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
- Liver disease
- Amputations (not an ailment, but it certainly can be a “fact” of a diabetic’s life)
- 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:
- 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:
- Right bicep
- Left bicep
- Right wrist
- Left wrist
- Waist (at belly button)
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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