Healthy Weight Loss
Does this sound familiar? You got tired of hearing your doctor and family bug you about losing weight to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. So, you got a two-week diet plan from a friend. You started gung-ho. The first few days were great. Then you found there were nights you didn't have time to fix your food and the family dinner. By the weekend your family wanted to have pizza. And the diet went out the door when you left for your favorite pizza place.
Many people try to lose weight, but fewer people lose weight and keep it off. This happens for several reasons. Sometimes people try to lose too much weight too fast. Or they try to follow a food plan that isn't how they can eat long term. Reality is that losing weight in a healthy way and learning how to keep it off is not easy. It takes a new way of thinking. Are you ready?
Set Your Goals
Set a realistic weight loss goal. Think about losing 5, 10 or 15 pounds. One of your goals should be to lose a few pounds and be able to keep it off for a long time. Here are some tips to help you make goals.
- Choose a time to start when you think life will be as calm and in control as possible.
- Do a self-check on what and when you eat. Keep honest food records for about a week. Write down everything you eat or drink. Use these records to set a few food goals. These food goals should be small changes you can easily make to your existing food habits.
- Don't look for a magic bullet diet. They don't exist. You'll do best if you base eating habits on what you found out in your self check food records. Do you snack a lot? Instead of chips or a candy bar, could you snack on a piece of fruit, pretzels, or some nuts? Are your portions too large? Do you eat too many sweets?
- Be ready to change your food habits (and perhaps your family's food habits) for good. Say good bye to some of your unhealthy habits and food choices.
- Do a physical activity self-check. How much exercise do you get? How can you work more of it into your day? The tip sheet Be Active, But How can help.
Be Ready to Start
Here are some tips to help you prepare to start your healthy lifestyle changes.
- Learn about how much you should eat to eat healthy.
- Get hints for how to make healthy eating happen in your life.
- Clear the refrigerator and pantry of those tempting items. Having them out of the house makes it easier to say no.
- Stock the house with healthier foods. If you have plenty of fruits and vegetables, it will make it easier for you to eat them. Keep the fatty foods and sweets to a minimum.
- Use soups, salads, raw vegetables, and fruit to fill up. Eating fewer calories doesn't mean facing an empty plate. You need to feel full to have long term success.
- Think through how you will deal with common food problems. Don't put these on hold. Sometimes you'll have to grab a fast food meal. So, think about the healthiest and most satisfying options. You'll want to enjoy a restaurant meal now and then. Ask your dining partner if they are willing to share. Can you order a doggie bag and put half the food away before you eat? How can you deal with work parties and holiday meals? Having a plan will help you.
Benefits of Weight Loss
There are many benefits of weight loss. Here are just a few. Some improve your health and others help you feel better. As you get ready to lose weight, make a list of how losing a few pounds will benefit you. Put this list on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
- Lower blood glucose if your blood glucose is higher than normal.
- Lower blood pressure if your blood pressure is higher than normal.
- Improve your blood fats if they are not in a healthy range.
- Lighten the stress on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
- Move around easier and breathe easier.
- Have more energy.
- Play more with your children or grandchildren.
Diabetes Prevention Program Shows Weight Loss Benefits
A large study, called the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed that if people at risk for type 2 diabetes lost a small amount of weight and became more active for three years they could prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. People also had other benefits of weight loss like lowered blood pressure.
If you already have diabetes, losing 10 to 15 pounds may help you lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and improve your blood fats. Losing this weight may also help you cut down on some of the medicines you take. If you lose weight, talk to your doctor about whether you need to make changes in your medicines.
How Does Your Weight Stack Up?
Today, health care providers use a measure called BMI, short for Body Mass Index. This gives a good measure of your total body fat. BMI compares your height and weight. It shows if you are underweight, at a healthy weight, or overweight. Check out what your BMI is by using the BMI calculator.
Between 18.5 - 24.9
Between 25 - 29.9
Look at the BMI chart to find out how much weight you need to lose to move from obese to overweight or from overweight into a healthy range. Knowing this can help you set a good weight loss goal.
An Apple or a Pear?
Did you know that being an apple shape — more fat around your middle, rather than a pear shape — more fat around your hips; puts you at greater risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease? Another measure you can take is of how far it is around your waist (your waist circumference).
Take a tape measure (a flexible one is best) and place it snugly (not tight) around your waist. Compare the length around your waist to the number below. If the length of your waist is to the same or bigger than the numbers below, you have too much weight around your waist.
- Men: over 40 inches
- Women: over 35 inches