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Question:

I am a 16 year old diabetic. As an infant, my mother took very diligent care of me and kept my sugar at satisfactory levels. Now, as a teenager I, too am very diligent in my diabetes care.

However, I am about 15-20 pounds over weight (about 148 pounds and I am about 5'6") on a very strict diet and do lots of physical exercise. For several years I swam regularly. Now, I walk long distances, ride a bike and roller blade on occasion. Why am I not losing any weight? I cannot understand it. I am taking approximately 20 units of insulin daily, a small dose indeed and my blood sugar levels are well within normal ranges. By the way, my doctor took a blood test to check my thyroid; everything checked out. Please help me.

Answer:

Coupled with moderate reduction in food, regular exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. If you eat and drink only as many calories as your body needs, your weight will remain the same. It is when you eat more calories than your body needs that you begin to put on extra weight.

Exercise increases your body's need for calories. Exercise helps you lose weight by burning off calories. In addition, exercise increases the rate at which your body burns calories even when you aren't exercising. (This is called your resting metabolic rate). The reason for this is you body builds up muscle mass at the same time it is reducing body fat. Muscle cells use more energy then fat cells.

Even though exercise uses up lots of calories, you will get the best results when you combine exercise with a sensible food plan. It takes a lot of exercise to burn enough calories to make a difference. To lose one pound of body fat, the average person must use up 3,500 calories. Trying to burn 500 calories every day for one week to lose just 1 pound of body weight for most people is unrealistic. On the other hand, forty five to sixty minutes of brisk walking a day (burning 250 calories a session) in addition to cutting back on 250 Kilocalories a day seems to be a more realistic approach. You have just lost a pound in a healthy way.

Remember: combine exercise with a moderate adjustment in your food plan if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

PL

Original posting 15 Feb 98

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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