Weight management is a constant struggle for many people with diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 85% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. While the exact relationship between overweight and Type 2 diabetes is not known, there is ample evidence that losing at least some excess weight tends to help with diabetes control. For people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, losing weight may result in more efficient use of insulin – either the body’s own or injected – and possibly reduce the need for other drugs. In addition, for overweight people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the Diabetes Prevention Program study found that losing 5% to 7% of body weight and doing moderate exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, could prevent or delay its onset.
Losing weight is, of course, difficult. Due to the variety of factors that contribute to overweight – including food choices, physical activity, emotions associated with food, and genes – a single approach to weight loss does not work for everyone. However, experts – including people who have lost weight and managed to keep it off – agree that plans with an emphasis on long-term, healthy, sustainable weight loss are more likely to succeed than those that aim for fast, dramatic weight loss. The following resources offer a variety of tools for developing your own, personalized plan for losing excess weight and keeping it off.
ULTIMATE CALORIE, CARB, & FAT GRAM COUNTER
Lea Ann Holzmeister, RD, CDE
New York, 2006
This book, compiled by the dietitian who writes Diabetes Self-Management’s “Supermarket Smarts” column, lists nutrition facts for more than 7,000 common foods – a useful tool for anyone trying to plan meals that are lower in calories, fat, or carbohydrate. Listings include grocery store items as well as selections from chain restaurants.
EAT, DRINK, AND WEIGH LESS
Mollie Katzen and Walter Willett, MD
New York, 2007
Cowritten by the author of numerous cookbooks (including the original Moosewood Cookbook) and the chair of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, this book aims to provide a science-based eating program for weight loss, supported by a wide variety of recipes. The program emphasizes gradual, sustainable shifts in eating habits.
American Heart Association
New York, 2005
This book shows the reader how to personalize a weight-loss plan based on lifestyle considerations and personal needs. The book’s approach features three components: Think Smart!, which focuses on analyzing current habits to find the right approach; Eat Well!, featuring two weeks of menus and almost 200 recipes; and Move More!, on how to add physical activity into daily life. All recipes are designed to be heart-healthy in addition to promoting weight loss.
DR. KUSHNER’S PERSONALITY TYPE DIET
Robert F. Kushner, MD, and Nancy Kushner, MSN, RN
Bloomington, Indiana, 2008
This book attempts to guide the reader to the specific causes of his overweight through a series of questionnaires, which are then used to create a plan to address the causes. Questions and solutions address not just food choices and exercise patterns, but also emotional issues related to food. The book emphasizes goals and approaches rather than offering a detailed meal plan or exercise regimen.
THE VOLUMETRICS EATING PLAN
Barbara Rolls, PhD
New York, 2007
Volumetrics presents the concept of energy density, or how many calories a food has per pound. By choosing foods with a lower energy density, the author suggests, the reader can consume fewer calories while still eating the same volume of food. The book includes charts to track food intake and recipes that can be incorporated into the plan.
Web sites emphasizing diet
This Web site, developed by a doctor, offers free software programs that can be used to track caloric intake and pounds lost. These programs include a calorie diary, which automatically accesses a database of nutrition information when the user enters a food (it also has an activity log that calculates calories burned); a recipe diary, which tallies the nutrients in recipe ingredients; and a body-fat calculator. Each software program requires Microsoft Excel to operate.
Members of this Web site can keep track of exercise and daily calorie balance, as well as plan out meals and exercise programs online. The site can be used to generate specific meal plans that are low in carbohydrate, conform to the Mediterranean diet, are vegetarian, or that follow no particular eating pattern. Membership costs $2.99 per week or $77 per year. For an additional cost, members can also access articles or take a 12-week online course on overcoming emotional over-eating.
This site provides nutrient information for nearly every food imaginable. In addition, there are articles on weight loss, heart health, and diabetes control, as well as recipes and a blog on nutrition.
This Web site has a free nutrient database as well as an online, paid membership area. Members can access a personalized online plan for meals and exercise, articles on weight control, and an online discussion community. Software available for download includes a nutrition and exercise manager, a diet diary, and a diabetes log. The site contents were reviewed by the Joslin Diabetes Center. Membership costs $12 per month or $144 per year.
This site features an online food diary that is linked to a nutrition database, as well as an exercise log and a forum for discussion. Members can create charts and reports of such information as calories burned through exercise and projected weight loss. Membership costs $9 per month.
Other Web resources
This portion of the American Diabetes Association Web site allows members to log how much they walk, based on pedometer readings. When walking goals are met, the site administers virtual rewards in one of two rewards programs (“Evolving Story” or “Virtual Dog”). Message boards enable members to share information and stay connected. Membership is free.
WEIGHT LOSS AND WALKING TOOLKIT
http://ndep.nih.gov/publications/PublicationDetail.aspx?PubId=118You can find a toolkit published by the National Diabetes Education Program called Small Steps, Big Rewards. This program is based on the Diabetes Prevention Program study and encourages small changes in lifestyle which can help lower the risk for those with prediabetes of developing diabetes and help those with diabetes better manage their condition.
WEIGHT LOSS FORUM
This site provides forums for discussion of weight-related topics. Sections include Diet and Motivation, Weight Loss Methods, and Nutrition and Recipes. Specific forums include Newcomers, Local Community Weight Loss, New Moms, and Weight Loss Diary.
This free site encourages members to log their eating and workout habits, and to create or join any number of groups in which they share their progress with other group members. The site also has free tips and online seminars; some personalized training services are available for a fee.
ABOUT.COM: WEIGHT LOSS
This site serves as a portal to articles on countless aspects of weight loss, including nutrition, exercise, and body image. It also features a blog by the site’s weight loss “Guide,” who has written on the topic for nine years, has lost 50 pounds, and aspires to lose another 40.
NATIONAL WEIGHT CONTROL REGISTRY
This site, founded by medical researchers, both collects information from successful weight losers for research purposes and shares research findings with the public so that would-be weight losers can learn from the experiences of others. The site counts over 5,000 members who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained 30 pounds of weight loss for a year or longer. Anyone who meets these standards can join; names are kept confidential, and members are periodically asked to complete questionnaires on their thoughts and behaviors related to weight. Most findings are on the site in both original form and a reader-friendly format.
SHAPE UP AMERICA!
Founded in 1994 by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Shape Up America! is committed to raising awareness of obesity as a health issue and to providing information on healthy weight management. The Web site has a variety of information on physical activity and weight loss, including a Body Fat Lab to calculate body fat percentage, a Cyberkitchen for calculating calories, a Fitness Center with guides to achieving weight-loss goals, and a section on beginning a 10,000 Steps program. There is also a free monthly e-mail newsletter.
MY THIN LIFESTYLE WITH KAREN BENTLEY
This podcast (series of audio recordings) features interviews with numerous weight-loss experts and authors. Topics discussed include toxins and weight gain, the influence of culture on weight, artificial sweeteners, and fitness versus fatness. Episodes can be listened to individually online or downloaded automatically to a program such as iTunes. The podcast is free.
TOPS (TAKE OFF POUNDS SENSIBLY)
4575 South 5th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53207
This nonprofit weight-loss support organization has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Chapters meet to discuss weight-loss efforts and to receive nutrition and exercise education, often using materials published by TOPS. Visitors to the Web site can search for a chapter in their area. Membership costs $26 annually in the United States and $30 in Canada.