A Guide to Doctor-Recommended Weight Loss Programs for Diabetics

Contributory Post by Lori Dowry

Not scientifically reviewed by Dr. Eeks.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via Pexels

Diabetes, a chronic condition which affects the body’s insulin and thus glucose levels, is a health problem faced by about 537 million adults worldwide. Diabetes is a health burden not only because of its prevalence but also because of the cost and complications associated with it. Because of this, much research, effort, and resources are spent on preventing and managing this disease and its associated issues.


Being overweight or obese is one condition that complicates diabetes. Not only does excess fat and weight increase the risk of having diabetes, but it also increases the risks for serious diabetic complications such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Maintaining a healthy weight, then, is an important part of managing diabetes.


Weight Management

Diabetic weight loss programs are a form of disease management approach which focuses on achieving a healthy weight and controlling diabetes concomitantly. These types of programs include first and foremost medical supervision to assess and manage diabetes with medications. Programs are customized depending on the person to include specific nutrition needs, food tracking, and peer support to help diabetics in their weight loss journey. Medications may also be prescribed to help lose weight in addition to diabetes medications.


Here are some of the important components of diabetic weight loss programs:



Diabetics need medication to control blood glucose. Insulin is the main component of treating type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetics need hypoglycemic or antihyperglycemic agents. Of the medications for type 2 diabetics, a group of medications called GLP-1 agonists are also used for weight loss. GLP-1 medications mimic a natural hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) which helps control the release of insulin to control blood glucose levels. GLP-1 agonists have also been found to prolong the feeling of fullness and satiety.


Diabetic weight loss programs make sure that proper medications are prescribed to manage both diabetes and weight. Some plans begin with finding a doctor for assessment and prescriptions, while some coordinate with your current doctor and medications.


Meal Planning

Diet is crucial in losing weight and in managing diabetes. A healthy diet will ensure nutritional needs are still met, especially when trying to lose weight. A focus on protein is important to avoid muscle loss while losing weight. Fruits and vegetables make sure meals provide vitamins and minerals while providing a feeling of fullness.


With diabetes weight loss programs, experts help diabetics easily make meal choices. Plans are customized depending on health status, glucose levels, and weight loss goals. Some programs provide meal inspirations or recipes, some have tools for meal tracking with calories or points, and some programs provide actual meals or meal replacements. Easy glucose monitoring is also provided to ensure that everything can be adjusted depending on the body’s levels.


Long-term Habit Formation

The best diet and exercise programs are those that fit the specific health status of the person and are sustainable. Maintaining a healthy routine takes hard work and commitment in order to succeed, especially since diabetes is a lifelong condition.


With diabetic weight loss programs, the focus is on building habits by making it easy to start and easy to keep especially with lifestyle changes. Exercise and activity targets and prompts help to keep one moving. A structured and simplified approach combining all factors in one website or app makes everything easy to access to help avoid decision fatigue and diabetes burnout.



Diabetic weight management programs provide much-needed support for diabetics who are on the journey to lose weight. The programs can coordinate care and plans among different medical professionals. Some have tools for setting appointments and reminders, and some have their own professionals for support anytime. This makes sure that health is monitored and the plans are customized and adjusted accordingly. Some programs also have additional lectures or education sessions. Peer groups, community chats, or group sessions can also be available depending on the program, to help provide encouragement and empowerment.


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