Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Why Can’t I Lose Weight?
Finding Your Trouble Spots

by Jacquie Craig, MS, RD, LD, CDE

Keep in mind that if you don’t currently do this much, you will need to build up to it gradually. It’s also a good idea to get your doctor’s OK before increasing the amount or intensity of physical activity you do. Certain activities may not be advised for people who have diabetes complications such as eye or kidney disease. Also, because physical activity usually lowers blood glucose, you may need to take steps to prevent hypoglycemia while exercising. Some of the ways to do this include cutting back on insulin or oral medicines before exercising, having a snack before or during exercise, or changing your meal schedule to accommodate your exercise schedule. Checking your blood glucose before, during, and after physical activity will help you determine which of these steps may be most effective.

Too much alcohol
Large studies done in Great Britain and Finland have found that heavy alcohol intake is associated with weight gain and obesity in men. Given that alcoholic beverages are often high in calories, this news is perhaps not so surprising.

A serving of alcohol is considered to be one 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine (excluding dessert wine), or 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits such as gin, whiskey, vodka, or rum. Each of these servings contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol and roughly 100–200 calories. Any caloric mixers, such as fruit or vegetable juices, soft drinks, cream, coconut milk, or sugar, raise the calorie count. The American Diabetes Association recommends that those who choose to drink alcoholic beverages limit themselves to one alcoholic drink (or one serving) a day for women and up to two alcoholic drinks (or two servings) a day for men.

To minimize calories from alcoholic beverages, consider drinking light beer in place of regular beer and using diet soda, seltzer, or club soda in place of caloric mixers in mixed drinks. Limiting quantities to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men — or less — will help with weight control.

Because alcohol can cause hypoglycemia, particularly when consumed on an empty stomach, it’s best to drink alcohol with a meal. (Cutting back on food calories to accommodate alcohol calories is not recommended by the American Diabetes Assocation because of the risk of hypoglycemia.) Alcohol is processed in the liver, which also plays an important role in regulating blood glucose level. When the liver is processing alcohol, it cannot release glucose into the bloodstream when it is needed, and the blood glucose level can drop too low.

Before drinking alcohol, talk with your health-care provider to see if it’s safe for you. Some medicines are not safe to take with alcohol, and alcohol can worsen some diabetes complications, including peripheral neuropathy. If you feel that you cannot control the quantity of alcohol you consume, it’s best not to drink at all.

Reaching a plateau
When you first cut back on calories and started getting more physical activity, you most likely lost weight. Over time, however, your body adjusts to a consistently lower energy intake, and weight loss slows or stops.

Also, if you dramatically cut your calorie intake when you were diagnosed with diabetes, you may be finding it difficult to maintain such a low intake over the long term, and even a small increase in daily calories can lead to regaining some weight.

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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