Type 2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition characterized by the body’s inability to produce enough and use it properly.

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Type 2 Diabetes and Excess Weight

Excess weight significantly raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The body’s cells become less sensitive to the insulin that the pancreas creates if a person is overweight and predisposed to diabetes.

Where the excess weight is carried is also important when it comes to diabetes. If most of the weight is carried in the lower part of your body (i.e. thighs, hips, etc.),one may experience fewer problems than someone who carries their weight in their midsection.

Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise

When assessing your diabetes risk factors, your doctor may review your Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of the body fat based on height and weight. A BMI between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, while a BMI of 25.0 or higher is deemed to be overweight. If your body weight falls into the overweight category, your doctor may recommend that you get more physically active and change your diet so that you can lose some of the excess weight.

Losing weight may be challenging, especially when managing a chronic illness. However, being physically active and choosing the right exercises can help manage diabetes in several ways.

Helps Prevent Long-Term Complications

Having a regular exercise plan helps keep your body healthy, especially your heart. Diabetes can increase your chances of developing major heart issues, including strokes, heart disease, and heart attacks. Being active can also help you manage your blood pressure, lose weight, increase your energy, and improve your mood.

Reduces Glucose in Your Blood

Regular physical activity helps prevent glucose from overloading your blood. When you exercise, your body’s muscles use the glucose in your blood. Without exercise, your body needs insulin to use this glucose. Being active gives your body the benefit of naturally lowering sugar levels.

Types of Exercise

Excessive weight gain and type 2 diabetes or prediabetes can also cause joint pain and arthritis. Luckily, there are plenty of exercises that you can help with managing diabetes while working towards a healthy body weight.

Walking: Walking is one of the easiest and quickest ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. The only equipment required is a good pair of supportive walking shoes and a safe terrain to walk on.

Swimming: Swimming is an excellent low-impact activity that provides a good workout, and helps maintain an overall healthy body mass.  A community centre in your neighbourhood may offer various water aerobics or other types of exercises that are challenging yet easy on the joints. 

Cycling: Riding your bike, whether outdoors or a stationary bike, is another joint-friendly method of exercise. Cycling is an excellent way to break a sweat without sacrificing your joints.

Resistance Training: Engaging in resistance training and weight lifting is not only a great way to build muscle, but also increase your bone density.

Type 2 Diabetes and Weight Loss

In addition to exercising daily, eating the right foods is key to losing weight. Our guide on the best foods to control diabetes gives an overview of some of the foods you can incorporate into your diet. In addition to the guide, adding the following suggested foods to your diet may help manage some of your symptoms while promoting weight loss.

Turmeric

Turmeric has been widely praised for its numerous health benefits. Curcumin, one of the components of turmeric, may be helpful for those with type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that curcumin can help lower blood glucose levels. Turmeric extract may also help stabilize blood glucose levels, which may make managing type 2 diabetes a bit easier. Studies suggest that turmeric may also help reduce some of the inflammation caused by being overweight or obese. Adding turmeric to your diet may help maintain healthy body weight.

Berries

All berries such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries are delicious and full of antioxidants, fibre and vitamins. Berries are low on the glycemic index and may help satisfy the sweet tooth of those avoiding sugar while still managing their diets and blood glucose levels. These low-calorie fruits are an excellent choice for dessert, a snack, or eaten with nonfat greek yogurt for breakfast.

Olive Oil

Often touted as one of the healthiest fats on the planet, olive oil is a culinary essential in some of the world’s healthiest countries. It is packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and fatty acids that can help with the fight against many diseases. Studies show a link between those who have added olive oil to their healthy diets and higher insulin levels, making it beneficial to those with diabetes or prediabetes. It has also been linked to reduced levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body. Olive oil is high in polyphenols, a micronutrient naturally found in some plant foods with anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial to those attempting to lose weight.

Okra

Common in southern cuisines, okra is not a vegetable many people think of purchasing when walking through the grocery store. But those looking for something to add to their menus to help aid in their weight loss should consider Okra. Some studies have shown that consuming okra with meals can minimize blood sugar spikes after the meals are complete. Okra is low in calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats. Okra is also a great source of fibre. Fibre helps promote proper digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer.

Attempting to lose weight while managing diabetes is no small feat, and will take both dedication and perseverance to remain on track. However, committing to living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, will help with you overall health tremendeously. Be sure to speak to your doctor or medical professional for guidance on how to start your weight loss journey.

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