3 Steps to Managing Diabetes WITHOUT a Focus on Weight Loss

Sue walked into my office with tears in her eyes. She sat down and burst out crying. I gave her a minute, then asked her what was wrong.


“I have diabetes!”


She then burst into tears, again.


I walked over to her, put my hands around her shoulders and gave her a gentle hug. This was what she was fearing for a long time. She knew she had pre-diabetes for 5 years, but she just didn’t believe she would ever develop diabetes. She never had any symptoms, so the pre-diabetes diagnosis just never seemed real.


Sue’s doctor “warned” her time and time again that if she doesn’t lose weight, her pre-diabetes will become full blown diabetes. And that it had. However, it’s not as if Sue didn’t try to lose weight. She did, MANY times. And you know what? Sometimes she “succeeded” in losing weight, but the problem is she gained that weight back plus more, ALWAYS.


So, when Sue’s doctor gave her the news that she has diabetes, she felt beaten. He once again prescribed “weight loss”. She sat in my office and said “there has to be another way to manage my diabetes besides weight loss. Like there must be some other things I can do to help myself, because diets just have never worked.”


Bright woman! Yes, there are plenty of things to do to manage your diabetes without pursuing weight loss. It’s unfortunate that the majority of doctors go right for the jugular >> “you’re fat and have to lose weight”.


This happens for other medical diagnoses as well. High blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol, to name a few. Docs go right to the scale!


So how do you manage diabetes, or any of the medical conditions I mentioned above, without focusing on dieting and losing weight?


By using a weight-neutral approach to treatment.


Weight-Neutral Interventions


Weight-neutral interventions are based on the fundamental idea that a person’s health status or risk cannot be assumed based solely on a number on a scale. There are many factors that go into a person’s body weight including genetic, metabolic, physiological, cultural, social and behavioral factors.


Weight-neutral treatment programs focus on habit and lifestyle behaviors, rather than on weight, BMI and the pursuit of weight loss.


Getting back to Sue, I started working with her to help her learn about her diabetes, what is going on in her body and how adopting new habits and behaviors can help avoid diabetes complications now and later in life.


3 Steps to Better Blood Glucose Control without Dieting

  1. Start testing your blood glucose daily. Ideally, you will test upon awakening (fasting blood glucose), and 2 hours after a meal (for type 2 diabetes).


  1. Write down what you eat for each meal and start to look for trends. Meaning, are your blood sugars always high before dinner? Do you tend to have low blood sugar readings mid-morning? This is data that you will use to make changes to your diabetes meal plan.


  1. Find a doctor who practices from a HAES (Health at Every Size) approach. Advocate for yourself and ask for the treatment they would give to a person in a smaller body.


For more information on how you can manage your diabetes without dieting, click HERE!


Whether you have diabetes or another medical condition such as high cholesterol, pursuing weight loss is NOT the best treatment prescription. I know this is different than you’ve been told for years, but where has this led you? Let me know if you want to chat about it. Click HERE to get in touch.

Beta GluCAN’Ts- A Supplement Scam that Won’t Enhance Weight Loss

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Today I want to share with you a blog that is a little different from the ones I have posted in the past. My daughter, Jennifer, is taking her first nutrition course in college and one of her assignments was to write a paper about diet scams. Here it is below. I added some of my own thoughts towards the end.


By Jennifer Giller

There are many supplements on the market that claim to help you lose an absurd amount of weight in an unrealistic amount of time. Often times, these supplements contain ingredients that are not even associated with weight loss.


A specific weight loss supplement I recently saw advertised (name withheld), claims to serve as an alternative to Gastric Bypass surgery. The company claims to have a 90% success rate in substantial weight loss. However, these are baseless claims.


The main ingredient in this product are beta glucans. Beta glucans are a soluble fiber. When ingested, these fibers absorb water and naturally expand. This limits the amount of food that you are able to take in, causing you to feel full throughout the day.


There has been research conducted to study the effects of beta glucans on body weight and health. One such randomized study looked at the addition of beta glucan supplements to a low calorie diet in 66 overweight women over the course of 3 months. The women were placed into 1 of 3 calorie reduced diet groups.  The first group was a control group, the second group received 5-6 grams of beta glucan, and the third group received 8-9 grams of beta glucan supplementations. Height and weight, blood glucose levels, insulin, triglycerides, and leptin measurements were taken at the beginning of the study as well as at the 3 month mark. Other markers of appetite regulation, such as cholecystokinin and ghrelin, were also measured.


At the 3 month mark, all 3 study groups lost weight. All groups also had a lower waist circumference and reductions in some metabolic variables. However, there was no significant difference in weight loss among the groups. Research concluded that the beta glucan supplement did not add to the effectiveness of the low calorie diets in these overweight women.


Other research however, puts a positive spin on this product. Multiple studies have showed that beta glucans may be beneficial towards lowering blood sugars and cholesterol.  The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has already approved a health claim that beta glucans can lower cholesterol and the risks of heart disease as well as lower the risk of getting diabetes along with diabetes associated complications.


Personally, I view beta glucan supplementation marketed as a weight loss solution as a scam. The evidence shows that beta glucans do not have any effect on enhancing weight loss. It is instead putting a ‘band-aid’ on a bigger problem. If you believe that simply supplementing with beta glucans will help you lose weight, you will never learn how to eat or how to maintain your weight without supplements. On the other hand, if you find yourself at risk for heart disease or diabetes, I would suggest you include more food sources of beta glucans in your meals such as oats and legumes.


I hope you found this article as interesting as I did. Thank you Jennifer for your contribution to the blog this week, I am so proud of you.