Maintaining a healthy weight is one way you can stay healthy while living with type 2 diabetes. There are many factors associated with weight management such as: nutrition, physical activity, stress levels, mental health, low income levels, medical conditions, and medication. Weight management can help prevent or manage diabetes, improve your blood glucose levels/blood pressure/blood lipids, reduce the risk of complications such as heart disease and help improve your overall well-being and energy levels.
What is a healthy weight?
The following may be used to determine if you are a healthy weight:
Body Mass Index (BMI): determines if you are a healthy weight for your height. On average, adults aged 18-64 may be considered overweight with a BMI equal to or greater than 25 kg/m2.
Waist circumference (WC): uses the measurement of your waist to determine if there may be excessive fat which may be linked to health risks. A waist circumference goal will vary based on gender and ethnic background. However, generally, a healthy WC for men is less than 40 inches and for women it is less than 35 inches.
** A reduction of 5-10% of current body weight in an overweight individual (~2-4 lbs/month) is a healthy weight loss goal. This does not include pregnant or lactating women, very muscular adults or adults with a very lean build.
Goals for a healthy weight
1. Eat mindfully, when you are hungry or during your planned meal time. Avoid excessive and mindless eating. If you have difficulty understanding hunger cues or proper meal timing for your body and lifestyle, speak to a registered dietitian who can help prepare the right plan for you.
2. Eat regular and balanced meals. Avoid skipping meals. Regular and balanced meals can help reduce overeating, help you curb your cravings and maintain a healthy weight.
3. Portion control your meals. Too much or too little food will not allow you to manage your weight in a healthy way. You can speak to a registered dietitian to help you determine the right amount of food for you.
4. Eat high fibre foods. Foods that are high in fibre may help you feel full for a longer period of time, thus preventing overeating. Examples of high fibre foods include: whole grains, vegetables, fruit and legumes.
5. Choose healthy beverages. High calorie beverages make managing/losing weight more difficult. Try to avoid drinking your calories and eat them instead! Quench your thirst with water.
6. Choose healthy snacks. You may or may not require additional snacks throughout the day. If you do, choose small and healthy snacks that can help control your hunger while providing you with important nutrients. Examples of healthy snacks may include vegetables with hummus or fruit with nuts. Avoid fried, salty and sugar snacks. Choose more whole foods!
7. Incorporate physical activity in your daily routine. If you have any limitations, check with your doctor and/or exercise specialist to determine the right exercises for you.
** The above recommendations are general and not customized specifically for you. To help you better understand the nutrition/exercise interventions that will help you manage/lose weight while staying within your healthy blood glucose range, it is important to speak to the professionals part of your health-care team that are trained to help you create the program that is right for you.