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Guide to Diabetes

How can I lose weight ?

Reducing Portions

Sometimes people are already following a low fat diet and to reduce their calorie intake they have to look at reducing portions.

  • Try using a smaller plate (but be sure that the portions do not go upwards!)
  • Imagine your plate is split into sections. Aim to have half of your plate covered in vegetables, ¼ for your protein foods and ¼ for your starchy foods.
 portion plate


  • If a recipe/ food packet tells you it serves 4, make sure that you dish up 4 portions, any spare portions can/may be used the next day or frozen and used on another day as a healthy ready meal.
  •  Measure out foods like pasta and rice before you cook them. It is easy to tip the pasta/ rice straight from the packet into the pan and end up with far too much once it is cooked. The packets normally have a guide as to what counts as a portion.

*Remember, if you reduce your portions of starchy foods, you may also see a reduction in your blood glucose levels. If you start to have low blood glucose levels ( a reading of less than 4mmol/L) as a result of reducing your portions, your diabetes medication will need to reduced. Speak to your healthcare professional for advice.


 Eating behaviours

  • Try to sit at a table for your meal and ensure there are no distractions.
  • When you are distracted (e.g. watching the television) it’s easy to look down to find half the packet of biscuits gone, or that you have finished your dinner and don’t even remember eating it.
  • By sitting at a table with no distractions, it allows you to appreciate your food. You may enjoy the experience more and it may slow down your eating, allowing you time to realise you are full.
  • Try dishing your portions up before you sit down at the table. If more food is insight and available at the table, you are more likely to go back for seconds.
  • Try to take smaller bites, chew food thoroughly and put your cutlery down in between mouthfuls. This slows down your eating and also helps you to recognise when you are feeling full up.
  • Wait at least 15 minutes after finishing your meal before you decide if you are truly hungry still. It takes a little while for your brain to register that you have had enough food. If you wait 15 minutes, you may find that you do not need to eat anything more. 

Snack attack!!

First things first….. are you actually hungry?
Many of us snack through boredom, habit, comfort or because we have been tempted by something. There can be many other reasons too. Sometimes we do not even realise we are doing it. Those extra calories from snacks that we do not really need can hugely increase overall daily calorie intake .
Did you know that if you ate just two extra plain biscuits every day for a year you could gain just under 1 stone in weight !!

  • Before you snack, ask yourself….. am I really hungry? Do I need this snack? How will I feel after I have eaten it? What is the worst thing that will happen if I do not eat it?
  • Keep in mind your long term weight loss goal
  • Try keeping a food diary for a few days. This can help identify dangerous times of the day for you when it comes to snacking.

For example, you might find that when you sit down in the evening you snack more. Once you have identified this, you can start to think about how to make changes. E.g. distract yourself by doing something else to fill the time, get yourself a drink instead.

  • Keep snacks out of sight. You know the old saying, out of sight, out of mind!
  • If you are snacking to keep your blood glucose levels up then your medication should be reviewed. Speak to your diabetes team.
  • If you are genuinely hungry try to choose something from the healthy snack list but remember to watch your portions.


Try to avoid sugary drinks. They will have a large effect on your blood glucose levels and contain calories.
Instead choose water, no added sugar squash, diet fizzy drinks, sweetener in tea/coffee/ milk.
If you are out and about, be wary of the milky coffee’s in coffee shops.
Instead ask for the skinny versions and avoid the added cream/ syrups.


is very high in calories, so just a small reduction can lead to weight loss.
Remember that the recommended maximum intake is 2 units a day for women and 3 units a day for men with 2 alcohol free days each week. For more information visit drink aware

Physical activity

We have mainly focused on reducing your calories taken in from diet, but increasing your physical activity can also help you to achieve weight loss. Have a look at our Physical activity section for more information.