Blood sugar and weight control
Blood sugar is the concentration of glucose in the blood. The body self-adjustment mechanisms maintain blood sugar relatively constant, at values of approximately a gram of glucose per liter. This way, the blood permanently carries to organs and tissues the necessary amounts of blood glucose. The regulation of blood glucose is done with the help of hormonal substances. Some of them reduce blood sugar (insulin), while others increase it (glucagon, adrenaline and growth hormone).
Normal blood sugar value ranges from 4.4 to 6.7 mili-mols per blood liter (corresponds to 0.8-1.2 grams per liter), when the test is done on the blood sampled in the morning, on an empty stomach. The deviation from the values deemed normal can be either towards lowering or increasing the glucose concentration:
- Hypoglycemia (the lowering of blood sugar) causes perspirations, weakness and even the loss of consciousness if the lowering is significant. The hypoglycemic state usually occurs in a short time, from 30 minutes to one hour. This is why it has to be treated urgently, as follows:
- if the patient is conscious: by orally giving them sugar and beverages or foods containing sugar.
- if the patient is unconscious: by glucagon injection.
- Hyperglycemia (the increase of blood sugar) is one of the symptoms specific to diabetes. The hyperglycemic state settles in gradually, during several hours, and can persist for quite a long time. It is treated by a food diet poor in carbohydrates and, when needed, by receiving oral hypoglycemic agents; in certain more serious cases, like in type 1 diabetes, also by insulin injections.
Before resorting to drugs lowering the blood sugar level, try to make a change in your diet, which has the advantage of bringing the sugar in the blood to the normal concentration, without any adverse effects.
If you are overweight, this means that your heart has to work more in order to pump the blood in the entire body. That additional pressure can cause problems to the heart and your blood vessel system. Many people who have been overweight for a long period can be diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes, both diseases being risk factors for heart diseases. During the last 10 years, there has been noticed an increase in the number of overweight or obese people. Obesity ruins our hearts and, in general, it is only the result of the ratio of a too large number of calories from the diet and too little physical exercise. Therefore, if you are overweight, you must start taking steps to prevent the onset of obesity. If you are overweight or obese, you should check with your family doctor whether you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Even if you are going to lose little weight, this will be beneficial and will considerably reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Be more physically active!
Long-term physical activities can lower blood pressure and help with your weight control. Physical activities are also a very good way of reducing stress and especially to help you feel good. If you have an extremely high blood pressure, discuss to your physician before starting to do any form of physical exercise.
Stress can cause a short-term increase of your blood pressure – however, its long-term effect is more difficult to fight off.
Eat well, but try to lose weight!
Being overweight means that your heart has to work more in order to pump enough blood in the body. Additional pressure causes the wear and tear of the heart and blood vessels. Many overweigh people develop a diabetes and high blood pressure risk factors for heart diseases. In the last ten years, there was an increase in the number of overweigh and obese people. Obesity harms the heart and joints.
If you are overweight or obese and you also display other risk factors such as high cholesterol and smoking, you have to go see the family doctor even a small weight loss will improve your general health and will help you reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
If you have already had a heart attack, bypass surgery or a coronary angioplasty, it is important to take the following steps in order to lose weight:
- eat fish (for instance: sardines, salmon, mackerel, trout) twice a week.
- eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
- use rapeseed oil or olive oil if you are used to eating oil-based dressings.
Are you ready to lose weight?
- Do you gain weight every year?
- Do you have less energy than usually?
- Are you out of breath if you run to catch the bus?
It is possible that your answer is „Yes”.
By reducing your weight:
- You will feel better.
- You will look better.
- You will reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and increased blood pressure.
- You will reduce or even stop your therapy for angina, increased blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- You will surely have your own reasons to lose weight.
Is your figure in the shape of an apple or a pear?
If you are overweight, the area on your body where the excess fat is stored can affect your risk of having heart diseases. If the excess fat is deposited around the waist, it takes the shape of an apple. That shape is directly connected to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, but also of high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
If the excess fat is deposited in the hip area, the body will have the shape of a pear, which is less harmless for the health.
Use a tailor's meter to measure your waist and then check the table below to estimate the degree of risk:
Table for waist measurement:
||Women / Men
||Less than 80 cm / less than 94 cm
||From 80 to 88 cm / From 94 and 102 cm
|Increased risk||Over 88 cm / Over 102 cm|
Are you ready to lose weight?
There are 3 important things that you have to do so that the weight-loss process be successful:
- Find your motivation to lose the extra pounds/kilograms! Keeping a food and exercise diary will help you remain focused and motivated.
- Be prepared! Planning in advance helps you feel more in control over the weight loss. Be sure to have enough healthy food in your fridge fruit, vegetables, low-fat snacks such as skimmed yoghurt.
- Have your training suit and shoes prepared for your walks and physical exercise. That will make it easier for you to start the new diet and de sport plan.
Motivation is what matters most when it comes to getting the ideal weight. Motivation is what makes you start down that road and also what keeps you going.
- Start by making a list of reasons for which you like to lose weight. Keep that list and look at it any time you feel like you don't have enough motivation.
- Keep a diary for an evidence of what you eat and of the time allocated to physical exercise. That method will help you focus on what you eat and on what you need to change. The people who keep a food and exercise diary are more successful in losing the extra weight.
- Set yourself realistic goals that you will be able to reach in time for instance: one or two kilograms a week. This way, it is very possible that you reach the desired weight and at the same time maintain it.
- Put your favorite picture of you on the fridge. That will make you think before you open the fridge door: "Do I really need to eat that?".
- Lose weight with a friend or within an "acknowledged loss weight group" this way, the chances of success will increase.
- Relax! Try to control your stress level you are more likely to eat and drink more when you are tense.
- Imagine you have lost weight. Visualize that 3 or 4 times a day. Creating a mental image on the way you would like to look can make you more confident in reaching your goal.
Best Advice on Weight Loss
Pay an increased attention to the size of your food portions, especially when you are eating out.
Guide yourself by the recommendations in "The food pyramid". Focus on what you can eat, rather than on what you cannot eat. Be strict and limit your food choices. For lunch and dinner use a smaller plate and rather fill it with vegetables.
Take three regular daily meals. Research has shown that the people who regularly eat their breakfast maintain their weight within the normal limits.
Some people think that eating two smaller portions instead of a larger one makes them feel more full. Try to choose fruit, vegetables or salad as appetizers or fruit for dessert.
Learn to recognize the hunger sensation. If you're not really hungry around your meal time, eat smaller portions.
Every week, make a list of healthy foods you need in order to lose weight. Take the list with you when you go shopping. Try not to go shopping on an empty stomach.
Replace high-fat foods with healthier ones. You should choose the following:
- skimmed products instead of butter;
- skimmed milk instead of non-skimmed milk;
- skimmed cheese or cheese lower on fat instead of fat cheese;
- lean meat, chicken (but without the skin), instead of beef, sausages or bacon;
- salad dressings with no fat, instead of mayonnaise;
- fruit instead of cakes or cookies;
- small quantities de of boiled fruit to replace sweets sometimes.
Choose cooking methods involving the use of a low quantity of fat:
- Cooking in the oven or on the grill, boiling, using steam or microwave, instead of frying;
- Boiled, steamed or baked potatoes, instead of fried potatoes;
- Removing any trace of fat from the meat, as well as removing the chicken skin;
- Let the meat and sausages drain off fat on a paper towel;
- Choosing tomato sauces instead of creamy sauces for pasta or rice dishes.
- Try to have frozen food without fat, made at home or bought;
- Try to have enough vegetables and fruit;
- Home-made soup is particularly helpful, especially during colder days;
- Freeze food in special microwaveable recipients, so that they are easy to unfreeze and reheat, as the case may be. Form yourself the habit of having a bottle of water nearby. It is important to drink at least 8 glasses of fluids a day. Water can also help you feel "full" in between the meals.
If you really want to lose weight, you will be more successful if you completely give up alcohol until you reach your desired weight alcohol has many calories and can also give you the sensation of hunger. If you really need to drink an alcoholic beverage, try spritzers or a low alcohol beer.
Do not exceed the upper limits when drinking alcohol: 14 standard doses a week for men and 7 standard doses a week for women.
Support and Rewards
Ask for the support of your family and friends they can help you maintain your motivation, become more active and limit the consumption of high-fat foods.
Reward yourselves when you make a significant progress. In order to measure your progress, use a tailor's meter, scales (remember that your weight may vary if, for various reasons, you retain water. Thus, the scales will not show you the real progress made) or guide yourselves by how your clothes look on you. Weigh yourselves once a week, while wearing the same clothes. Choose a reward having nothing to do with food – for instance: a magazine, a movie, a CD, a football game, a new haircut, even a new blouse or a new shirt after you lose some weight.
Be active during the entire weight-loss process
Regular physical exercise is equally important as the diet. Exercise helps you burn calories, tone your muscles and control your appetite. To lose weight, you need to consume more energy (calories) than the body takes from food and drinks. The best method to lose weight is a combination between:
- Low-calorie food diet;
- Burning a higher number of calories through physical exercise.
To lose weight, any activity is better than a sedentary life, so you can start by being more active in your daily routine. Just do more chores such as house cleaning, car cleaning, gardening. For better results, try to establish certain activities for several days of the week. Exercise can range from daily activities to leisure activities such as walks, dancing etc.
There are a series of weight loss programs and products many of them do not work and they can sometimes do harm. Forget about magic diets and follow a weight loss plan that you will later on adopt as your lifestyle.
Daily Menu Plan
Regular meals prevent you from being hungry and assure you the daily needed dose of nutrients. For instance:
- a bowl of whole meal cereal, cut fruit and skimmed milk;
- a slice of whole meal bread or toast;
- tea or coffee.
The snack at 10:00 or 11:00:
- raw fruit or vegetables, tea, coffee or water.
- vegetables cooked in the oven, on the grill or raw, in abundance;
- 25-50 grams of lean meat, chicken, sardines, salmon, eggs or skimmed cheese;
- two slices of whole meal bread or toast;
- skimmed yoghurt or a glass of skimmed milk;
- fresh fruit;
- tea, coffee or water.
The afternoon snack:
- Fresh fruit and raw vegetables;
- tea or water.
The main meal:
- 75-100 grams of lean meat, chicken, fish (preferably fatter fish), eggs, skimmed cheese, or a few teaspoons of peas or beans;
- skimmed yoghurt or a glass of skimmed milk;
- fresh, cooked or canned fruit;
- fresh fruit;
- water or tea.
If you're hungry in between the meals, choose snacks made of fresh fruit or raw vegetables.