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Healthy weight loss tips for people with diabetes

We know that many people in our community struggle with their weight, so we’ve gathered some healthy weight loss tips specifically for people with diabetes. Read on!

Healthy weight loss tips

Lesley Wood from Weight Masters offers these six steps for positive change when it comes to your diet. These steps can work for anything from rehabilitation to sports achievement to weight loss. When we have these six areas clearly defined for ourselves, we can expect positive results.

1. Motivation for change

Our motivation for change needs to be created from within. So put aside some time to write down two columns: your clearly defined goals for wanting to change and the consequences of not changing. Keep adding to this list until you have a tangible picture of the consequences as well as the benefits.

2. Dedication

You need to be dedicated to the changes you want to make (this is why spending a little time at step 1 is so important). If you have a very clear understanding of why you want this change, you will find it easier to stay dedicated and motivated.

3. A manageable goal

It’s important to break down your goal into manageable and obtainable sizes. For example: aiming to lose 0.5kg – 1kg a week feels far more do-able than aiming for 12kg by the end of December. Remember the importance of SMART goals.

4. Small decisions

You need to focus on the now! What can you do this minute to reach your future milestone? If you are in a restaurant or shopping for food, ask yourself, “what can I do right now to reach my goal?” And see what different choices you start to make…

5.  Involvement

You need to be involved in your weight loss. This might mean taking the time to read labels, or setting your alarm thirty minutes earlier to go on the treadmill before work, or keeping a food diary etc. People who participate in their achievement are generally more determined, and more likely to succeed (another reason why fad diets, diet pills and injections do not work in the long run!)

6. Perspective

How you judge your performance is paramount to success. Stop comparing yourself with others right now! Look solely at your own progress. Ask yourself how far have I progressed since yesterday? Last week? Last month? If you look inwards and recognise that you are doing your best right now, you’ll soon realise that this is the only thing that matters.

While the six steps might seem straightforward, they’re not necessarily easy… Here are Lesley’s suggestions for how to make these healthy weight loss tips last.

Rule 1: No short cuts

Accept that quick fixes don’t work. It’s too easy to lose the weight and then go back to your previous bad habits. Focus on making changes that will last a lifetime. You are in this for the long haul and you will love your results if you start thinking that way!

Rule 2: Set realistic goals

It didn’t take a week or even a month to gain all the weight, so don’t expect to lose it all at once either. Slow and steady wins the race. Set both short-term and long-term goals and refer to them frequently.

Rule 3: Ask for help

 If stuck – ask for help! You are not in this alone.

Rule 4: Don’t do it alone.

Alert your friends and family so they can support your weight loss efforts. Find an exercise buddy to join you in your journey and be sure to join South Africans with Diabetes, so that we can support you too!

Rule 5: Plan ahead.

Stock your kitchen with the right food and snacks. Set aside a few hours a week to plan your meals for the week and to go grocery shopping.  Also, be sure to have a healthy snack before you go so that you’re not tempted to make bad choices. Here are some healthy recipe ideas.

Rule 6: Keep a journal.

Numerous studies indicate that journal keepers are more successful at weight maintenance than people who don’t keep a journal. Record your food and water intake, favourite recipes, nutrition tips, your measurements and your thoughts and feelings as you progress. Take some time to read through your journal occasionally so that you can keep track of your progress.

Measure your progress.

Rule 7: Measure your progress

A scale and tape measure are both essential to track your progress. Weigh yourself and take your measurements at your chest, waist and hips once a week. But remember not to obsess over your scale. Your weight may fluctuate based on a variety of factors. Hold on to a piece of clothing that was tight when you first started and try it on occasionally. Even if the scale is slow to move at times, you may still discover that your clothes are fitting better and better every week.

Rule 8: Have protein at every meal.

Try chicken breasts or fatty fish like salmon. Enjoy lean meats for dinner and eggs or a protein shake for breakfast (or at any time of the day). Protein will also help keep you full until your next meal.

Rule 9: Drink lots of water.

Pure water flushes toxins out of your body, helps you metabolise fat and minimises the likelihood of constipation. Keep a water bottle filled and with you at all times.

Rule 10: Add exercise.

Activity is a natural partner to any weight control program. It’s good for your heart and helps you maintain the weight that you have lost. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming and biking will all do your body good. Throw in some weight-training exercise to build muscle, which help you burn more calories, even at rest, and helps build stronger bones.

And last but not least, enjoy the journey! Appreciate your progress and your learnings along the way!

Get more great weight loss tips at 

Photos by Total Shape , Boxed Water Is Better, Marvin Meyer and Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

What to read next?

How to reverse Type 2 diabetes: There is a ‘recipe’ for how to reverse Type 2 diabetes, and we’ve outlined it step-by-step here.

Exercise, a little every day: The ultimate guide to diabetic exercise, including how to make it fun!

Managing Type 2 diabetes: All you need to know to manage Type 2 diabetes in a healthy way.

What to read next
Join South Africans with Diabetes on Facebook

Join our diabetes community

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.