Is Insulin Resistance Sabotaging your Weight Loss?

Aug 17, 2022

Is Insulin Resistance Sabotaging your Weight Loss?

“I am doing everything right and still can’t seem to lose weight.” I hear this so often from my patients and clients.  Insulin resistance may be a primary culprit.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a storage hormone produced by our pancreas that allows our body to utilize and store the food energy we eat.  When we eat food, our pancreas makes insulin to help regulate blood sugar and store energy.  Elevated insulin also tells our body that we should not burn body fat.  

What is insulin resistance? 

Insulin resistance is when your cells don't respond effectively to insulin to use your blood glucose for energy.  With insulin resistance, your cells become less effective at using and storing energy, so your pancreas must produce extra insulin, which ultimately tells your body not to burn body fat.

Could our “diet” be making things worse?

Absolutely.  With insulin resistance, what you eat and when you eat are both important.  Many diet programs focus on cutting calories without focusing on how to eat in a way that lowers insulin.  Any diet that focuses on many small meals throughout the day can result in chronic insulin elevation, even if your calories are relatively low.  

Simple tips to reduce insulin resistance 

  1. Limit simple sugars and flour

Eating processed foods like cookies, crackers, and bread can cause a big spike in insulin. Instead try to stock up on clean foods including vegetables and lower sugar fruits, meats and vegetarian proteins, and healthy fats.

  1. Watch your eating window

When you are fasting, your insulin levels can drop, which should allow your body to use body fat as energy.  If your current eating window is 12-15 hours, do not try to limit your eating window to 8 hours right away.  You can gradually narrow your eating window over time. 

  1. Exercise

Exercise can make your muscles more insulin sensitive.   HIIT is an especially good way to increase insulin sensitivity.

  1. Sleep

Getting adequate sleep is very important for many reasons, and it is especially critical for hormonal balance.  In next week’s blog, I will discuss how many hormones involved in appetite are negatively impacted by not prioritizing sleep.