Are You Insulin Resistant? What It Is, And Why It May Be Hurting Your Weight Loss Goals

3 out of every 10 people are insulin resistant. Are you one of them? 

Answering this question could be the key to your future health and weight loss. After today’s read, you’ll have your answer. But I won’t leave you hanging there. We’ll also look at why insulin resistance has such a big impact on your weight and what you can do about it. 

What is Insulin Resistance?

In college, could you throw back a few drinks before you felt anything? When we have alcohol regularly, our tolerance builds up, and it takes more alcohol to give us the same effects. 

Insulin resistance is similar. If our bodies are pumping out more and more insulin, eventually our cells become somewhat tolerant to it. To put it simply, insulin resistance is a condition where your cells don’t respond to insulin the way they should. Let’s take a little closer look at what insulin resistance is and why it might be happening in your body right now.

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas—an organ about the size of your hand located in your abdomen, just behind your stomach. Insulin helps to bring your blood sugar back to a normal level. So, your pancreas produces insulin when your blood sugars elevate (like if you eat a cupcake, for example). 

However, if we chronically consume large amounts of carbs and sugars (the foods that raise our blood sugar levels), this causes the pancreas to secrete more and more insulin. Over time, our cells become tolerant to insulin and require much more than the normal amount of insulin to bring our blood sugar levels back to normal.

Why Our Body’s Response to Insulin is So Important

As long as your pancreas can keep up and make enough insulin to overcome your cells’ weak response to insulin, your blood sugar levels will stay within a healthy range. But as soon as your cells turn the corner and become too resistant to insulin, your blood will fill up with too much sugar (this condition is called hyperglycemia). 

Over time, higher blood glucose levels will lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In addition, insulin resistance is associated with several other conditions, including: 

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Are You Insulin Resistant? 

You could be insulin resistant for years without knowing it. This condition comes with only a few easily-unnoticed symptoms. However, because insulin resistance has a big impact on your weight and overall health, it’s important to know as soon as possible if you have this condition. Here are three signs that point to insulin resistance: 

  1. Waist Circumference: Your risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes increases with your waist size. Women with a waist circumference of 35 or more inches, and men with a waist circumference of 40 or more inches are more likely to have or develop these conditions.

  2. Triglycerides to HDL Ratio: Many doctors and researchers are using this ratio to help predict diabetes and heart disease. To find your ratio, start with your triglyceride levels and divide that number by your HDL level (you’ll receive these after a lipid panel blood test). A ratio of under 1.1 is optimal. 1.1-1.9 is considered normal. 2.0 or higher indicates insulin resistance. 

  3. Fasting Insulin Level: Insulin levels are usually out of order long before there are abnormalities in blood sugar levels. A fasting insulin test can, therefore, help you catch insulin resistance early and predict diabetes years before your blood sugar levels become abnormal.

    Your doctor can administer a test to measure the insulin levels in your blood after at least 8 hours of fasting. While the normal range of fasting insulin varies between 2 and 20 mIU/mL, ideal numbers range between 2 and 10. 

How Insulin Resistance Wrecks Weight Loss

Insulin is the number one fat-storing hormone in your body. The best way to manage your weight, physiologically speaking, is to manage your blood glucose and your insulin levels. 

When your body pumps out even more insulin (a.k.a. the fat-storing hormone) than it should, weight loss becomes a strenuous uphill battle that few of us can win. 

Weight gain isn’t the end of this sad story. Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes. Knowing if you’re insulin resistant as soon as possible can inform and empower you to not only control your weight but also control your overall future health. 

What You Can Do About Your Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance can be temporary or chronic and is treatable in some cases. While it may not be possible to defeat insulin resistance entirely for some, there are several ways you can make your body’s cells more receptive to insulin and lessen the effects of insulin resistance. 

  1. Know Your Levels: Testing your insulin can reveal hidden problems in the way your body controls your blood sugar years before things escalate to more serious issues, such as diabetes. Insulin resistance comes in degrees. The less insulin resistant you are, the easier you can remedy the situation. 

  2. Move Your Body: Combatting insulin resistance can be as simple as slipping on a pair of sneakers. Exercise is the best way to dramatically reduce insulin resistance, and it works in two ways: First, increased muscle mass absorbs more blood glucose. Second, physical activity allows glucose to enter muscle cells without insulin, which will help lower your blood glucose levels. 

  3. Weight Loss: Weight loss can also cut down on insulin resistance. Some evidence suggests that eating low-fat and high-carb foods can worsen insulin resistance. Healthy, healing, whole foods that fill your body’s nutritional needs and help you lose weight naturally are best for your overall wellness and can increase your insulin sensitivity.

Your Health Journey Doesn’t End at Insulin Resistance

Listen to this LEAN client’s story: 

“Three years ago, I was shocked to find out my A1C was a 7.0, which is full-on Type 2 diabetes. I had to accept that I did this to myself from years of unhealthy eating, and I was the one that had to fix it. My victory today was getting results of a 5.6 A1C level, which is considered normal. LEAN has given me the tools I needed to live a longer, healthier life!!”

If you’re ready to take charge of your health and weight loss journey, you’ll love LEAN. Jump into our next session today! For more practical tips and tricks on healthy living and weight loss, sign up for my weekly newsletter here

Related Posts

Leave a Reply