How to Lose Weight When You Have Diabetes

Posted April 25, 2022 by in Health + Fitness
Woman in Sportswear Doing Yoga

Losing weight is one of the most effective ways to manage diabetes. Shedding those extra pounds can help you improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, reduce the need for medications, and promote cardiovascular health. 

If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight can also help you go into remission. 

Despite these benefits, many individuals struggle to adhere to a diet. Issues such as lack of satiety, emotional eating, and demotivation can get in the way of a successful weight loss plan. 

Luckily, it is possible to overcome these challenges. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps you need to take in order to lose weight consistently and with ease. 

We’ll cover the best diet plans for people with diabetes, tips on how to incorporate exercise into your routine, and techniques to improve your commitment to your weight loss plan. 

Let’s dive in. 

Woman in Sportswear Doing Yoga and Stretching in Park

Choosing a Diet Plan

The first step of a weight loss journey is choosing and committing to a diet plan. 

For diabetics, a variety of diets have been proven effective. Three of these diets are the DASH diet, Mediterranean, and Low Carb diet. 

Let’s discuss each of them in detail.


The DASH  (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was created in the 1990s with the purpose of improving heart health. 

Since then, it has been studied extensively, and the evidence shows that the DASH diet is effective for weight loss and reduces insulin resistance, blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins. 

This diet emphasizes the consumption of grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins such as poultry and fish. It also includes low-fat or fat-free dairy products, fats, and oils. 

Nuts, seeds, and legumes are also allowed but in moderation. Foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats should be avoided, and red meat can be consumed occasionally.

You should also aim to limit your sodium consumption to a maximum of 2,300mg per day.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is based on the eating patterns commonly seen in Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries. 

Studies suggest that this diet is effective for weight loss, controlling blood sugar, improving cardiovascular health, and decreasing insulin resistance. 

This diet promotes the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and seafood. 

It also emphasizes olive oil as the main source of fat. Dairy and poultry are allowed but in moderation.

Red meats, processed foods, refined grains, and sweets should be avoided but can be consumed occasionally. 

Low-Carb Diet 

The Low-Carb diet has been proven effective in reducing body weight and appetite, making it an attractive option for individuals who struggle with dieting due to appetite control problems. 

Evidence also suggests that it is especially effective for people with diabetes since it improves blood sugar management, reduces the risk of complications, and decreases the need for medications. 

A low-carb eating plan includes consuming proteins such as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs. It also includes fats such as avocado, olive oil, and butter. 

Non-starchy vegetables are also recommended since they are low in carbohydrates but high in healthy compounds. 

High-carb foods such as grains, bread, starchy vegetables, and sweets should be avoided.

Importance of Medical Supervision

If you have diabetes, it is crucial to consult a medical professional before making any changes to your eating patterns. That’s because certain diet plans may put you at risk of hypoglycemia if your medication is not adjusted. 

Building an Exercise Routine

According to studies, exercise and diet are more effective than diet alone for weight loss. 

Moreover, exercise provides health-related benefits to individuals with diabetes. Evidence shows that it improves insulin sensitivity, helps improve cholesterol, and improves HbA1c

Weight loss exercises fall into one of two categories – cardio or weight training. 

In general, it is advisable to combine different kinds of exercises in order to reap the unique benefits that each one can provide. Cardio exercises tend to burn more calories and provide more benefits for heart health, while strength training can elevate your metabolism and helps you build strength and muscle mass.  

It is also important to consider your personal preferences and ability to commit. Ultimately, the best kind of exercise is the one you can incorporate into your lifestyle. 

Since exercise can alter your blood sugar levels, it is important to consult your doctor before changing your physical activity. 

Helpful Weight Loss Tricks 

Dieting can be challenging. Issues such as hunger and demotivation can get in the way of a successful weight loss plan.

Gladly, there are tricks you can make use of in order to make weight loss easier. 

Hold Yourself Accountable 

Studies show that keeping track of food intake, physical activity, and weight is a helpful way to enhance weight loss. You can do this using a journal or an app like MyFitnessPal. 

When it comes to food tracking, a helpful tip is to write down or log what you eat before consuming it. This allows you to be more aware of your food choices and gives you the opportunity to think twice before eating. 

Be Mindful

Mindfulness can enhance self-regulation and appetite control, both of which are helpful for weight loss goals.

In order to eat mindfully, it is important to avoid distractions such as television because they can lead to overeating. 

Instead, try to have a dedicated time for your meals, during which you pay attention to and enjoy the food you’re eating. 

Eating mindfully will also allow you to develop the habit of eating slowly. This helps increase satiety because you will give your brain time to recognize fullness signals. 

Finally, it is helpful to be aware of why you’re eating. Sometimes the desire to eat arises from stress and difficult emotions rather than hunger. If you have tendencies toward emotional eating, being mindful of your feelings will help you recognize and manage difficult emotions in healthier ways. 

Fill Up on Fiber 

Consuming fiber is a powerful way to improve weight loss results. That’s because fiber slows down the absorption of food, making you full for longer. It also improves healthy gut microbiomes that are associated with weight management. 

Research also shows that fiber can promote steady blood sugar levels for those with type 2 diabetes. 

The recommended daily fiber intake is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men. These numbers are easily achievable by incorporating high-fiber foods such as whole grains, beans, and dark-colored vegetables. Another option is to take a fiber supplement. 

Since fiber requires water to be digested properly, you should also aim for at least 2 liters of water per day in order to maximize its positive effects. 

Woman in White Shirt Holding a Glucometer

As we’ve discussed, a successful weight loss plan entails a commitment to a diet plan and exercise routine and changes in your daily habits and mindset. 

It’s important to note that you should aim for long-term lifestyle changes in order to sustain your weight loss. Weight maintenance is a life-long commitment – one that is well worth it, given the benefits associated with it.