People with diabetes must be much more attuned to their bodies than someone who doesn’t have diabetes—case in point: weight loss. While anyone should be concerned about unintentional weight loss, people with diabetes should be especially wary of unexpected weight loss.
Today we’ll be discussing why some people with diabetes may experience unintentional weight loss and what actions they should take to get their weight back to normal levels.
Weight Loss and Diabetes: Is it Dangerous?
Weight loss is often assumed to be healthy. Slow, gradual weight loss that is intentional is a great way to improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
However, weight loss can also reduce insulin resistance and make muscles and fat tissues more sensitive to circulating insulin levels in the blood.
This reduction in insulin resistance can be an issue. Insulin is needed to help glucose enter these tissues to be metabolized. So, when these tissues are more resistant to insulin, high insulin levels will be needed to spur the metabolization process.
This can be problematic, as a cycle can occur. The higher a person’s insulin levels are, the more difficult it is to lose weight. This is because insulin stores fat, as it is an anabolic. However, the heavier a person is, the more likely they are to have higher insulin levels.
It’s always best to speak with your doctor about losing weight, and together come up with a weight loss plan to ensure you are safely taking action.
What Causes Weight Loss in People With Diabetes?
As we mentioned, intentional weight loss following a plan outlined by a dietician or doctor is good for people with diabetes. The issue with weight loss and diabetes is when it’s unintentional.
When a person with diabetes has very high blood sugar, they may urinate a lot. This can result in dehydration which can then lead to weight loss. Also, muscle breakdown can occur if sugars are too high. This can also lead to unintentional, unhealthy weight loss.
It’s actually not uncommon for patients who unknowingly have diabetes to first go to their doctor because of unexplained weight loss.
So, to summarize, there are certain cases in which weight loss with diabetes can be dangerous (such as if your blood sugar is too high or too low). If you are experiencing unexpected weight loss, whether you have diabetes or not, make sure to visit your doctor.
Tips For Maintaining a Healthy Weight With Diabetes
Your doctor will provide you with a plan for maintaining a healthy weight with diabetes. In addition, here are some specific tips courtesy of the CDC for keeping a healthy weight:
Finding a healthy, balanced diet that works for you is key to living a healthy life with diabetes. For some people, this means cutting back on sugar and eating more protein which helps them stay full for a longer period of time. Other people may try adding a lot of fruits and vegetables and cutting out unhealthy foods from their diet. Or, your diet may consist of a mix of the two.
Not to sound like a broken record, but make sure to consult with your doctor about what the best diet is for your body.
In addition, here are some extra resources to read more about some of the best foods for people with diabetes:
- Diabetes Snacks – Best Homemade Recipes + Packaged Snacks
- Grocery List For People With Diabetes + 5 Recommended Dishes
- List of Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
- Low-Carb Diet and Diabetes (Tips For Finding a Balanced Diet That Works For You)
Exercise is also a key part of maintaining a healthy weight. Overall, physical activity can help you feel better, function better, and sleep better, in addition to helping you lose weight (if you need to). Of course, you can’t outrun a bad diet, so keep in mind that physical activity should be done in tandem with eating healthy.
According to the CDC, here are the basic guidelines to physical activity:
- Every week: do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, such as jogging, or an equivalent combination of the two.
- Two or more days a week: do strength-training activities, such as lifting weights or using a resistance band that involve all major muscle groups.
Keep in mind, being active makes your body more sensitive to insulin. Your body won’t need to make as much insulin, or you won’t need to take as much. Lower insulin levels can help prevent fat storage and weight gain.
Get Enough Sleep
Never underestimate how a consistent, good night’s sleep can help you maintain a healthy weight. Too little sleep can make dieting much more difficult, as it will increase your appetite. Too little sleep also triggers stress hormones, which tell your body to hang onto fat.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try to get into a good nighttime routine. For example, avoid screens an hour before you go to bed, avoid heavy meals and alcohol before bedtime, and keep your bedroom dark and cool.
More Tips to Help Build a Consistent, Healthy Lifestyle
Because willpower is often not enough when it comes to creating healthy habits, follow these tips to make dieting, sleeping, and exercising easier:
- Don’t bring home food you don’t want to eat.
- Avoid buffet-style restaurants.
- Don’t let yourself get too hungry.
- Cook your own food so you can control the calories.
- Lay out your workout clothes before you go to sleep.
- Keep the dog’s leash and your walking shoes by the door.
These tips can help build healthy habits that not only help with your diabetes symptoms but your wellness overall. If you can get your partner or the rest of the family in on it, you can all join in on improving your wellness together! For more information and tips on managing diabetes and weight loss, reach out to us, today!