Weight loss helped me control my type 2 diabetes
Much has been written (and televised) about American's obesity epidemic and its contribution to health risks including type 2 diabetes. I can personally attest to the correlation between weight and blood sugar control. When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I was the heaviest I have ever been. At just over 6 feet, I weighed 233 pounds. This calculates to a body mass index of 31.6, which is considered obese. As part of my treatment plan for the diabetes, I resolved to lose weight. Through meetings with my diabetes educator and nutritionist, I learned about eating balanced meals, counting carbohydrates and using portion control. I kept an Excel spreadsheet with a diary of what I ate each day, along with the carb counts and my weight that morning. I also kept track of exercise with the spreadsheet.
Weight loss, type 2 diabetes and me
At first, the weight came off pretty rapidly. I was down to 202 pounds by the end of the year. I was under 200 pounds by February of the following year, but a three-week Hawaiian vacation caused me to backslide, and I was back up to 203 when I returned home. I resumed my routine but I had hit a dreaded "plateau" where the weight remained the same no matter what I did. Nevertheless I had lost 30 pounds and my blood sugar levels were low and stable enough that I was able to discontinue my metformin. The plateau finally broke, and by the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis I was in the low-190 range, a loss of 40 pounds total.
Besides stabilizing my blood sugar, the weight loss also took pressure off my arthritic knees, making it easier to walk and exercise. I was also able to donate my "fat clothes" to Goodwill!
My advice to anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, is to get your weight down to a BMI of 30 or less, preferably around 25. The best way to do this is to follow your nutritionist's guidelines for portion sizes and carbohydrate counts. And to keep yourself honest, you should absolutely keep a daily log of your food intake, exercise and weight. If you're not computer-savvy, a handwritten diary works just as well as a spreadsheet.