How to Lose Weight When You Have Diabetes or Hypertension
Many people want to be physically fit, but sometimes losing those extra pounds isn't easy, especially when you suffer from diabetes or hypertension (also known as high blood pressure).
Though the above statistics might seem disheartening, there is some good news. Weight loss, which was once considered unattainable or challenging for people with diabetes and hypertension, is now possible.
Understanding your health condition makes it easier for you to manage and overcome it. Diabetes is a common health issue, especially as you get older, so let's look at it and its relationship to hypertension.
What Is Diabetes? How Is Hypertension Related to Diabetes?
When we eat food, our body breaks down the dietary carbohydrates into glucose. When glucose is present in the blood, it signals our pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin is the key that opens the lock to each cell so that glucose can enter, providing the energy necessary for life.
Glucose is the source of energy and cells need them to carry out their functions.
Diabetes is a condition that arises when your cells aren't able to take up glucose efficiently. This occurs because either there isn't enough insulin in your body or cells fail to recognize the insulin in your bloodstream, which increases glucose concentration.
You can either have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body attacks the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. As a result, your pancreas produces little or no insulin. Without insulin, your cells can't use dietary glucose, so its level rises in the blood.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your pancreas produces insulin, but your cells don't recognize it. The level of glucose in your blood increases. In response, your pancreas has to work harder to produce more insulin to meet your body's needs.
Diabetes and hypertension are closely related. High blood sugar leads to plaque deposition in the blood vessels. Plaque build-up narrows the blood vessels, putting more pressure on your heart, leading to hypertension.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
Diabetes symptoms may vary depending on the type of diabetes you have and the glucose level in your blood. Also, if you're in the early stages of diabetes, you may not have any symptoms.
Here are some common signs of diabetes:
- Feeling thirsty
- Frequent urination
- Increased appetite
- Blurred vision
- Change in body weight
- Increased wound healing time
- Extreme exhaustion
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Erectile dysfunction in men
How Does Diabetes Affect Body Weight?
Many factors affect body weight, and diabetes is one of them.
In patients with Type 1 diabetes, the body cannot produce insulin, so it's unable to convert glucose to energy. The cells need energy, so to meet their needs, the body uses the energy stored as body fat. This causes weight loss.
However, when these patients start their insulin treatment, the excess glucose in the body is stored as fat, leading to weight gain.
In patients with Type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood since the cells don't recognize insulin efficiently. When glucose is present in the blood, it signals the pancreas to produce more insulin. High levels of insulin signal the body to store glucose as fat contributing to weight gain.
One of the side effects of insulin medication is weight gain. This can make weight loss a lot more difficult for people with diabetes.
Insulin medications make it more difficult for the body to burn fat, which leads to weight gain. In addition, diabetic patients are more prone to developing hypertension or high blood pressure, which makes it even more challenging to lose weight.
How Can I Lose Weight When I Have Diabetes?
Weight loss not only helps you manage diabetes but also prevents its incidence. Diet and exercise are effective ways to lose weight, so here are a few tips to help you lose weight, even when you have diabetes.
Less Is Better
To manage your high blood pressure, reduce your salt intake to 1.5 grams per day. Substitute citrus zest, jalapeno, cumin, or oregano as flavor alternatives.
Design Your Plate
When you have diabetes, the most crucial step in weight loss is to ensure a healthy balanced diet. Make sure fruits and veggies fill half of your plate. The other half should contain equal portions of lean proteins and whole grains.
Get Off Coffee and Other Caffeinated Drinks
If you're a coffee lover but struggle with diabetes and hypertension, it's better to let go of the habit. Caffeine increases blood sugar and blood pressure, so try to reduce your daily intake of caffeine or eliminate it completely.
Eat More Fiber
Whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They also have a low glycemic index, making them an excellent nutritional choice for people with diabetes.
Increase Your Potassium Intake
A diet rich in potassium helps reduce the effects of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Eat foods like bananas, broccoli, lentils, and potatoes.
Stay on the Wagon
To lose weight, you need to watch what you eat. Alcohol stimulates appetite and makes you eat more. Beer, cocktails and wine contain high sugar content, which increases blood sugar.
Alcohol has high-calorie density and no nutritional value. Empty calories work against your weight-loss efforts.
If you can, avoid alcohol. However, if not drinking affects your social life, keep it to a glass of wine a week. It’s better to reduce to a manageable amount than to fail at quitting completely.
Cut Trans Fat
Trans fat increases bad cholesterol (LDL) and decreases good cholesterol (HDL). LDL deposits in your arteries and contribute to heart diseases and hypertension.
Ideally, you should consume zero grams of trans fat or not more than 1% of your daily calories.
Smaller Meals Are Better
When it comes to losing weight, one simple change you can make is to eat smaller portions of food. You can do this by using a smaller plate for your meals or portioning out your food ahead of time. This helps reduce your overall calorie intake and can be a very effective weight-loss strategy.
Track Your Meals
To lose weight, it helps to be aware of what you're eating. That means keeping track of the calories and nutrients you're consuming. Keep a food diary with a notebook, an app on your phone or tablet, or an online food tracker. It can also help you identify patterns in your eating habits, such as eating when you’re not hungry or snacking late at night.
Weight loss can help manage both diabetes and hypertension. If you've been struggling with weight loss, we're here to help you.
Each individual is different, and so is their biology and psychology. This means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. Just because a certain diet or exercise plan worked for your friend or neighbor doesn’t mean it will work for you. It’s important to find a plan that fits your individual needs and lifestyle.
At Fella, we understand this. If you're a man over the age of 30 with a BMI above 30, we want to help you lead a healthy life by adopting a tailored approach that best suits you in your journey to better health. We have FDA-approved medications that have been proven to work, especially GLP-1 RAs. This class of medicines works with your body to make you feel fuller faster.