2020 Vision,
      Karin 😎

  21. Thank you so much for sharing with us a beautiful and informative article. The main content of this article is 7 steps to better health. It is truly remarkable that you have presented this topic so well in your article. I have learned a lot by reading your article and gained a lot of knowledge about better health. Of the points mentioned in your article, I like to Keep track of what you eat. I also have type 2 diabetes so I am quite conscious about food. I keep a record of what I eat and when I lose weight all the time and avoid overeating as much as possible. And this is how I became aware of my health through which I was able to control my diabetes. Every one of the tips mentioned in your article is important for those who are health conscious.
    Finally, I enjoyed reading your article and enjoyed it so I’d like to share your article in my Facebook group if you give me permission.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting our site.

      Keeping a record of what you eat is a very important part of tracking your personal health. It can tell you better what foods cause you problems and which do not.

      You are certainly welcome to share the article. Thank you.

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

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