Diabetes and Weight Loss – How to Stay Full with Less Calories

The question is, does weight loss help manage your diabetes?

Answer: YES!

If you’ve ever paid attention or seen your lab results you’ll notice when your weight increases your blood sugar increases. When your weight decreases your blood sugar decreases. These two are directly linked with each other.

If you are overweight or obese (no one likes to openly admit this) losing weight will dramatically help your diabetes and your blood sugars get under control and within normal range. Overweight and obesity are increasingly common conditions in the U.S. and creeping up at a steady rate in our pediatric population.

Weight loss usually requires lifestyle changes. The most common changes include controlling the portions of your food and exercising more.

I won’t get full eating like a rabbit all day”    –> common comments from my patients. Hahaha, but it’s not what you think. I promise my tips will keep you full!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

How Do You Know if Your are Overweight or Obese?

Let me step back for a minute and explain what classifies overweight vs obese. Classifications are based on waist circumference and a body mass index (BMI) measurement. A BMI of > 25 is considered overweight and a BMI >30 is obese.

This chart comes from the National Institute of Health (NIH):

You can easily Google how to calculate your BMI or for my mathematical wizards you can use this formula to calculate your own:

Imperial Body Mass Index Formula

The resulting number is your BMI. Note, five foot is 60 inches. Five foot five is 65 inches…etc.

This article HERE from the National Institute of Health (NIH) further explains overweight and obesity.


How Do I Lose Weight, FAST?!

Oh man, if I had a dollar for every time I heard this! We all want FAST results. We live in a world where we can get just about anything in a short amount of time: Internet. Phone calls. Amazon Prime. Drive Thru. Starbucks pre-orders. Why can’t we lose weight as quickly as pushing a button?

Weight loss may be easier said than done, BUT IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE! And you CAN do it! It takes baby steps.

Habits don’t happen overnight. Chances are you didn’t gain 30+ lbs overnight and wake up in shock. Weight gain is progressive. So weight loss is just that. Progressive. You have to take baby steps. One foot at a time. One habit at a time.


How Much Weight Do I Need to Lose and What Steps Should I Take?

If you are overweight or obese, losing about 7-10% of your current body weight is a great start. You’ll see a big improvement in your blood sugar numbers.

When it comes to weight loss you need to make simple lifestyle changes. Don’t think of everything all at once – this is a recipe for disaster.

Try some of these simple steps/habits and start with choosing ONE. Once you have mastered this step (or habit) and it becomes part of your daily lifestyle, move on to another step…etc.

  1. Eat three meals per day plus 1-2 snacks.
  2. Control your carbs with each meal. Aim for 30-45 grams of total carbohydrates with each meal and snacks <15 grams carb.
  3. Do not eat more than one fruit serving at a meal. Space out your fruits and aim for 2-3 servings per day.
  4. Fill up on veggies. Non-starchy vegetables, specifically (this does not include potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, corn, peas, butternut squash or acorn squash). Include at least 2 cups, or 2 fist sizes, non-starchy vegetables with lunch and dinner. This is how you stay full with less calories. Veggies should be your go-to food item and the more you eat the better for your health.
  5. Eat breakfast. This relates to #1, but breakfast is a big part of getting your day on track and setting up your blood sugar to start within a normal range. When you don’t eat breakfast your liver assumes you are starving and releases sugar into your blood stream to reassure your brain you are not starving. Having a balanced breakfast with a little carb, protein and/or fat will stop the liver and balance out your blood sugar.
  6. Increase physical activity! Whether you are needing to start a new workout routine or you already have one, chances are you need to change your movement. For example, if you have been walking for exercise trying jogging OR try a new workout class like zumba or water aerobics. Lots of gyms or community centers will give you a free trial to try some classes. Get out of your comfort zone! For weight loss it is recommended to exercise 60+ minutes per day 5-6 days per week. You can break this up into 20 minute increments three times per day.
  7. Limit your protein intake to your palm size per meal. Just because (most) proteins don’t have any carbohydrates does not mean you can eat unlimited amounts. Increased protein intake = increased calories = weight gain. Understand?
  8. Quit drinking soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages. Drink more water. Period.
  9. Get enough sleep. There is a delicate window for what’s considered “enough” sleep: 7-9 hours. Not enough sleep and too much sleep BOTH have negative implications to your health. Also, getting your blood sugars under better control will help you sleep better. You’ll thank me later after you figure this out 🙂
  10. Laugh more! I’m a huge advocate for laughing. It releases feel-good hormones (aka endorphins) which just overall make you feel AMAZING! Laugh with a friend, watch a comedy, google funny jokes, etc. Whatever floats your boat.


Weight management is just as important as weight loss. It’s true that the real test comes when you need to maintain your weight loss. This is why slower weight loss is better because you are allowing your brain and your body to create and adjust to new habits. Make them last forever and enjoy your new energetic, blood sugar controlled self!

Author: Katie

Hi! I'm Katie, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. This website it dedicated to those looking to heal their bodies from the inside out - and it all starts with balancing out your blood sugar. Let's heal disease together one plate at a time.

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