Diabetes is a complicated and dangerous disease in which blood sugar levels are often too high, which can cause dizziness, increased thirst and heart problems. Diabetics need to make sure to control their weights and be neither too heavy nor too thin. If you have diabetes and need to gain weight, be aware that gaining too much weight, fat especially, can worsen the symptoms of diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Instead, you need to eat the right foods, exercise and take good care of yourself to safely gain weight.
Increase the calories in your diet while watching your carbohydrate intake. Gaining weight is simply a matter of eating more calories than you burn, but having diabetes complicates the equation because it’s not safe for diabetics to eat whatever foods they want. The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting sweets like candy and chocolate, as they can spike your blood sugar levels too quickly, and instead of eating foods with refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread and pasta, eat more whole grains like whole wheat bread, proteins like chicken and fats like olive oil. Continue to check your blood sugar levels as often as your doctor or dietitian recommends.
Eat more plant sources of fat while continuing to limit animal sources of fat. Since type 2 diabetics are at a higher risk of heart disease, the Mayo Clinic recommends that they limit their intake of fat from animals, such as beef, bacon, whole milk and butter. Instead, olive oil, nuts and avocados are all high in calories, but contain healthy unsaturated fats.
Start lifting weights or using resistance bands to strength-train at home. You can try bicep curls, push-ups, squats with weights in your hand, and any other strength-training exercise. If you are going to gain weight, make sure that some of that weight gained is muscle, which can keep you strong. According to the University of Michigan Medical Center, lifting weights can increase bone strength and actually improve glucose tolerance in diabetics. At the same time, strength training can build muscle mass so that you can gain weight. Aim for three to five days of strength training per week.
Limit the amount of cardiovascular exercise in your life. Cardiovascular exercise like running is healthy but it burns a lot of calories. Since your goal is to gain weight, you should limit either the frequency or the intensity of cardiovascular exercise. Try jogging only twice a week instead of four times or walking instead of running.