Pre-diabetes, or insulin resistance, makes 46% of women fat and tired, in addition to a large percentage of men. Move aside, low-fat and low-calorie mentalities. Many people think they are doing it right by just cutting back on portions and exercising 30 minutes a day. While this works for many folks, if you have insulin resistance, that scale won’t budge after the initial few pounds.
You get stuck, you get frustrated, and then you give up and gain.
Fortunately for your sanity, there is likely something more medically-based occurring in your body that is keeping you from losing the weight.
Insulin Resistance, or pre-diabetes, is a condition where your cells become insensitive to insulin. Insulin is the key that unlocks body cells to allow glucose inside. When your cells won’t ‘open’ for glucose, then all that extra sugar that is left in the bloodstream will get stored.
That sugar gets stored as fat.
Since the cell isn’t getting the glucose it needs, you’ve got a hungry cell, sending out signals for more glucose. You feel the cravings for sugars/sweets or chips/pasta. The way it works in an insulin resistant body is simply that sugars and carbohydrates are more likely to get stored as fat than to be burned off with exercise or used by the body tissues for energy.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
• Afternoon energy slumps
• Weight gain, especially in the belly
• Difficulty sleeping
• Mood swings
• Trouble focusing
• Frequent headaches
Risk Factors for Insulin Resistance
• Family History of Type II Diabetes
• Abdominal Weight (belly fat)
• History of infertility (PCOS)
When you eat a piece of fruit, which has sugar, or a small baked potato, which also becomes sugar, that glucose enters your bloodstream after eating. In a healthy cell, the proper amount of insulin is released, and the sugar enters the cell, and your blood sugar will lower naturally.
When you have lots of insulin resistant cells, a large amount of insulin has to be released, because most cells are not responding to it. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone, and since cells aren’t taking in the glucose, the body will begin storing extra sugars as… you guessed it. Fat.
Not to complicate matters, but if this is left untreated chronic blood sugar fluctuation fatigues the pancreas, which renders it less able to balance the blood sugar and can eventually lead to Type II diabetes, where pancreatic function is lowered, and medications are typically required.
The good news? Insulin resistance is completely reversible. Sometimes it requires medication, but most of the time, patients are able to reverse their insulin resistance by making lifestyle changes like eating balanced meals and developing an enjoyable exercise routine.
These types of lifestyle changes don’t happen all at once. For some people, exercise just needs to become something they do daily, just like they brush their teeth. For others, eating at home more often allows for more control and variety of foods.
If you are insulin resistant, you need make sure you are getting adequate lean protein daily and controlling the amount of carbohydrates that you eat in addition to weight loss. This is all part of leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a normal weight.
For example, it would be a lot better to snack on two low-fat string cheese sticks which has 12 grams of hunger-quieting protein (100 calories) than to snack on a 100-calorie pack of cookies. Not to mention the cheese has more calcium and nutrients than processed food snacks.
If you are concerned you may have insulin resistance, it’s easy to diagnose this with a few simple tests. It’s a lot better to catch the insulin resistance now, and make the necessary changes to avoid diabetes.
Ways to Reverse Insulin Resistance
Here, in order of importance, are ways to reverse insulin resistance and increase your health and vitality.
1. Adequate lean protein intake daily at each meal
2. Watch total carbohydrate intake per day and per meal.
3. EPA/DHA (omega-3) anti-inflammatory fish oil supplement daily
4. A healthy serum Vitamin D level of 50 or higher
5. 30 minutes or more of exercise at least 4 days per week.
6. And of course, weight loss.