Effective Weight Loss: The Diabetic Diet Plan
A healthy diabetic diet plan is an essential blueprint for overweight diabetics who can’t seem to lose weight no matter the dieting and physical exercise they try. However, it’s actually normal to add some pounds over the winter because you may not have been as on the go as you usually are, and maybe you opted for comfort foods rather than lower-calorie foods such as salads. But the time for shedding the winter weight is here; it is not always easy and at times, one find that despite cutting on calories intake, snacks, and engaging in vigorous exercise, the weight is stubbornly sticking on.
This post will point out some of the reasons it might be harder for a diabetic person to lose weight or why you are gaining weight despite your efforts to lose weight.
Many people gain weight because of an imbalance between physical activity and food intake; calories intake exceeding the calories burnt. However, if you have been struggling to shed off the extra pounds, you might consider the following possible causes:
Most people blame their weight gain on hormones; an imbalance of hormones in their bodies. However, thyroid disorders are common in people with diabetes. It is more common among people suffering from Type 1 diabetes. A thyroid is a gland located in the neck secretes hormones that are responsible for regulating the body metabolic activities. For it to secrete these hormones, it must be stimulated by another hormone known as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is secreted in the body by the pituitary gland. To see the functioning of the thyroid, doctors measure the level of TSH in the blood. A TSH level that’s too low might point to an overactive thyroid while a level that's too high might reflect an underactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism is the condition where your body has too little thyroid hormone, which not only makes you feel tired and sluggish but can make you gain weight (or at least make your weight loss an uphill task). If you take thyroid medication, take as recommended and work with your health-care personnel so that your dosage can be regulated, if needed. Once this condition is treated by compensating the deficiency of thyroid hormone, weight loss becomes possible with lifestyle changes.
2. Not Getting Enough or Too Much Sleep
Getting less sleep can make your weight loss difficult and contribute to weight gain. A recent study indicated that at least one-third of the people in the United States do not get enough sleep and close to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorder illnesses. Lack of enough sleep can cause more harm than just making you feel tired. It has been linked to several health problems including anxiety, depression, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. It also makes it harder for one to manage diabetes. Therefore, think twice before opting to burn the midnight oil.
There are two explanations as to why a lack of enough sleep may lead to weight gain; firstly, failure to get enough sleep affects the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulates satiety and appetite. When disrupted, these hormones make one feel like eating more and not feel as full when you do eat. Secondly, research has indicated that people who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to be obese or overweight. This is one of the things that I work so hard with each client with. In my experience, even as little as a 20 lb weight loss has helped with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea refers to the condition where one experience pauses in their breathing rate while they are asleep. The more severe the sleep apnea is the higher the risk of becoming overweight. Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring during daytime and night sleep. Because of apnea being so common with people who have Type 2 diabetes, most medical personnel are starting to screen people with Type 2 diabetes for it. 96% of the time, this is reversible with healthy weight loss.
Sleep apnea refers to the condition where one experience pauses in their breathing rate while they are asleep. The more severe the sleep apnea is the higher the risk of becoming overweight. Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring during daytime and night sleep. Because of apnea being so common with people who have Type 2 diabetes, most medical personnel are starting to screen people with Type 2 diabetes for it. 96% of the time, this is reversible with healthy weight loss.
On the other hand, people who sleep for over 8 hours a day are more likely to add weight. Therefore, if you are diabetic, avoid drinking too much alcohol as it can cause you to wake more frequently during the night. Contrary to the beliefs of many that alcohol makes one fall asleep easily, alcohol is a stimulant and can react differently in different individuals.
As a diabetic person, there are several ways you can increase the quality and quantity of your sleep:
- To adopt a regular pattern of sleep and waking up. Set a pattern of going to bed at a specific time and waking up at the same time every day.
- Make the bedroom environment quiet and dark
- Reduce caffeine intake before the bedtime hours. Preferably take caffeine only in the morning hours.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Practice a relaxation technique just before bedtime to induce your mind into sleeping mode. This can be a formal technique such as meditation, or you can listen to soft music, read a novel before bed.
- Get medication for sleep apnea if you have it.
- Get regular exercises to improve sleep quality. However, avoid working out too close to sleep time as that has an arousing effect.
I have found with my clients that simple activities such as yoga or Pilates help tremendously.
If you try all the above techniques and still find it hard to sleep, call me so that I can work with you and your physician to optimize a healthy diabetic diet plan customized for you. Diabetic individuals should have enough rest time so as to be able to lose weight normally.
3. Diabetic Medicines
There are several diabetes medications associated with weight gain.
Taking the recommended dosage of injected insulin will not cause weight gain. However, if you take more than the correct dose or overeat sugary foods to cover up for insulin deficiency, it can contribute to weight loss.
Insulin serves two major functions in the body; allowing the glucose in the blood to enter the body cells, and helping the body store the excess glucose a fat. If your body has an insulin deficiency, the body fails to absorb glucose in the mainstream and instead leaves the body via urine. This makes the body begin to burn fat for energy. This contributes to weight loss. Once the insulin therapy has been administered, the body starts burning glucose as its primary source of energy and stores any extra glucose as fat; therefore, any lost weight is normally regained.
To avoid weight gain with insulin therapy, one should prevent hypoglycemia by learning how to match insulin doses to the body needs, getting regular exercises, and eating fewer calories which can be achieved by following a healthy diabetic diet plan.
Oral diabetes drugs meant to stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin can lead to weight gain, in the same manner, injected insulin can. Among the drugs with this effects are those in the sulfonylurea class such as glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (Glynase, DiaBeta, and Micronase) and glimepiride (Amaryl).
Other oral diabetes drugs that can cause weight gain are rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos). These medicines reduce insulin resistance; this means that insulin will now be more efficient at moving glucose into body cells where it’s stored as energy. The weight gained brought by administration of rosiglitazone and pioglitazone is usually caused by both increased fat storage and fluid retention.
An oral diabetes drug that does not cause weight gain and might even contribute to weight loss is metformin. It prevents the liver from releasing more glucose into the bloodstream when it isn’t needed by reducing the insulin resistance.
Injectable medicines approved to control Type 2 diabetes also do not cause weight gain. These drugs regulate the pancreas to produce the needed amount of insulin when the body needs it, and also stops the liver from releasing more glucose into the bloodstream when it isn’t needed. They also reduce appetite and slow stomach emptying, consequently leading to weight loss.
Another medicine associated with weight gain is pramlintide (Symlin). It is an injectable drug that is taken together with insulin before meals. It is approved for either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics who must take insulin before meals. It slows stomach emptying, stops the liver from releasing more glucose into the bloodstream when it’s not needed, and may also decrease appetite.
However, different diabetes drugs have a different effect on everyone. However, if you are suspecting that a certain medicine you are using is hindering your weight-loss, talk with your health-care personnel. There may be alternative drugs that will suit your body and not cause weight-related side effects. However, do not stop insulin administration on your own.
"Susan helped me lose 120 pounds!
After being a type 2 diabetic for twelve years, my doctor deemed me a 'recovered diabetic.'
My A1C was in the five range and I was taken off all diabetic and blood pressure meds!" Jamie B.
This might sound like a cliché, but there is a very close connection between stress and weight. Everyone has different levels of stress, and we all have different responses to stress. Acute stress, maybe from missing deadline at work, often affects your appetite. However, prolonged stress maybe from work, family, or brought by a chronic disease such as diabetes often leads to an increase in appetite, thanks to the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is produced when you start experiencing day-to-day, chronic stress and it not only increases your appetite but also signals your body to store excess glucose as fat. Plus you might not have the mood of working out because of stress. Stress may not disappear but you can control it through relaxation, meditation, exercises, or counseling.
5. Frequent Hypoglycemia
Frequent occurrences of hypoglycemia contribute to weight gain because of the high number of calories needed to treat the condition. Hypoglycemia occurs when there is low blood glucose. The general recommendation for the treatment of hypoglycemia is to have a daily intake of 15 grams of carbohydrate, then wait for 15 minutes to check the blood glucose level with a meter to check whether it has risen. Sometimes, one might need another 15 grams of carbohydrate if the blood glucose level was very low.
The general recommendation for the treatment of hypoglycemia is to have a daily intake of 15 grams of carbohydrate, then wait for 15 minutes to check the blood glucose level with a meter to check whether it has risen. Sometimes, one might need another 15 grams of carbohydrate if the blood glucose level was very low.
Ideally, drinks and food meant to treat hypoglycemia should contain zero fat. This is because fat slows down the rate of stomach emptying which consequently reduces the entry of glucose into the blood.
15 grams of carbohydrates has a total of 60 calories, and therefore if your body requires 120 calories, you’ll need to take 30 grams. Consuming more than the required calories can gradually add up calories in the body.
As a diabetic, to prevent weight gain, it’s important to prevent hypoglycemia or low blood glucose from occurring. You have to refrain from unnecessary eating or drinking carbohydrate products. To know the food needed for the treatment of hypoglycemia, you can seek advice from a nutritionist so that he/she can recommend a healthy diabetic diet plan and foods that only or primarily has carbohydrate.
Some known causes of hypoglycemia include taking high doses of oral diabetes medicine, taking too much insulin, increasing the number of daily exercises without decreasing your diabetic medicine intake, skipping or delaying meals, increasing the calories intake or taking a second insulin dosage before the previous one has been exhausted.
If you experience frequent hypoglycemia, work with your doctor to adjust the diabetes treatment regimen recommended for you. The potential consequences of frequent occurrences of hypoglycemia include not only weight gain but also accidents and falls. Work with your health-care provider and nutritionist to find the cause for the frequent hypoglycemia and the ideal way to fix it.
6. Lack Of Enough Physical Activity
The American Heart Association and CDC recommend that individuals suffering from Type 2 diabetes should have a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week or at ease one and half hours of vigorous exercises a week. One can also have resistance-training exercises for three sessions a week.
Keep in mind that if you don’t achieve these figures, you’ll need to build to it progressively. However, before increasing the intensity of your physical activity, consult your doctor first. Certain physical activities may not be recommended for people with diabetes complications such as kidney diseases. Also, because the physical activities normally reduce the glucose level in the bloodstream, you might need to consult with your doctor to prevent hypoglycemia while exercising.
You can boost your blood glucose level by taking a snack during exercises or cutting back on insulin before exercising. Make sure to check your blood glucose level before, during, and after exercising to help you determine your work rate.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The above reasons why losing weight for some diabetics is an uphill task might not apply to all and that's why it's important to consult your diabetes team- nutritionist and health-care provider about the possible causes that are most likely affecting you. After knowing the cause of your failure to lose weight, focus on the actions you can take to ensure progressive weight loss. Consult with your doctor on the recommended physical activities for diabetic people, and CALL ME to get a healthy diabetic diet plan that you can follow.