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How to Lose Weight Safely With Diabetes

Last updated: June 24, 2022

Approximately 37.3 million people in the United States are living with diabetes, and receiving a diagnosis can leave you wondering what to do next.

Like many people, you might be viewing your diagnosis as a wake up call. Taking a closer look at your current lifestyle habits can help you identify changes that you can make to improve your health.

Or, you might have veered off the right track as someone who has had diabetes for a long time but lost the motivation to maintain your health.

In either case, it helps to know that you can lose weight safely with diabetes. Your efforts to eat healthily and exercise more could also have an impact upon your diagnosis.

What is the Relationship Between Obesity and Diabetes?

Obesity is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Being overweight can make it harder for your body to produce and utilize insulin effectively.

When you eat, your pancreas produces insulin, which is a hormone that helps to move glucose in your blood to the muscles where it is used for energy. If it isn’t needed, then the glucose moves to the liver where it can be stored until later.

When you have diabetes, your cells might resist glucose. Or, your liver might have too many fat cells for the sugar to be stored properly. Eventually, your pancreas gets tired of having to produce more insulin to keep things functioning properly. At that point, it gives out and you develop insulin resistance.

If you’re obese, then losing weight can help your pancreas produce insulin more effectively so that it can regulate blood sugar levels in your body.

How Do You Stay Safe While Losing Weight?

People with diabetes sometimes encounter challenges with losing weight. Exercising can lead to low blood sugar if you’re not careful to eat properly before and after.

Going on a strict diet plan could also cause your body to have trouble maintaining its blood sugar levels, and getting dizzy while working out could lead to serious injuries.

Fortunately, you can take a few simple steps to stay safe while also meeting your goal weight.

Work With Your Doctor

Before starting any new diet or exercise plan, you should always talk to your doctor. They can help you learn what your ideal weight range is for managing your diabetes. They’ll also talk to you about the best types of exercise to start with if you’ve been mostly sedentary up to that point.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar When Exercising

You’ll want to follow your treatment plan regarding when to check your blood sugar, but you might also need to check it more often.

Ideally, you’ll want to begin your workout by checking your blood sugar to make sure it is at a safe level to begin. Usually, this means that your blood sugar levels will fall within the range of 100 to 180 mg/dL.

While exercising on an empty stomach can help your body to burn more fat, you might need to eat a light snack before exercising if it is hard to achieve a normal blood sugar level otherwise.

After your workout, check your blood sugar again to see how it affected your levels. Eventually, you’ll get to know your body and what works best for managing your diabetes both before and after your workouts.

Pay Attention to Your Symptoms

Learning what is normal for your body also helps you to stay safe. If you begin to feel the symptoms of low blood sugar during your workout, then you’ll want to stop and address your needs.

Feeling dizzy, shaky or lightheaded are all warning signs that you might be exerting your body too much and need to take a break. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for sores, cuts and other foot injuries. If they don’t heal within two weeks, then you’ll need to see your doctor.

Choose a Realistic Diet Plan

Crash diets aren’t recommended for diabetics because too much calorie restriction could impact how your body processes blood sugar. You’ll also want to avoid extremely low-carb diets, since these can cause your blood sugar to go too low.

Plant-based diets work well for people with diabetes. By eliminating animal products, you’ll also be more likely to cut out processed foods and reduce your fat intake. Over time, doing these two things can help you meet your goal weight without feeling deprived.

What Should a Vegan Diabetic Diet Plan Include?

A vegan diet plan for people with diabetes gives you more control over your blood sugar because you’ll be able to use whole grains as a source of carbohydrates. These break down more slowly compared to what you find in processed foods, so your body can process the glucose more efficiently.

An effective vegan diet plan for diabetes should include a wide range of complex carbohydrates along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating fresh whole foods helps you to avoid taking in too much sugar from canned fruits that may be soaked in corn syrup.

What Is the Best Meal Replacement Shake for Diabetics?

Meal replacement shakes make dieting easier since they contain the exact nutrients and calories you need to replace a homemade plate of food.

For diabetics, they also make tracking sugar intake easy since the information is listed on the label. The best shake for diabetes should be low-sugar while also having enough protein and calories to help your body run at peak efficiency.


Is it safe to lose weight with diabetes?

Yes, it is not only safe to lose weight when you have diabetes, but it is also recommended to reduce the strain on your liver and pancreas that leads to blood sugar fluctuations.

What is the best diet for diabetics to lose weight?

The right diet for someone with diabetes is one that is maintainable for a long period of time. Ideally, you should be able to adopt healthy eating habits as part of your normal lifestyle. Vegan diets fall within this category since they involve eating full meals that are packed with flavor and nutrients.

Can diabetics use meal replacement shakes?

They can, and meal replacement shakes may be one of the best ways to track sugar, calorie and nutrient intake during a time when many people are adjusting to paying attention to what they put in their body.

Will losing weight cure my diabetes?

Studies have shown that weight loss can put diabetes in remission. In one study, people who lost an average of 22 pounds and kept it off for one to two years had higher rates of remission than people who did not work on weight loss.

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