Weight Management


Losing Excess Weight Can Improve Blood Sugar Control

People who carry excess body weight have extra fatty tissue. This fatty tissue produces substances that are thought to interfere with the body's ability to control blood sugar levels. This can contribute to insulin resistance, the condition in which the body must produce higher-than-normal levels of insulin to move sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells.

With insulin resistance, the following processes can occur:

  • Disruption in the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells
  • Stimulation of insulin secretion so too much insulin is produced
  • Increased production of glucose by the liver, which can lead to increased blood sugar levels

For someone with diabetes, the benefits of just a 5% weight loss can include:

  • Improved blood sugar control
  • Improved use of insulin
  • Reduced need for diabetes medications
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and other long-term health conditions
  • Less stress on hips, knees, ankles, and feet
  • Greater ease of movement and easier breathing
  • Improved appearance, energy level, and self-esteem

How to Make Weight Control a Lifestyle

Losing weight is really about changing your lifestyle rather than about dieting. With a diet, most people lose weight only to gain it back when they resume their previous lifestyle. However, if you change your lifestyle, you can maintain a healthy weight long term.

Adopt the "today is tomorrow" belief. That's right — today is the "tomorrow" you've been talking about. Just do it!

Love yourself today. Don't wait until the scale records that perfect number or until you fit into a certain size of clothes. Start liking yourself now and you will stay motivated to reach your healthy weight goal.

Enjoy every bite. Become a student of healthy cooking; try the recipes you find here in your meal plan, and invest in a good cookbook. Also, take the time to use fresh herbs, marinate fish and chicken, and discover a delicious salad dressing. Love every bite you eat and you will stay motivated to eat much less.

Work exercise into your life. Every little bit counts, and exercise isn't only found in a gym. Choose a parking spot that's further away or take the stairs.

Set a Weight Loss Goal Within Your Reach

Losing weight slowly — 1/2 to 2 pounds per week — is the healthiest and best way to lose pounds and keep them off. Start with a goal of losing 5% of your current weight.

Form a Balanced Plan

While the total number of calories in your daily diet is important, losing weight really is about changing your lifestyle rather than dieting. Here's one change you can try right away: adjust your daily meal plan to include six smaller meals and snacks, so you’re consuming fewer total calories throughout the day. You'll be reducing calories in a way that helps minimize food cravings.

Similarly, instead of reducing your caloric intake drastically, cut out a moderate amount of calories and couple that change with 30 minutes of daily physical activity. If you cut calories drastically, you might be eager for your diet to be over. However, when you combine both diet and exercise changes, you'll have an approach you can stick with for the long term.

Any time you change your meal plan, expect to monitor your blood sugar more frequently. Decreasing calorie intake and increasing physical activity both lower your blood sugar. As you lose weight and your body becomes more fit, it also becomes more sensitive to insulin. Only monitoring can help you measure your blood sugar levels before and after exercise. Always follow your health care provider's advice for when you should check your blood sugar.

Track Your Progress

The simplest way to estimate body fatness is to determine your Body Mass Index, or BMI. This measure makes it easy to estimate an individual’s body fat using their height and weight. BMI along with waist circumference and other risk factors (high blood pressure, physical inactivity, etc.) are important components in assessing health risk for developing diseases related to excess weight and obesity1.

A person’s BMI is calculated by dividing the individual’s weight by the square of his or her height. Health care professionals measure weight in kilograms and height in meters. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a healthy BMI for adults is between 18.5 and 23.0.

BMI ranges can indicate the likelihood of getting certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis. People with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 have a higher risk of these diseases. For people with a BMI of 30 or higher, the risk is even greater.

>>Don’t feel like doing the math? Use our interactive BMI calculator

 1About BMI for Adults. Center for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/. Assessed August 2013.

Keep This in Mind:

Three steps for success:

  • Set a goal
  • Form a balanced plan that includes calorie control with exercise
  • Track weight, blood glucose, and food intake.

Remember: Always check with your health care provider before starting or making changes to your exercise routine.