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Diabetes and Your Weight


It's little wonder that people with diabetes hear a lot about the importance of dieting. More than 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Obesity increases insulin resistance and contributes to many health problems, including heart and blood vessel disease. When obese people with type 2 diabetes lose weight, they often experience a lowering of their blood glucose levels and are then able to decrease their insulin or oral diabetes medications.

Many people without diabetes are also trying to lose excess weight. New diets are published every week, and each one promises that you can lose a lot of weight in a very short time. The overweight person with diabetes may start to believe that eating a bizarre - and unhealthy - combination of foods is the only way anyone can lose weight. Although many people do indeed lose weight while on a fad diet, most of them gain it all back once they go off the diet. So they try another diet, and the never-ending search for "the one that works" continues.

These people don't realize that they regain the weight between diets because they never give up the old eating habits that make them fat in the first place.

People are often unaware of what triggers excessive eating, or if they are aware, they are unable to find a solution to the problem by themselves. That's one reason it's so important to undertake a weight-loss program with the help of a doctor, nurse, and dietitian. They may prescribe a low-calorie exchange-type diet, which will provide the correct amount of calories for you through a variety of foods. They can also check your weight loss at regular and frequent intervals. It may be helpful if they are familiar with behavior modification. Behavior modification sounds like something you need a Ph.D. in psychology to understand - yet it's really very simple.

Behavior modification is essentially a way to change habits - to replace bad habits with good ones. It's been used to help people stop smoking and overcome depression. Behavior modification programs have proven more successful in helping more people lose, and maintain the loss of, more pounds than any other kind of weight-loss program.

It's especially difficult to break the habit of overeating because you can't give up the habit of eating altogether. Instead, you must modify the way you eat by learning new eating habits. A habit is an automatic act or behavior, which means the first step in changing it is to become aware of the habit. You should ask yourself when, where, and why you overeat. Many people find they overeat when they are depressed, lonely, or bored. Others eat when they are angry, happy, or want a "reward" for some other good behavior. Once you find out why you overeat, you can begin to change. It's not easy, but with determination, you may just find a behavior modification program that works for you. But for behavior modification or any other program to work, it's important that you make a total commitment over a long period. Abandon all excuses such as "work was hectic today" or "the kids got on my nerves." There are no holidays or vacations from a healthy eating plan - not even birthdays.

Exercise also plays an important part in the program. Besides burning up some calories, it helps you develop new interests in life and, over time, aids physical fitness. It's important to choose the kind of exercise that you enjoy. Otherwise, it won't become a permanent part of your new lifestyle. If you've always been inactive, you should start with less strenuous exercise. Stand for longer periods, and walk short distances. As your stamina increases and you lose weight, you can gradually increase your activities.

Once you've reached your desired weight and you begin the maintenance phase, the real battle starts. Now you must use your new behaviors and tools to continue to phase out old habits. You must continue to avoid situations that can trigger eating.

If you're interested in beginning such a program, print this information and show it to your doctor or dietitian so he or she can tailor a program to suit your individual needs.


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