Insulin Resistance and Weight Loss!
Insulin resistance and weight loss… How are they related? Insulin resistance is related to diabetes, a condition that keeps your body from producing or using its insulin effectively, and it can make it incredibly difficult to lose weight.
A heads up before reading this article: The terms ‘diabetes‘ and ‘prediabetes‘ are discussed a lot in this article. Even if you don’t have either of these conditions, don’t dismiss the information in this article. Here’s why.
Insulin resistance, left unchecked, can LEAD to diabetes.
It’s the first step in those that become prediabetic and eventually diabetic, and it’s VERY important to reverse insulin resistance so that you don’t become diabetic.
Insulin resistance and diabetes is unfortunately common in today’s world, and untold numbers of adults are prediabetic, often without knowing it.
If you’ve already received a diagnoses of type 2 diabetes or you’ve struggled throughout your life with type 1, you may have a deeper understanding of the constant struggle to maintain proper insulin levels.
Here is the problem: Insulin resistance can cause weight gain and make it VERY difficult to lose weight. The way your body breaks down sugar dictates whether you gain, maintain, or lose pounds.
To get a better understanding of this sadly all-too-common condition, let’s discuss what insulin resistance is, how this condition arises, and what you can to do successfully lose weight while managing this complication.
What Causes Insulin Resistance?
I’m going to put this in laymen’s terms so as to avoid getting too scientific (we’ll outline some more of the scientific details in the next section).
Insulin resistance is sadly a self-inflicted wound and even sadder is the fact that most people have no idea that they are doing it.
An overload of sugar and processed carbs in the body, over time, is a major cause of insulin resistance in today’s society.
What happens is that our bodies can no longer process these carbs, or ANY healthy food for that matter, we lose the inability to burn fat efficiently and weight gain begins to escalate.
This continued weight gain further worsens the insulin resistance and can lead to diabetes.
In short, you ‘break’ the body’s ability to process nutrients effectively.
What is Insulin Resistance?
As Healthline states, insulin resistance is a condition that results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin and generally leads to diabetes if left untreated.
When your body is unable to use insulin, your blood glucose levels may skyrocket and plummet multiple times per day. Sugar builds up in your blood when insulin doesn’t act.
If left unchecked, it can be dangerous for any individual. Dangerously high or low blood sugar can cause people to pass out or enter a diabetic coma.
Insulin resistance also contributes to blood vessel damage, potentially setting you up for heart disease or stroke. Managing blood sugar can help reduce these risks, although other factors can influence them too.
Because insulin resistance often occurs in individuals who are overweight or obese, higher risks are present for those groups.
Lack of physical activity coupled with insufficient management of blood sugar could even result in more weight gain, causing associated health problems to worsen.
Even people who appear to be a healthy weight can experience diabetes, so weight alone is not the deciding factor in evaluation. If you’re pre diabetic and don’t manage your blood sugar, your risk increases.
But how can you tell if your health is affected by insulin resistance?
Insulin Resistance Symptoms + How to Know If You Have It
The only way to be certain that you are experiencing insulin resistance symptoms is to visit your doctor. However, common symptoms of insulin resistance may hint at a problem before you see a specialist.
Many individuals suffer from insulin resistance for years before noticing symptoms but many people don’t realise that there is a serious underlying problem. Symptoms can include:
- Weight gain
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain fog
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Extreme hunger or thirst
- Frequent urination
- Tingling in the hands and feet
- And more
If you ignore such symptoms, full-blown diabetes may develop.
Severe complications of untreated diabetes include blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and loss of toes, feet, or legs.
The best way to ensure your health and well-being is to see your doctor or a specialist to find out if your symptoms are related to diabetes or insulin resistance, or another condition entirely.
Doctors test for insulin resistance through blood work.
Your doctor will order a blood draw which will show your average blood sugar over the previous two to three months. This is called your A1C number.
The Mayo Clinic states that this test delivers a result that tells your doctor how your blood sugar history looks. A normal A1C is any number under 5.7, while anything over 5.7 indicates a potential for diabetes.
Numbers above 6.5 on multiple tests indicate diabetes, and your doctor will prescribe a course of action that may include medication or insulin injections.
How Common is Insulin Resistance?
Heart.org reports that insulin resistance affects more than 60 million Americans. While it can lead to the development of diabetes, it is possible to live with insulin resistance without a formal diagnosis.
Healthline recommends that all people over age 40 undergo testing for diabetes, along with cholesterol and other general tests. Screening for diabetes early can prevent more serious health issues.
However, there are times when people should get tested outside of the normal window. This includes people who are mostly sedentary, have family members with diabetes or have high blood pressure.
Certain ethnic groups are at a higher risk for developing diabetes, as are women who have previously had gestational diabetes or who have had babies who weighed over nine pounds at birth.
Based on CDC data roughly 9.3 percent of the population is diabetic.
Further, over 8.1 million are estimated to have diabetes but go undiagnosed, with the diagnosed population resting at 21 million individuals.
The CDC numbers project that 15 to 30 percent of people who are currently pre-diabetic will end up with type 2 diabetes within five years of their initial diagnosis.
Finally, the CDC reports that nine out of ten individuals with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes do not know that they have either condition. This means potentially dangerous complications for that group.
What Can I Do to Lose Weight?
The number one thing that you can do to reverse insulin resistance is to CHANGE YOUR DIET.
Depending on what stage you at, you may want to consider consulting a doctor first.
If you are experiencing some or all of the symptoms, you probably want to consider getting some blood work done from your doctor. You and your doctor can then collaborate on the best course of action.
Your treatment will likely range from one for all of the following: taking doctor-prescribed medication, monitoring your food and specifically carbohydrate intake, or injecting insulin daily (only in extreme cases).
But please beware of jumping right on medication to fix your problems.
Medication will help manage your problems and symptoms, but insulin resistance CANNOT be reversed without a change in your diet and avoiding the foods that caused your problems in the first place.
Once your blood sugar stabilizes and your body’s systems are functioning optimally, exercise can also help you keep them in check.
A PubMed Study found that physical activity led to increased insulin sensitivity following exercise. When individuals with insulin resistance exercised, their bodies used insulin more easily.
The effects of exercise lasted for about sixteen hours after the study’s participants stopped their physical activity, which means their blood sugar levels may benefit longer than previously thought.
Not only does this research suggest that exercise can help those who have diabetes, but it also shows that diabetes prevention efforts should include adequate exercise.
People who suffer from high blood sugar may consult their doctors and convert to a lower carbohydrate diet. Consuming more protein along with sufficient carbohydrates helps to level blood sugars.
Eating too many foods that are high in carbohydrates causes blood sugar to spike. Balancing your diet is the first step in successfully losing weight while managing insulin resistance.
So you need to change their eating habits and find a diet that truly works for them in the long-term.