Improving Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity Through Lifestyle
Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic, largely driven by the epidemic of obesity. And in fact, 90% of individuals with type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese. And that’s why weight loss is such a crucial component for the treatment of an individual with diabetes.
In fact, studies show that if you lose even 5% of your body weight, you can dramatically improve your health pertaining to type 2 diabetes. Not just the blood sugar, but also the blood pressure, cholesterol, sleep apnea, erectile dysfunction and other measures of health can all dramatically improve.
One of the crucial interventions for weight loss is healthy eating. Here are five important tips for weight loss through diet:
Number one: calorie restriction performed in a healthy way by following a balanced diet, preferably under the guidance of a dietitian. Number two: eating three times a day at regular times, and having a healthy snack if needed. Number three: choosing high-fibre foods. High-fibre foods will help control blood glucose levels, will help with cholesterol and make us feel full. Number four: drinking plenty of water during the day, and choosing water over juice and soft drinks. Number five: limiting the amount of processed foods, sweets, sugars and fatty foods we eat in the day, as well as avoiding eating out frequently.
We recommend aiming for 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise, or at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Three times a week you may also perform resistance exercise, meaning either using elastic bands or weights. If you’re new to exercise, just starting, or trying a new program, make sure you speak to your physician first for your safety.
Most individuals with type 2 diabetes will be on medication to treat their sugars. Some medications for type 2 diabetes can help with weight loss, so speak to your physician to see if these medications are appropriate for you, and how you can avoid other medications that lead to weight gain or low blood sugars.
Managing diabetes can sometimes be overwhelming. Research shows that stress can cause our blood glucose levels to rise, so learning techniques to manage stress also helps with your diabetes. Here are three helpful tips in the management of stress.
Number one: first of all, ask for help. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it is OK to ask family, friends or mental health professionals for help. Number two: looking at relaxation techniques that work for you, whether it’s meditation, breathing or even a hobby. Number three: be positive. If things didn’t work out that day, or something didn’t happen, focus more on the positives.
Diabetes is a very gratifying condition to treat, both from the physician as well as the patient perspective, because you can get tremendous improvements in your health and lifestyle with lifestyle changes. Even a modest weight loss of five or ten pounds can dramatically improve your health, especially when used in conjunction with an appropriate and sometimes necessary medication.
If you do have type 2 diabetes, and you’re embarking on a lifestyle change with or without medications, please see your physician so an appropriate plan can be made for you.
Presenter: Dr. Akshay Jain, Endocrinologist, Surrey, BC
Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist