Healthy Weight

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight benefits your health and helps you manage your diabetes.

If you are living with pre-diabetes or diabetes and would benefit from weight loss, it is recommended to aim for a 5-10% reduction in body weight.

This amount of weight loss has been shown to be sustainable, improve diabetes management, and delay type 2 diabetes progression.

Being above your healthiest weight can make it more difficult to manage your diabetes, as well as increasing your risk of developing heart disease.

If you live with type 2 diabetes, excess weight can cause insulin resistance, when your body is not able to respond properly to the hormone insulin.

If you need to lose weight

Balance the amount of exercise you do with eating healthy food and managing your portions.
  • Follow an eating pattern that is lower in kilojoules
  • Replace highly processed foods with fresh foods
  • Avoid intake of sugar sweetened beverages
  • Move more and participate in more exercise

Note: in our older population there is an importance in preserving muscle mass, so gradual weight loss where required is suggested

Seek individualised support from an accredited practising dietitian

Waist circumference can be a good indicator of your health. Fat stored around your mid-section and internal organs puts you at more risk of developing insulin resistance and heart disease.

General recommendations for waist circumference




Increased risk

> 94 cm

> 80 cm

High risk 

> 102 cm

> 88 cm

To measure your waist, the tape measure should be placed about halfway between the bottom of your lowest rib and the top of your hip bones, roughly in line with your belly button.

Any reduction in your waist circumference is a positive step. For assistance in reducing your waist circumference you may benefit from an appointment with an APD and or Exercise Physiologist

Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used as an indicator of healthy weight for the general population. But BMI doesn’t distinguish between fat and lean muscle.

BMI calculators are available online, BMI is a measure of your weight (kg) divided by your height (m2)


BMI (kg/m2)


< 18.50

Healthy weight

18.50 – 24.9


> 25.00


> 30.00

Use your BMI in conjunction with your waist circumference for an overview of your health and health risks.

Seek advice from your health care team for advice on reducing weight and/or waist circumference if this is a health goal. You may benefit from discussions with an APD, Exercise Physiologist, and your doctor.

Reducing your overall intake of food and drinks can assist with weight loss.

  • Eat less processed foods which are often high in kilojoules, and replacing them with non-starchy vegetables, is a good place to start.
  • Focus particularly on reducing foods with added sugars and salt and those containing saturated fats.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid intake of sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Becoming more aware of your natural appetite signs can be helpful. Try to stop eating when you feel comfortably full, not necessarily when your plate is empty.
  • Snacks are not required for everyone living with diabetes, check the need for snacks with your health professional.
  • Increasing physical activity is another important strategy for managing your weight.

It’s important that any changes you make to your food intake and physical activity can be maintained long term and fit into your daily life.

Some people may be encouraged to gain weight if they are in the underweight category. This may be due to other health concerns, a low appetite or being older.

For support with your weight that is individualised to you, see an Accredited Practising Dietitian or health professional for assistance.