Your doctor and the diabetes team must have talked to you about losing weight to prevent or manage Type 2 diabetes. Many people try to lose weight, but fewer people lose weight and are able to maintain it. This happens for several reasons:

  • Trying to lose too much weight too fast.
  • Trying to follow a diet plan that isn't how they can eat long term.

Reality is that losing weight in a healthy way and learning how to keep it off is not easy. It takes a new way of thinking. Are you ready?


Set a realistic weight loss goal. Think about losing 5, 10 or 15 pounds. One of your goals should be to lose a few pounds and be able to keep it off for a long time. Here are some tips to help you make goals. 

  • Choose a time to start when you think life will be as calm and in control as possible.
  • Do a self-check on what and when you eat.
  • Keep honest food records for about a week.
  • Write down everything you eat or drink.
  • Use these records to set a few diet goals.
  • These food goals should be small changes you can easily make to your existing food habits.
  • Don't look for a magic bullet diet. They don't exist. You'll do best if you base eating habits on what you found out in your, self -check diet records.
  • Do you snack a lot?
  • Instead of chips or a candy bar, snack on a piece of fruit, pretzels, or some nuts.
  • Are your portions too large? Do you eat too many sweets?
  • Be ready to change your diet habits (and perhaps your family's diet) for good. Quit some of unhealthy habits and food choices.
  • Do a physical activity, self-check. How much exercise do you get? How can you work more of it into your day?

Be Ready to Start

Here are some tips to help you prepare to start your healthy lifestyle changes.

  • Learn about how much you should eat to remain healthy.
  • Get tips from a dietician for how to make healthy eating happen in your life.
  • Clear the refrigerator and pantry of those tempting items. Having them out of the house makes it easier to say no.
  • Stock the house with healthier foods. If you have plenty of fruits and vegetables, it will make it easier for you to eat them. Keep the fatty foods and sweets to a minimum.
  • Use soups, salads, raw vegetables, and fruit to fill up. Eating fewer calories doesn't mean facing an empty plate. You need to feel full to have long term success.
  • Think through how you will deal with common food problems. Don't put these on hold. Sometimes you'll have to grab a fast food meal. So, think about the healthiest and most satisfying options. You'll want to enjoy a restaurant meal now and then. Ask your spouse and kids if they are willing to share. In a restaurant order a doggie bag and put half the food away before you eat. How can you deal with work parties and holiday meals? Having a plan will help you.


There are many benefits of weight loss; just a few are mentioned here:

It improves your health and helps you feel better. As you get ready to lose weight, make a list of how losing a few pounds will benefit you. Put this list on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

  • Lower blood sugar if it is higher than normal.
  • Lower blood pressure if it is higher than normal.
  • Improve your blood fats if not in a healthy range.
  • Lighten the stress on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
  • Move around easier and breathe easier.
  • Have more energy.
  • Play more with your children or grandchildren.

Diabetes Prevention Program Shows Weight Loss Benefits

A large study, called the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed that if people at risk for Type 2 diabetes lost a small amount of weight and became more active for three years they could prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. People also had other benefits of weight loss like lowered blood pressure.

If you already have diabetes, losing 10 to 15 pounds may help you lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and improve your blood fats. Losing weight may also help you cut down on some of the medicines you take. If you lose weight, talk to your doctor about whether you need to make changes in your medicines.

How Does Your Weight Stack Up?

Health care providers use a measure called BMI (Body Mass Index). This gives a good measure of your total body fat. BMI compares your height and weight. It shows if you are underweight, at a healthy weight, or overweight. Check out what your BMI is by using the BMI calculator.

Below 18.5 = Underweight
Between 18.5 - 24.9= Healthy Weight
Between 25 - 29.9= Overweight
Over 30 = Obese

Look at the BMI chart to find out how much weight you need to lose to move from obese to overweight or from overweight into a healthy range. Knowing this can help you set a good weight loss goal.

An Apple or a Pear?

Did you know that being an apple shape — more fat around your tummy, rather than a pear shape — more fat around your hips; puts you at greater risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease?

Another parameter of how far it is around your waist (your waist circumference).

Take a tape measure and place it snugly (not tight) around your waist. Compare the length around your waist to the number below. If the length of your waist is to the same or bigger than the numbers below, you have too much weight around your waist.

Waist Circumference

Men: over 40 inches

Women: over 35 inches

Your Weight Loss Plan

Are you ready to lose weight?

Making a realistic, achievable plan; A few realistic goals – maybe start with one change in your diet and adding one physical activity.

Remember to take it one step at a time, and to stay patient. Permanent weight loss won’t happen overnight. Make your plan as specific as possible. Use the outlined guide.


Where am I now?

Example: I am 40 pounds over my desired weight.

Here’s what I’ll do to start working toward weight loss:


I’ll take 30-minute brisk walk 5 days a week at lunchtime.

I’ll switch to diet soda and water instead of drinking regular soda and sweet tea.

Here’s when I’ll do it:


During the week, I’ll walk for 30 minutes during my lunch hour.

Every meal – and in-between.

Here’s what I need to get ready:


I’ll need comfortable walking shoes.

I’ll need to buy diet sodas.

This might get in the way of my plan:


If it’s raining, I won’t be able to walk outside.

I might run out of diet soda.

If that happens, I’ll do this instead:


I’ll go to the recreation center and walk around inside.

I’ll plan ahead to make sure that I don’t run out or I can drink water instead.

Here’s when I’ll start:

Example: I’ll start working toward both of these goals on Monday.

Here’s how I’ll reward myself (try to stay away from rewards that involve food):

Example: I’ll go to the movies if I stick to my plan for the next month.

Once you’ve reached your first goals, set more.

Example of next steps:

I will walk for 40 minutes instead of just 30 minutes, 5 days a week.

I will change my afternoon snack from cookies to fruit.

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