Effective weight management involves a balance of healthy nutrition and moderate exercise. While all adults should strive to maintain their optimum weight, doing so is particularly important for those suffering from diabetes. The disease can often be controlled through a carefully monitored dietary regimen, but the need for daily insulin and other medical interventions increases dramatically when a patient is overweight. When the disease progresses from insulin resistance to an insulin deficiency, it becomes almost impossible to control blood glucose levels with diet alone.
Assessing Optimum Weight
Most medical practitioners will assess a patient’s ideal weight by measuring their body mass index (BMI). This calculation uses a person’s weight and height to determine whether they fall into the optimum range for their age and gender. Most adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should have a BMI under 25. Waist measurements are also taken as excess fat around the beltline has been linked to elevated health risks. Most men should aim to keep their measurement under 40 inches, while women should ideally measure less than 35 inches around the waist.The ideal body weight for diabetics is no different. In fact, with the link between obesity and diabetes being so firmly established, there is no merit to the assumption that diabetics should somehow be “allowed” to carry extra weight. As with any other adult who isn’t pregnant or profoundly muscular, weight goals for diabetics remain the same as for everyone else.
Diabetes and Weight Loss
While the importance of staying trim is not lost on those with type 2 diabetes, achieving weight loss goals can be more difficult. Studies have shown that while commendable weight loss can be achieved in the first six months of dieting, most subjects then seemed to plateau. Continuing to diet simply maintained their reduced weight but didn’t lead to a further reduction. Those who abandoned their diets quickly regained the weight they had lost. Most diabetics can expect to lose between 5 and 10% of their starting weight when they embark on a controlled diet. That means setting reasonable expectations so that frustration and disappointment don’t set in after the first six months of diligent effort. Successful weight management after the weight-loss has plateaued is just as important as losing the excess pounds.
Ultimately, an ideal BMI may simply be out of reach for a diabetic who is overweight or obese and carrying more than 10% additional body weight when they begin their diet. Of far greater importance, however, is the need to embrace significant and ongoing lifestyle changes. These include regular physical activity, good nutritional habits and effective stress management. Fitness has as great an influence on mortality rates among people with type 2 diabetes as an increased BMI. As such, reducing anxiety and taking regular exercise should be given the same priority for diabetics as losing weight. The greatest cure for the alarming increase in the rate of diabetes is prevention. An estimated 312 million people in the world are obese, and the incidence of diabetes in developing countries is unprecedented. Studies among pre-diabetes patients have shown that immediate and intensive lifestyle changes reduced their risk of progression by over 58%. Early Intervention and education about the nexus between weight and type 2 diabetes, therefore, is imperative if we are to control what is fast becoming a global epidemic.
*The author of this blog is not a medical professional and this article does not contain professional medical advice. This blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the contents of this article. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.