All of us can lose or gain a kilogram or two; sometimes we indulge a little too much, and then we put in a couple of additional workouts. However, if you haven’t tightened the belt on your diet or ramped up your exercise routine and your weight is still dropping, then you need to speak with your health care professional. While smaller weight loss isn’t a reason for concern, unexplained weight loss on a larger scale may be an early sign of diabetes. If you feel you might have diabetes, then this is the article for you as we dive into diabetes, weight loss and everything you need to know in between.
A reduction in insulin resistance is problematic because insulin is needed to help glucose enter these tissues to be metabolised. If these tissues are resistant to insulin, higher than normal levels are needed for this process to occur. This is often the case in Type 2 diabetes. As a result, a vicious cycle occurs, the higher the insulin levels are, the harder it is to lose weight. On the other hand, the heavier a person is, the more likely they are to have higher insulin levels. As you can see, this cycle is often hard to break.
While intentional weight loss in people with diabetes is usually a good thing, unintentional weight loss is not. If blood sugars are very high, patients with diabetes tend to urinate a lot, and this results in dehydration as a possible cause of weight loss. Also, muscle breakdown can occur if sugars are too high, causing an unhealthy weight loss. Many patients with diabetes present for their first time to their health care professional because of unexplained loss of weight.
Common symptoms of diabetes include polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, fatigue, dizziness, weight loss, blurred vision, slow healing, genital itchiness, mood changes and nausea. If you have unintentionally lost more than 5% of your normal body weight, or more than 4.5kg in 6-12 months or less, you should consult your health care professional.
If you are aware that you have diabetes and notice sudden weight loss that it is important to establish the right balance for diabetes and weight loss. Keep tight control over your blood sugar levels while you lose weight. You want to get high or low levels while you change your eating habits. It is generally safe for someone with diabetes to cut 500 calories a day. Trim from protein, carbohydrates and fat. Carbohydrates have the biggest effect on blood sugar. Those that have fibre are much better than eating sugary or starchy carbohydrates, because they’re less likely to spike your blood sugar and quickly make it crash.
Make this whole process easier by setting S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). Here is some extra help to get you started!