14 November 2018

Diabetes can make weight loss harder – here's what you can do

Losing weight can be difficult for people with diabetes because of the medications they take.

Diabetes medications are a major roadblock to weight loss, according to a paper from the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

"Diabetes medications are vital in helping manage blood sugar, so you shouldn't stop taking them. Instead, ask (your doctor) about alternative medications and treatment strategies," co-author Patricia Davidson said in an association news release. She's an assistant professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

There are other things that could be holding you back, too. "Everyone needs an individualised strategy for managing diabetes and losing weight. A diabetes educator can help," said co-author Katherine O'Neal of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy.

The paper outlines ways for people to manage their diabetes and lose weight. The tips might also help others avoid or delay getting type 2 diabetes, especially those with prediabetes.

Move more

Get at least 150 minutes a week (about 22 minutes a day) of physical activity. The more the better, so try to work toward 300 minutes of activity a week (about 43 minutes a day).

This might be easier to achieve if you do things you enjoy, such as dancing at home or at a club, walking the dog, or going for a stroll after dinner. Work activity into your daily routines, such as walking around the grocery store before loading up your trolley, parking in the farthest spot when running errands, or sprinting up and down the stairs when doing laundry.

Watch what you eat

High-fibre foods can lower your blood sugar, help you lose weight and decrease the amount of medication you need. Try to get 25 to 30g of fibre a day.

At least 10g of your daily fibre intake should come from fruits and vegetables. Aim for five servings a day: Ideally, one or two fruits and three or four veggies. Whole grains are another important source of fibre.

A food and/or activity tracking mobile app can help keep you motivated. It's also a good idea to seek online and in-person support groups of people in the same situation.

Weight-loss surgery may be an option, but is typically limited to people who are very obese. It also carries significant risks.

Image credit: iStock 


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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