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Weight Loss and Diabetes

By Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., R.D., C.D.E

doctor with stethascope and clipboardA nurse-colleague told me about her recent diabetes diagnosis.  Then she added, “So I decided that I am going to lose 50 pounds.” I could see the excitement in her face switch to a sense of worry in her eyes the moment she asked me, “Do you think that is a good idea?” Many clients ask that same question. Is losing weight the goal of diabetes self-management? No. You may be thinking, “But I was told by my physicians to lose weight to control my diabetes.”  The fact is, weight loss is not an action. It is an outcome; a possible result of what you are doing. The goal of diabetes self-management is to manage your blood sugars to allow you to live a full and vibrant life.  To achieve this goal, I encourage my clients to stop focusing on an outcome and start focusing on behavors.

What to do instead?

Shift your intention to becoming more present by pausing and noticing patterns in your food and eating choices.  Ask questions such as “Am I Hungry?® ” or “Would this taste good now?”  instead of giving yourself commands like “You are not allowed that!” or “That is what you have to eat because you have diabetes.” Become present by asking yourself, “What behaviors can I do that will help me achieve a full and vibrant life?”  It is important to remember that for every one problem there can be many solutions.  Be creative and open to new ideas.  Mindfulness and mindful eating are powerful and effective because you can practice flexibility as you explore new solutions to food and eating challenges. Explore  these mindful eating practices your next meal or snack.

  • Check in and assess your current level of hunger.
  • Create the intention to eat enough food to fill your hunger not overfill it.
  • Slow down, pause and ask yourself — am I still hungry? Success is more likely if you continue to check in while eating.
  • Track your feelings and blood sugars both before and after mindfully eating meals and snacks  Notice any changes.
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About the author

Megrette Fletcher is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, author, and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating. Megrette is the 2013-2014 president of The Center for Mindful Eating, a non-profit, organization to assist health professionals to explore the concepts of mindful eating. She has written articles for and has been quoted about mindful eating in Diabetes Self Management, Today’s Dietitian, Today’s Social Worker, Bariatric Times, Glamour, Family Circle, The Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Women’s Day, and Oxygen Magazine. Megrette currently works as a diabetes educator in Dover, New Hampshire.

2 Comments

  1. Excellent post! Agree, the goal is blood sugar control and by making lifestyle changes, the weight will drop off.

  2. And as you know, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) proved that by adopting consistent lifestyle changes, many people diagnosed with prediabetes were able to prevent the progression to diabetes. They did not need to lose a lot of weight to accomplish this!

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