One of the most important aspects of diabetes management is to maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight not only increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, it also makes your diabetes harder to manage. Small changes in your diet such as reducing your portion sizes and swapping to low fat dairy products, can help you to achieve a healthy body weight and manage your diabetes.
A small weight loss (5-10% of body weight) can make a big difference to your diabetes management, and, as a consequence, reduce your risk of developing complications like heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
If you have pre-diabetes (impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance), losing 5-10% of your current body weight can prevent type 2 diabetes in up to nearly 6 out of 10 people.
So what does 5-10% of your body weight mean in real terms? For a 100kg person this would mean losing 5-10 kg.
Measuring your waistline is a great way of checking your risk for a number of diseases. In general, if you are of Caucasian origin:
- Women should aim for a waist circumference less than 80 cm
- Men should aim for less than 94 cm.
Appropriate measurements for other ethnic groups can be checked with your doctor.
If you are carrying excess weight around the middle, in the interest of your health, you should undertake the following activities to reduce your waistline:
- Follow a diet plan lower in kilojoules and total fat (particularly saturated fat)
- Do regular physical activity such as walking, dancing, riding a bike or swimming
- Ask your doctor, dietitian or Credentialled Diabetes Educator for advice.
Members of your diabetes health care team like your dietitian, exercise specialist (physiotherapist/exercise physiologist/Certificate IV personal trainer) and Credentialled Diabetes Educator can provide you with more personalised advice that will make losing weight much easier and sustainable.