Excess weight when you have type 2 diabetes can make it more difficult to manage your condition. “The additional weight adds to the insulin resistance, making it hard for your body’s natural insulin to do its job,” says Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who is based in Torrance, California.
Losing even a few pounds offers big benefits. Weight loss can help keep A1C levels below 7, which is a common target number for most adults, according to a study. A1C is a two- to three-month average of blood sugar levels, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
RELATED: 5 Ways to Lower Your A1C
Simple changes in the way you eat can make a big difference. For example, packing healthy snacks like nuts that you can easily grab during the day can help steer you away from the vending machine.
Plan your meals and follow a smart pattern of eating to set yourself up for success.
The Mediterranean diet, for example, is linked to improved blood sugar levels, lower heart risks, better liver function, and other benefits, according to research. And a cohort study of almost 100,000 subjects over time showed those who ate more plant-based diets had up to a 34 percent reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Also, don’t discount the importance of regular exercise. For people with type 2 diabetes, physical activity can reduce blood pressure, improve heart health, stabilize blood sugar, and boost overall quality of life, according to other research.
RELATED: 7 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise When You Have Type 2 Diabetes
Here are some other tips to jump-start your weight loss journey.