It’s no mystery, that in addition to diabetes, being overweight can lead to a host of health problems. Being overweight is known to contribute to everything from high blood pressure and heart disease to arthritis, gallstones, and sleep apnea. So, it should come as no surprise to hear that being overweight has a serious impact on the overall health of your feet.
Most obviously, excess weight contributes to pain and symptoms of almost any foot issue that may arise. Plain and simple, a foot ailment is more painful the more weight you put on it. In addition, excess pounds increase your chances of developing atherosclerosis, poor circulation, and diabetes — all of which can damage your feet.
Anyone who is dealing with foot pain should see a podiatrist right away. They will make an informed decision about what treatment is right for you based on your needs and lifestyle. Nonetheless, if foot pain is slowing you down and you are also overweight, losing weight will almost always be your first prescription.
No single diet plan is guaranteed to produce a slimmer you, but there are three things you can implement right away to help with weight loss and foot health:
Physical Activity - Aim for at least 30 minutes of strenuous physical activity (such as fast swimming) or an hour of moderate activity (such as walking briskly) on most days—more if you want to lose weight faster. But protect your feet with well-cushioned, supportive shoes. Exercise not only burns calories, it also builds muscle — or at least prevents muscle loss.
Find an eating plan that works for you. Nutrition experts emphasize limiting your intake of refined carbohydrates (such as white bread) and added sugars (soft drinks, candy, cookies). Instead, choose lean meats, whole grains, and plenty of vegetables. Use olive oil and other vegetable oils instead of butter, margarine, hydrogenated oils, and other sources of saturated and trans fats.
Be a defensive eater. Learn to stop eating before you feel stuffed. In restaurants, avoid oversized portions, share an entrée, or choose an appetizer and salad instead of an entrée. Share or skip dessert, too. Look for hidden calories: for example, an 8-ounce glass of cola has 100 calories. So does the same amount of grapefruit juice (although it's healthier because it has more nutrients). It's better to drink mainly water or seltzer, which have no calories.