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Losing Weight With Insulin Resistance: A Guide for Beginners

healthy lifestyle / losing weight with insulin resistance

Last Updated on June 28, 2022 by Lori Geurin

Losing weight can be a difficult task for anyone, but it can be especially challenging if you have insulin resistance. If you are struggling to lose weight, or if you have been unsuccessful in the past, don’t give up. Millions of people are in the same boat. There is plenty you can do to improve your health and lose weight. This guide will help get you started.

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 losing weight with insulin resistance

What Is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood glucose levels. It’s thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors, and it’s becoming increasingly common in the United States. Many Americans have insulin resistance, and many of them don’t even know it.

Women with insulin resistance are often overweight or obese, and they may have trouble losing weight despite diet and exercise. They may also have elevated blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.[*]

Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. But it doesn’t have to progress to that point. The American Diabetes Association says that there are ways to make the body’s cells more responsive to insulin. Staying active and losing weight are two of the best things you can do to improve your insulin sensitivity.[*]

What Is Blood Sugar?

Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is the main type of sugar found in the blood. It’s a major source of energy for the body, and it’s vital for good health. Insulin helps keep blood glucose levels from getting too high or too low.

Blood sugar levels can fluctuate for many reasons, including what you eat, how active you are, and whether you have diabetes. Glucose levels that are too high or too low can be dangerous.

Blood glucose is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Normal blood sugar levels are:

– Fasting blood sugar: 70–100 mg/dL[*]

– Two hours after eating: less than 180 mg/dL

If your blood sugar is higher than these numbers, you may have insulin resistance or diabetes.

What Are the Symptoms of Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance doesn’t usually cause symptoms, at least not at first. But as it progresses, it can lead to type 2 diabetes and other health problems. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance and to get tested if you think you might have it.

Signs and symptoms of insulin resistance include:

  • Weight gain, especially around the waist
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty losing weight, despite diet and exercise
  • Dark patches of skin on the neck or other body parts (Acanthosis nigricans)
  • High blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor. They can do a blood test to check your blood sugar levels and insulin levels.

How Is Insulin Resistance Diagnosed?

There is no one blood test or physical exam that can diagnose insulin resistance. But several tests can be done to check for it.

1. Fasting Blood Sugar Test

The fasting blood sugar test is the most common way to check for insulin resistance. It measures your blood sugar after you have fasted (not eaten or drunk anything) for at least eight hours. A blood sugar level of 100 mg/dL or higher indicates insulin resistance.

2. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

The oral glucose tolerance test is another way to check for insulin resistance. It measures your blood sugar after you have fasted for at least eight hours and then again two hours after you drink a sugary liquid. A blood sugar level of 140 mg/dL or higher indicates insulin resistance.

3. Hemoglobin A1c Test

The hemoglobin A1c test is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. A blood sugar level of 6.5% or higher indicates insulin resistance.

losing weight with insulin resistance / woman walking on the beach

Common Risk Factors and Causes of Insulin Resistance

There are several risk factors and health conditions that can cause insulin resistance.

1. Obesity

Obesity is the most common cause of insulin resistance. Fat cells produce hormones that can make the body resistant to insulin. Losing weight can help improve insulin sensitivity.[*]

2. Inactivity

Inactivity can also lead to insulin resistance. When you’re not active, your muscles don’t need as much sugar for energy. This can cause blood sugar levels to rise and lead to insulin resistance.

3. PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition that affects women of childbearing age. It’s one of the most common causes of insulin resistance and can also lead to fertility problems.[*]

4. Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. It’s a common cause of insulin resistance.

5. Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. It’s a common cause of insulin resistance.[*]

6. Family History

If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, you’re more likely to develop insulin resistance. This is because it can be passed down through families.

Insulin Sensitivity vs Insulin Resistance

Insulin sensitivity is the ability of your body to respond to insulin. The more sensitive you are to insulin, the better your body can use it to control blood sugar levels.

Insulin resistance is when your body doesn’t respond well to insulin. This can cause blood sugar levels to rise.[*]

Having insulin resistance doesn’t mean you have diabetes. But it does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Losing Weight With Insulin Resistance

If you have insulin resistance, weight loss can help improve your blood sugar control. It can also lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The best way to lose weight is to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. There are no specific diets or exercises that are best for people with insulin resistance. But it’s important to find a plan that works for you and stick with it.

Many of those with insulin resistance have found weight loss success by following the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet.[*]

If you need help losing weight with insulin resistance, talk to your healthcare provider. They can refer you to a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator. These experts can help you create a healthy meal plan to lose weight safely and effectively.

How To Reverse Insulin Resistance Naturally

Reversing insulin resistance occurs when blood sugar and insulin levels return to normal. This can be done through lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

Changing your lifestyle is the best way to reduce insulin resistance. Each of the following supplements are highly rated on Amazon.

1. Chromium

Chromium is a mineral that’s found in food. It’s thought to help improve blood sugar control by helping the body use insulin.[*]

2. Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that’s found in food. Antioxidants are substances that can protect cells from damage. Alpha-lipoic acid is thought to help improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.[*]

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice that’s often used in baking. It’s thought to help improve blood sugar control by helping the body use insulin more effectively.[*]

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a vitamin that’s found in food and produced by the body when it’s exposed to sunlight. It’s thought to help improve insulin sensitivity.[*]

5. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in food. They’re also known as “good” bacteria because they can help keep the gut healthy. Probiotics are thought to help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.[*]

What foods help treat insulin resistance?

Many foods can help reverse insulin resistance.

1. Fiber-Rich Foods

Eating fiber-rich foods is a good way to improve blood sugar control. Fiber can slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, which can help keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.[*]

Some good sources of high fiber foods include:

  • Whole grains, including oats, brown rice, barley, and millet
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

2. Healthy Fats

Eating healthy fats is another good way to improve blood sugar control and treat insulin resistance. Healthy fats can help slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, which can keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.

Some good sources of healthy fats include:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Olives
protein / losing weight with insulin resistance

3. Protein-Rich Foods

Eating protein-rich foods is a good way to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. Protein can help slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, which can keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.[*]

Some good sources of protein include:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Nuts

4. Low-Glycemic Index Foods

Eating low-GI foods is a good way to improve blood sugar levels. Low-glycemic index foods are slowly digested and absorbed, which can help keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.

Some good sources of low-glycemic index foods include:

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

You may enjoy this blog: 15 Easy Overnight Oats Recipes For A Healthy Morning

5. Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Eating antioxidant-rich foods may be a good way to improve blood sugar control.[*]

Some good sources of antioxidants include:

  • Berries
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Carrots
  • Radish
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spices
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Coffee
  • Green tea
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach

Foods To Avoid With Insulin Resistance:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Highly processed foods
  • Added sugars
  • Artificial trans fats
  • Processed starches
losing weight with insulin resistance / woman doing pilates

Moderate Intensity Physical Activity

Exercise is a great way to decrease insulin resistance naturally. Moderate-intensity physical activity is any activity that causes your heart rate to increase and makes you breathe faster.

Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activities include:

  • Walking briskly
  • Doing household chores, such as cleaning or raking
  • Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
  • Playing tennis or doubles badminton
  • Swimming laps
  • Water aerobics
  • Hiking on level or mild terrain
  • Aerobic exercise classes
  • Stationary bicycling
  • Elliptical training machine
  • Skiing (cross-country)
  • Snowshoeing
  • Rowing machine workouts

Is it harder to lose weight if you are insulin resistant?

The simple answer is yes.

If you are insulin resistant, it means that your body is not able to effectively use the hormone insulin. This can make it harder to lose weight because developing insulin resistance can lead to higher blood sugar levels.

When blood sugar levels are high, the body tends to store more fat. This is why people who are insulin resistant often have a higher body fat percentage.

If you are insulin resistant, follow the tips above to help you lose weight.

Is insulin resistance the same as diabetes?

No, insulin resistance is not the same as diabetes. Diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are high because the body does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot effectively use insulin.

Insulin resistance is a condition where the body cannot effectively use insulin. This can lead to higher blood sugar levels.

So, while diabetes and insulin resistance are both conditions that can lead to high blood sugar levels, they are not the same thing.

Can you be insulin resistant and not have diabetes?

Yes, you can be insulin resistant and not have diabetes. However, if you are insulin resistant, you are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Final Thoughts About Impaired Insulin Sensitivity and Weight Loss

If you are insulin resistant, follow the tips above to help you lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity. Remember that it is not impossible to lose weight if you are insulin resistant – you just have to be a little bit more diligent in your approach. Stay away from sugary foods and processed starches, make sure to get plenty of exercise and eat healthy, antioxidant-rich foods.

Do you have any tips for losing weight if you are insulin resistant? Share them in the comments below!

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