Lt Col Reynolds
Weight loss is one of the most effective ways to prevent or lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Because excess fatty tissue makes it harder for the body’s cells to use insulin and absorb glucose the way they’re supposed to, even losing a little weight can make a big difference. Ms. Riley, from the perspective of a registered dietician, what can you tell us about losing weight to prevent diabetes?
Well, Dr. Reynolds, losing weight is all about creating a calorie deficit, or burning more calories than you eat. Creating a calorie deficit usually requires a change in diet and activity level. Eating low-calorie foods and controlling portion sizes are simple ways to modify diet, and 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week is the general recommendation for most adults.
It’s important to set a weight loss goal that is achievable and maintainable. A good goal for most people is to lose five to 10 percent of their current weight. That means for a person who weighs 200 pounds, they should try to lose 10 to 20 pounds. Studies have shown that losing even five to seven percent of current weight can have a huge impact on diabetes risk.
Patients should discuss and set an appropriate weight loss goal with their providers. Providers and dieticians can also make specific recommendations on the best way to achieve the necessary calorie deficit.
Once an appropriate goal has been set, it’s important to weigh in at least once a week. People who keep track of their progress are more likely to reach their weight loss goal than people who don’t. Many people find it helpful to use mobile apps or other devices that can track activity, caloric intake, and weight loss progress.
Losing the weight isn’t enough though. Maintaining a healthy weight once it’s reached is just as important. Remember, excess fatty tissue causes insulin resistance, so keeping that extra weight off will keep the risk of developing diabetes low.