How to Lose Weight Safely as a Diabetic

How to Lose Weight Safely as a Diabetic

People who suffer from diabetes and are overweight increase their risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and other problems. They also have a need for a much higher dose of insulin and may have trouble adjusting to a healthy diet or an exercise program because their blood sugar is so uneven that they often feel too tired or too weak. If you want to lose weight but have diabetes, there are some basic rules you need to follow.

Get your doctor's approval before starting a weight loss program. This is especially important if you are also exercising, as this will affect your glucose levels.

Don't fast, ever. Instead, plan your meals so you eat often but in small quantities. Fasting is extremely dangerous for a diabetic, especially if done frequently. Skipping meals is also bad for your waistline: when you avoid food for more than 3 hours, your blood sugar drops and your body actually holds on to fat as a defense mechanism.

Replace high-fat foods with their lower-fat alternatives. For example, switching to skim milk, skinless poultry or low-fat margarine can not only help you safely lose weight, but it will also protect your heart and reduce your chances of suffering other health problems.

Visit the website of the American Diabetes Association to learn more about safely dieting and exercising as a diabetic (see Resources below). The website will help you plan a diet, give you tips on what foods to avoid while trying to lose weight and teach you how to exercise safely.

Use artificial sweeteners or do without. If you have a sweet tooth, you can try some of the sugar-free desserts available for diabetic people at supermarkets and health food stores, but don't overdo it. While these foods will not raise your blood sugar too much (they do have a slight effect), they tend to be high in fat and lacking in fiber, so you may still have trouble losing weight if you consume too much of them.

Exercise. You will need to ask your doctor what activities are the best for your particular situation (which will take into consideration your age, overall health, how much insulin you take and other factors), but simple workouts that center on walking, biking or weight training can help with your weight loss goals while also stabilizing your blood sugar.