Are your weight loss efforts a constant struggle? You feel like you’re working hard, you’re eating less, you’ve shunned the quick fixes in favor of effective weight loss, but you’re just not losing weight. Worse yet, you can’t seem to control those incessant sugar cravings. Maybe there’s much more to your weight loss woes than just a lack of willpower. Many people are unaware that they may be insulin resistant, and that this condition is likely keeping them from losing weight.
How insulin works
The body breaks down food into proteins, micronutrients, and glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar we gain from digesting the starch and sugar in carbohydrates and is used by the body as a main source of fuel. The bloodstream carries glucose to individual cells to give them needed energy. Glucose in the blood is called ‘blood sugar’. As blood sugar levels rise after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin to help the cells to absorb the glucose while maintaining necessary stable blood sugar levels for the brain. Insulin regulates how the body burns and stores fat. Therefore, it’s important in maintaining a healthy weight, and especially critical if you’re not losing weight, to promote healthy insulin ‘sensitivity’.
What is insulin resistance
Diets rich in high-carb foods can cause insulin to spike too often and force the liver, fat, and muscle cells to stop responding to insulin properly. The blood sugar levels then continue to rise and the pancreas reacts by releasing even more insulin. In response to all this extra insulin, the cells reduce the ability (and number) of their insulin receptors on their surface to absorb glucose. Therefore, more and more glucose, or blood sugar, build up in the bloodstream, unavailable to the cells that need it. Those who are insulin resistant have high levels of insulin in their bloodstream as well. This sets the foundation for diabetes and heart disease. In addition, all that extra glucose forces the liver to convert it into stored fat. Those fat cells are packed with receptors that attract even more glucose, and the cycle becomes never-ending. Do you understand now why it is you are likely not losing weight?
There are other conditions, of which insulin resistance is related, that when combined, form what’s called metabolic syndrome. These other conditions include excessive waist fat, abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, and/or high blood pressure. Whether you’re dealing with insulin resistance or even metabolic syndrome, you are at risk for some serious health issues, and you must address this sooner than later.
What causes insulin resistance
Popular Western diets, loaded with refined carbs, processed foods, and significant amounts of sugar, dramatically decrease insulin sensitivity. Physical inactivity can play a role as well. Dealing with insulin resistance really comes full circle to what you have always heard in regards to weight loss – it’s largely about the quality and quantity of the foods you eat and how active you are.
Symptoms of insulin resistance
Common symptoms include fatigue, carbohydrate cravings, and weight gain. Women who are insulin resistant often find it easier to gain weight as they approach menopause. Belly fat can be an indicator of insulin resistance. The fat cells in your stomach are far more susceptible to storing excess glucose than other fat cells in your body due to their close proximity to the digestive organs.
Dangers of insulin resistance
Those who are insulin resistant can suffer from the following diseases: obesity (especially excessive belly fat), type 2 diabetes, heart disease (hardening of the arteries), breast cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney damage, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Can insulin resistance be reversed?
Yes, insulin resistance can be reversed and you can gain back a healthy level of insulin sensitivity. Addressing insulin resistance and the elevated blood sugar levels that come with it could be a very powerful factor in finally getting relief if you are not losing weight, not to mention ward off a whole host of other harmful health conditions.
Where do you start? Stop eating simple, refined carbohydrates like potato chips, french fries, candy, desserts, frozen dinners, crackers, bleached (white) bread, rice and pasta, soda, processed snack foods of any type, fruit juice, sugar and any number of other ‘foods’ like this. These foods have a high glycemic index, which means they quickly elevate your blood glucose levels once consumed. If you just read this list and groaned at the thought of giving up these items, then there’s an even better chance that insulin resistance is something you should address. Welcome and embrace natural, whole foods into your diet and become militant about reading labels, watching out for added sugars (and sodium while you’re at it). I realize that proper nutrition can be confusing, especially when food companies tell you their food is healthy even when it’s really not. I strongly encourage you to watch this FREE video for outright shocking nutrition information that will help you avoid many food mistruths and outright lies, and will help you start fighting insulin resistance today.
And here’s one more powerful nutrition tip if you’re not losing weight. Strive to eat more often. Forego the standard three meals a day for three small meals and two or three small snacks. You’ll keep your blood sugar lower by not starving between meals.
Make a move
Next, you need to get moving. Research has shown a correlation between physical activity and healthy insulin sensitivity. If you are unable to do high impact physical fitness like running, then just put on your comfortable shoes and start walking. Read my article on other fitness activities to get rid of belly fat that will get you started in the right direction. Just keep at it and don’t give up. Weight loss takes time. If you have the healthy attitude that every positive thing you do is dramatically making a difference (and it really is), then you can go about each day optimistic that you’re moving toward your goal, even if sometimes you don’t see much progress. Just be patient because it will come.
See a doctor
Reversing insulin resistance and losing dangerous body fat is your highest priority. Definitely, see your doctor discuss this more in depth. Let him or she know that you’re not losing weight and that you wish to discuss insulin resistance and how this might be affecting your efforts.