I have just been told that I have Type 2 diabetes. Is it true that if I lose weight I will probably not need insulin injections?
The majority of people diagnosed with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes and do not require insulin injections initially. Diabetes is a progressive condition and therefore it is not possible to guarantee you will never need insulin.
If you are overweight at the time of diagnosis then the first line of treatment would be to encourage you to reduce your weight and increase your activity. We know that weight loss can reduce insulin resistance. So this approach will give you the best possible chance of delaying and possibly avoiding insulin therapy. Body shape is also important so losing weight from your waist area is encouraged. Targeting your activity to this effect would be very helpful.
If you are of normal weight at diagnosis, we would still encourage you to make changes to your diet and activity levels but there may be less scope for you to make a lot of changes, and you may progress to medication (tablets) and then to insulin more quickly.
I have been dieting on and off since I had my last child 15 years ago. The diabetes that I developed in that pregnancy has now returned despite the fact that I don’t take sugar in my drinks. What more can I do?
Having diabetes during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes and for most women it is temporary and resolves soon after the pregnancy. However, having gestational diabetes does increase your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes in later life. The dietary changes you have maintained (i.e. not taking sugar in your drinks) will have been helpful, but as you have had a cycle of dieting on and off over the last 15 years, our recommendation would be to aim for a more permanent lifestyle plan which would include a healthy diet and regular activity.
I have the greatest difficulty losing weight and a friend has suggested that I should try joining Weight Watchers. Will they accept people with diabetes?
Weight Watchers and other slimming clubs can be very helpful to people who are having trouble losing weight, and that includes people with diabetes. They may ask for a letter from your doctor to confirm approval. We frequently encourage people to join a slimming club, as they are often very successful in helping with weight loss where other efforts have failed. They can also support you after you have reached your target weight and need to maintain your weight loss. Any club which helps you with your motivation is to be encouraged.