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Managing your weight

Managing your weight is the most effective treatment for Type 2 Diabetes. Being overweight makes it harder for the body to use insulin effectively. Research has shown that losing 10% of your body weight has beneficial health consequences such as lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

The BMI (Body Mass Index) Chart is a good indicator whether you need to lose weight. BMI is a measure of your weight in relation to your height. Find the point on the chart where your height and weight meet.


UNDERWEIGHT:             BMI under 18.5

HEALTHY WEIGHT:            BMI between 18.5-24.9

OVERWEIGHT:                  25-29.9

OBESE:                                30-39.

MORBIDLY OBESE:           40 or more



To lose weight the calories which you eat and drink need to be less than the calories which you burn with exercise and daily living. A realistic weight loss target is 0.5-1kg a week and studies have shown if you lose weight quickly that you are more likely to regain it.

There are different ways to tackle weight loss but the main idea is that you find a method which fits in with your lifestyle and that you can stick with.


The plate model shows what to eat on a daily basis with lots of vegetables as these are very low in calories but contain lots of vitamins which are essential for good health.


The recommended calories per day are different for men and women. To maintain weight with an active lifestyle it is recommended 2500kcals per day for men and 2000kcals for women.

For weight loss it has been suggested to cut down by 500-600kcals per day. This can be done by some simple lifestyle changes.

Examples of a few changes which can help reduce your daily calorie intake

10g portion of butter or margarine10g of low fat spread50
50g of cheddar50g cottage cheese150
1chicken breast with skin (100g)Without skin50
1 pint of full cream milk1 pint of semi skimmed60
100g of chips100g of boiled potatoes150
1 digestive biscuit1 rich tea40
1 cappuccino1 skinny cappuccino50
1-pint lager1 vodka and slimline tonic or diet coke130
125g full fat yogurtWeight watchers /diet yogurt or fromage frais50


Weight for weight fat contains double the number of calories as carbs and protein so reducing the amount of fat you eat will reduce your daily calorie intake so will help you to lose weight. A recent study in the US showed that following a low fat diet significantly reduced body weight, improved diabetes control whilst reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors. There are lots of lower fat products in the supermarkets such as reduced fat/light cheese, yogurts, milks and spreads.


All carbs affect blood glucose levels but a low carb diet can be restrictive as carbs are fruit, dairy, rice, potatoes, bread and cereals. If you cut out all these your diet will not be nutritionally balanced.

There is evidence showing that a low carb diet can help achieve short term weight loss and improve diabetes control in people with Type 2, but no evidence in Type 1.


Should not be used for more than 6 months. These are effective for weight loss and are usually in the form of shakes, bars and soups but tend to be quite high in added sugars which is not always great for diabetes control and they may not be nutritionally complete. This is also the same as VERY LOW CALORIE DIETS.


It is always helpful to have support when trying to lose weight and be in a group with people who are focusing on the same goal. There are different approaches to weight loss and it is advisable to discuss with your diabetes team before you attend as these groups are not run by registered dietitians.

Weight watchers and Slimming world have suitable weight loss eating plans for people with diabetes.


If you are on insulin or oral hypoglycaemics (such as Gliclazide) and have started to lose weight these may need to be reduced so that your blood glucose does not go too low. If you are cutting the amount of carbohydrate down in your diet these medications may also need to be reduced.

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