I’m Eating Right and Still Can’t Lose Weight

While surfing the web this morning, I saw a post from a lady with Type 2 Diabetes who says she’s tried everything and can’t lose weight. She said “I exercise 2-3 hours a day and eat right. I usually burn 700 to 900 calories daily and eat 1200 to 1250 daily.” Jiggle Free Zone, I hope you are not doing this! Please know that this is NOT healthy and is NOT enough calories for your body to function properly – let alone lose weight.

Severely restricting your calories is dangerous on many, many levels and completely robs you of energy. It’s no wonder you’re depressed, cranky and on an emotional roller coaster. Adding exercise to the mix further exacerbates the problem by burning away the few calories you’ve eaten. You cannot starve yourself skinny. It just doesn’t work. When you don’t eat enough calories your body goes into starvation mode and stores what you do eat to use as fuel later.

Regular exercise, eating a healthy balance of foods (see Macronutrients) and eating the proper amount of calories for your weight and activity level is the key to losing weight.

“Diets that are too severe can prove self-defeating, in part because of their effect on metabolic rate, and dangerous. Studies have shown that people who eat less than 1,200 calories per day are likely to wind up with a slower metabolic rate — which, ironically, can make it more difficult to burn calories and lose weight. Even going too long between meals can slow metabolic rate. That’s why experts recommend eating a small healthy meal or snack every 2 to 3 hours. Plus, eating helps boost calorie burn as the body works to digest foods.”  – WebMD

If you are trying to lose weight, you’d see more success by figuring out how many calories your body needs a day to function properly and maintain your current weight (see creating a calorie deficit). Your body needs energy to keep you alive and do all the other amazing physiological functions it does every second of every day. To be healthy, lose weight, and to have enough energy just to function every day, you must increase your calorie intake to a healthy level.

Controlling Weight When You Have Type 2 Diabetes

People with Type 2 Diabetes have a harder time converting carbohydrates to energy due to a lack of insulin or insulin resistance.  Carbs that are not burned for energy are stored as fat, which is why many people with Type 2 Diabetes are overweight.  Type 2 Diabetes can generally be controlled through diet, weight loss and exercise.

Before starting exercise or altering your diet, talk to your doctor first for recommendations on the type, duration and frequency of exercise that is safe for you.  If you are taking diabetes medication and feel it is making you gain weight, your doctor may know of alternative medications or can possibly change your dosage.


Exercise reduces blood sugar levels and reduces blood pressure, which can help you avoid some of the complications associated with Type 2 Diabetes.  “Exercising is the most underused treatment and it’s so, so powerful,” said Sharon Movsas, RD, a diabetes nutrition specialist at the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.


  • Switch to whole grain carbs (which digest slower than their white counterparts and thus don’t turn to sugar as quickly) and reduce your starchy carb intake since your body may have a hard time metabolizing carbs. Carbs is your body’s primary energy source, so the amount you need each day varies depending on your body and fitness activity level. Fruits and vegetables are also a carb source, so experiment with those as well.
  • Take a nutrition class. Many churches and community centers offer nutrition classes for free or at a discounted rate.
  • Seek the help of a nutritionist. A trained nutritionist can give you advice specifically tailored to meet your individual needs and based on the type and severity of diabetes you have.

Additional resources:

  • Kathy Smiths Project:YOU! Type 2
    A diet and fitness program developed in conjunction with doctors, certified diabetes educators, and the American Diabetes Association. It’s the first all-in-one lifestyle solution for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

I want you to be and feel healthy in addition to being fit. When it comes to your health, ignorance is not bliss. Educate yourself by doing online research from respected sources or enlist the help of a fitness professional so you’re armed with the information and tools you need to get fit and lose weight the healthy way.

To your health and wellness,

Coach MaShelle
Fitness Coach and AFAA Certified Fitness Instructor

Written by MaShelle Dean
Hey Fam! I'm MaShelle, your Fit & Fabulous Coach. I'm an AFAA Certified Fitness Instructor and lifestyle blogger living in Atlanta with my husbae, Ron. The Jiggle Free Zone is the place to come for fitness inspiration, product reviews, and workout proof hair tutorials. Be sure to sign up for the Fit & Fab newsletter so you never miss my tips on living a #fitandfabulous life!