If you are diabetic, or have been told that you are pre-diabetic then you need to make some changes to your lifestyle to lose weight and keep it off. The most powerful tools a diabetic has to keeping their health is to manage their weight and eating healthy. The first few months are awkward as you will have to pay more attention to what you eat than usual, but once you get into the swing of things, it is easy to do. Here are 5 weight loss tips for diabetics that can work, and will help everyone else too.
Tip #1 – Know the Glycemic Index of your food
If they gave every person a class called “Diabetes 101” the first lesson in it would be what the glycemic index of food really is. Just about everyone who has heard of diabetes knows that they should avoid foods with added sugars, but a lot of foods transform into sugars when the body metabolizes them. The glycemic index lets you know which foods you wouldn’t think would cause a problem you should avoid. While you want to eat carbohydrates and starches, some foods (like potatoes) will have more than others that will create too much glucose in your body, while some starches (like apples) will have much less. One thing you should know about the glycemic index is that the lists rarely include foods with a zero rating. This is why you won’t find the protein foods like chicken and tofu listed. This doesn’t mean you should avoid them, just that they are not on the list.
Tip #2 – Don’t skip breakfast
Don’t listen to whatever diet guru of the day is saying, every nutritionist and medical doctor will tell you that your mother was right and breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The reason for this is your body has managed to run through its food stores during the night and by not eating first thing, you aren’t providing it with energy to begin the day. The logic does not follow that not eating breakfast will help you lose weight; in fact the reverse will happen. Your body will change into starvation mode because it will have been too long without a fresh supply of food and it will hoard nutrients as fat instead. By eating breakfast you are reassuring your metabolic system that everything is alright, as you change the rest of your diet, this will then allow it to process food better and it will result in weight loss.
Tip #3 – Cook your food so you know what’s in it
The only way to know what is in your food is to cook it yourself. Sadly, the FDA does not require all ingredients to be listed on prepared food products that would be important for a diabetic to know about. Even worse, you really have no idea what is cooked into the “home cooked” restaurant meal you love. Many restaurants add different starches and just plain sugar to all of their dishes to enhance their flavor. This doesn’t mean that dining out is off the menu, but that is should be something you do as a special treat. You will lose more weight when you cook your food yourself because you will be in control.
Tip #4 – Eat healthy carbs in moderation
Carbohydrates are not the enemy; in fact they are a very important source of energy for your body. They are also the key element to producing the specific type of glucose that your brain needs to function clearly. Not all carbohydrates are created equal thought. You want to choose carbohydrates that score low on the glycemic index and eat them in moderation. They should be a part of your daily diet, but never a daily meal.
Tip # 5 – Don’t fall for fad diet products
Lastly, don’t even read or buy or try whatever is the latest fad diet that promises to fix everything for you in just 3 weeks. Many of these diet products are jam packed with added sugars and other ingredients that could send your blood sugar levels out of control. If you want to try a small experiment – go to your store and read the nutrition label on the meal replacement shake mixes, many of them have over 68 grams of sugar per serving, which is the equivalent to about 5 candy bars. Don’t believe the latest fad diet just because it features raw fruits and vegetables, often these are well intentioned but as a diabetic you still have to factor in fruit sugars in terms of your sugar intake. The juicing craze, for example, may not be the best thing for a diabetic. When you juice fruits you remove the fiber from the fruit skin which help slow the affect of the sugars in your body. Smoothies would be a better choice, but you still have to now what you’re doing in terms of sugar intake.