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Losing Weight with Diabetes

If you have diabetes, know that you are not alone. According to recent statistics the occurrence of diabetes in the United States has reached 8.3% of children and adults — or about 26 million Americans.

Diabetes is a condition where the body has too much glucose, or blood sugar, in the bloodstream. Usually the body produces insulin in response to glucose. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, but with type 1 diabetes, the body no longer produces insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or it is making insulin, but the cells don't use the insulin properly.

In either situation and without proper management, glucose can build up in the blood stream. This excess buildup of glucose flows through the blood vessels all throughout your body and eventually can cause damage to your heart, eyes, kidneys, and feet.

Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed in childhood, while type 2 diabetes has been associated with being diagnosed in adulthood, although disease onset for both types can occur at any age. A person's weight is a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. If a person is overweight, they are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. In fact, almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

The good news? Physical activity and weight loss can have a very positive impact on your diabetic health, and it's never too late to start. An enlightening clinical trial showed how losing just 5-10. of body weight helped lower blood pressure and improve blood glucose levels in those with type 2 diabetes. This means that even making small changes towards being more active and losing weight can produce big benefits.

Losing weight is really about math. Weight loss happens when you burn more calories than you eat. Most people can do this by watching what they eat and increasing their activity to burn more calories. Burning more calories doesn't mean you have to join a gym although this would be a great option. There are many ways to burn calories simply by doing more of the everyday activities you like, such as gardening, playing with the kids or walking the dog. The best ones are those you enjoy the most! If you are new to physical activity, start slowly and talk to your doctor about medication and/or dietary changes.

Below are some simple tips to help you get started and to stay safe:

  • Think about the activities you enjoyed as a child — riding bikes, shooting hoops, and playing tennis. Perhaps now is the time to dust off your old bike?
  • Start walking more. Walking is a convenient way to increase your activity; just tie on your shoes and go! Using a pedometer is a great way to track your steps and even challenge yourself to do more each week. If you don't already have one, ask your Jenny Craig Consultant during your next consultation.
  • If you're already exercising regularly be sure to aim for 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week, either in one block of time or in 10 minute spurts. This will add up to burning roughly 200 more calories a day and keep you on your way to meeting your weight loss goal.
  • Check your blood glucose levels before and after exercise and discuss with your doctor what ranges are acceptable. This helps you decide whether the levels are too high or too low to exercise safely.
  • Always carry a snack of 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates when you exercise in case you feel your blood sugar getting too low. A half cup of fruit juice, 5 lifesavers or 2 tablespoons of raisins work well.
  • Drink water before and after exercise, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • The other half of the weight loss equation is managing calories you eat. Keeping an eye on portion sizes, selecting healthy foods, limiting sweets and increasing leafy green vegetables are examples. With diabetes, the most important thing to keep in mind is the goal of maintaining steady blood glucose levels throughout the day by eating regularly and keeping carbohydrate intake consistent. The Jenny Craig Pre-Planned Menus reflect these recommendations by providing a consistent amount of carbohydrates throughout the day.

    Similarly, both Jenny Craig and the American Diabetes Association consider non-starchy vegetables a great way to fill you up safely, as they have little to no impact on blood sugars.

    If you're just starting to look at your eating habits, and wondering where to begin, a simple technique is known as the healthy plate method. Fill half your plate with non-starchy, free vegetables (salad greens, broccoli, cucumbers etc.), a quarter of your plate with fiber-rich starches (for example, brown rice), and a quarter of your plate with lean meat (for example chicken breast). With this simple method, vegetables and whole grain starches are maximized, both of which are important in aiding blood sugar control as well as weight loss.

    Incorporating Fresh & Free Additions in your menu is also a great way to eat more food, feel fuller longer and add nutrients with fewer calories..If you're already on Jenny Craig, talk to your consultant about how using the Meal On Your Own guidelines can help you balance your meals at home or away.

    Losing weight is beneficial to many of us, and especially for anyone trying to prevent diabetes. By making a few adjustments to your current eating style and by becoming more active, you'll be well on your way to a new healthier you.