What is the most common diabetes myth? It’s solely associated with obesity and weight gain. While it’s obvious that eating as much chocolate as Augustus Gloop is bad for your health, the connection between diabetes and weight is more difficult.
According to Leigh Tracy, RD, LDN, CDE, a dietitian and diabetes educator at The Center for Endocrinology, many persons with diabetes lose weight or struggle to gain weight. (Just when we thought we’d figured it all out.)
This accidental weight loss, according to Tracy, might be caused by the loss of fluid and sugar (called glucose) during bathroom breaks. (Keep in mind that diabetes causes you to pee a lot.)
It’s also possible that medications are at blame. A new prescription might sometimes cause you to gain weight, which you then decrease once your body adjusts.
Whatever the reason for your weight loss, your doctor may advise you to work on regaining it. We recommend the following doc-approved alternatives instead of swan-diving into a mound of french fries:
13 strategies to gain weight in a healthy way
Putting on weight can be dangerous, especially if you treat it like a buffet in Vegas.
To keep your blood sugar under control, eat a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods that are also high in calories and contain low-glycemic-index carbohydrates.
Before changing your food and activity regimen to gain weight, consult your doctor or a dietician.
1. Locate your phone number
Gaining weight is analogous to losing weight in certain ways: You must know what your desired number is and how much weight you must gain to get it.
Begin by comparing your current weight and BMI to the CDC’s calculator. Set one overall goal based on the results, stating the total amount of weight you intend to gain. Then, make a list of mini-goals that include incremental progress.
2. Schedule an appointment with a dietician.
Making an appointment to see a registered dietician who specializes in diabetes may be precisely what you need, whether you’ve tried and failed to gain weight on your own or just want to get started on the right foot.
Look for certifications that indicate specialization in diabetes education, such as CDE, when choosing an RD (certified diabetes educator).
3. Increase the calorie count.
Add 500 calories to the number of calories you need to eat each day to maintain your weight. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans include estimates of daily calorie requirements based on age, gender, and level of physical activity.
4. Put nutrient-dense items on your plate.
Just because you’ve been given permission to increase your calorie consumption doesn’t imply you can eat whatever you want. Sure, stuffing your face with sugary and fatty foods will help you gain weight, but eating a pint of ice cream every day isn’t the way to go.
So, where should you concentrate your efforts? Make sure your grocery list includes plenty of nutrient-dense whole foods that are also heavy in calories.
5. Eat as though you’re a hobbit
Make like the Shirelings and have elevenses, afternoon tea, and supper instead of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Build your diet around four big meals and two snacks — one in the middle of the day and one before bedtime. Each meal should be nutrient- and calorie-dense, with the last meal providing enough energy to get you through the night.
6. Become a swole
It’s time to familiarise yourself with the weight room if you haven’t previously (or at least a couple of machines). Weight growth should include muscle, not just fat, for best health, which means hitting the gym at least three times each week.
Aim for exercises that engage all of your major muscle groups, with a resistance level that is tough but not so high that you can’t breathe.
7. Go for the low-GI carbohydrates.
There’s nothing wrong with sneaking a few more sources of complex carbohydrates into your meal plan if you’re attempting to lose weight.
If you do decide to carb up, make sure the majority of your options are low-glycemic-index carbs that won’t increase your blood sugar levels.
The American Diabetes Association recommends oatmeal, yams, beans, lentils, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice.
8. Become a pro (tein)
If you’ve increased your strength in the gym, make sure your diet is high in lean protein to encourage muscle growth. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight for active adults.
That’s a lot more than the average adult’s recommended dietary allowance of 0.37 grams per pound of body weight. At mealtimes, aim for roughly 7 ounces of meat, chicken, or fish to meet this goal.
BUT — and this is a huge but — talk to your doctor before loading up on protein.
Because persons with diabetes are more likely to have renal problems, you should be cautious about how much protein you consume. A healthcare practitioner can assist you in determining how much to consume on a daily basis.
9. Make fast your friends
You can’t argue with math when it comes to increasing calories. Eating healthy fat sources will give you the greatest bang for your money, gram for gram. Because fat has 9 calories per gram, unlike carbs and protein, which have just 4 calories per gram.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good choices. To boost your caloric intake, Tracy suggests including nuts, seeds, avocado, and oils like olive oil in your meals and snacks.
10. Keep in mind that there’s an app for that.
Why not try an app that helps you track your macros and calories instead of playing the nutrition guessing game every day? Although some of these meal trackers are intended for weight loss, they can be used by anyone.
What’s even better? The majority of them are unrestricted. MyFitnessPal, Calorie Counter by FatSecret, Lose It!SparkPeople, and MyNetDiary are some of the most popular trackers.
11. Ditch the diet food
At least for the time being. Diet soda, low-calorie beverages, and even coffee and tea can momentarily satisfy your hunger without supplying any calories. Eliminate (or at least limit) low and no-calorie foods and beverages to prevent loading up on fillers.
12. Have a food break seriously
You did it in kindergarten, and you should do it again now.
Choose nutrient-dense meals like whole grain avocado toast, apple slices with nut butter, full-fat Greek yogurt, or nuts and seeds to make snack time count (try a mix of walnuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds).
Fun fact: A tiny serving of nuts has 180 calories in it. Win!
13. Give it a good shake
Choose entire foods whenever feasible. You can always blend up your calories on those days when squeezing in one additional meal doesn’t seem probable. Tracy recommends making any of these delectable dishes at home or opting for a store-bought supplement drink.
When should you see your doctor?
Before you go shopping for more fat and calories, consult your doctor about making any dietary modifications.
Because they are in charge of your diabetes treatment plan, receiving their approval can help you avoid making any potentially dangerous dietary blunders. Plus, they’ll probably have some advice on how to gain weight in a healthy way.
If you’re experiencing any of the following red signs, Tracy recommends consulting your doctor:
- without putting in any effort
- a lot of thirsts
- Urination that is more often than usual (for some persons, urinating eight times a day is normal; anything more than that is unusual)
- excessive hunger (you eat all the time yet are still hungry)
- excessive weariness, hazy vision, wounds, and sores that take a long time to heal
Gaining weight while treating diabetes is not difficult, but it may necessitate extra patience and careful preparation.
Consider consulting with a qualified dietitian, who can assist you in developing a diet that is both diabetes-friendly and matches your lifestyle.
Always check with your doctor before making any dietary changes.