16 Jan How Insulin Resistance Limits Weight Loss (And How to Treat and Prevent It)
If you’re overweight, untreated insulin resistance is likely one of the major hormone-related causes of your weight gain – and a major barrier to losing weight and keeping it off.
Reversing insulin resistance by restoring how your cells respond to insulin signaling is vital to effective weight loss as well as overall health.
We’ll discuss here what insulin resistance is, how it prevents healthy weight loss, and the battle-tested strategies Dr. Moma uses to treat and prevent insulin resistance in her patients to help them achieve their ideal body weight.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Its primary function as it relates to weight loss and weight management is to shuttle sugar into the cells by “unlocking” glucose receptors. In this way, it is responsible for controlling how much blood sugar is in the bloodstream.
Insulin resistance — improper insulin function characterized by non-responsiveness of the cells to insulin signaling — will initially lead to a condition called hyperglycemia (AKA high blood sugar) and, eventually, if left untreated, to type II diabetes.
Among many serious health complications, insulin resistance causes unwanted weight gain.
The opposite condition of insulin resistance – which you want to achieve – is called insulin sensitivity, meaning that your body’s cells respond optimally to insulin signaling and thus properly process, store, and utilize blood sugar.
Let’s talk about how to reduce insulin resistance and increase insulin sensitivity.
What lifestyle and dietary changes can patients make to treat and prevent insulin resistance?
Scientific research demonstrates that simple yet powerful lifestyle changes – in combination with therapy — can make significant improvements to insulin sensitivity and, in turn, facilitate greater weight loss.
There are numerous (dozens if not hundreds) of lifestyle and clinical approaches to optimize insulin sensitivity. Here are just a few to treat, reverse, and prevent insulin resistance:
- Intermittent fasting (IF). Under the most basic IF regimen, this can be as easy as skipping breakfast (all those old wives’ tales about “breakfast being the most important meal of the day” are inaccurate). In fact, intermittent fasting’s insulin-sensitizing effects are why clinicians recommend all diabetics include IF in their daily routines: “Current evidence suggests that intermittent fastingis an effective non-medicinal treatment option for type 2 diabetes.”
To learn the how-tos regarding practical IF, check out our blog post on the topic.
- Reduce carbohydrate intake. Low-carb diets are generally classified as limiting carb intake to under 150 grams per day. In addition to improving insulin sensitivity, research shows that low-carb diets also have impressive cardiovascular (heart) health benefits.
For many patients, Dr. Moma recommends the ketogenic diet (AKA the “keto diet”). This requires limiting net carbohydrate intake to under 50 grams per day. Don’t fret – you can still eat delicious food and follow the keto diet. Check out some delicious keto recipes for inspiration.
- Regular exercise. Both aerobic (running, cycling) and anaerobic (weightlifting) forms of exercise improve your body’s metabolism, including how it responds to insulin signaling. Generally, higher-intensity exercise programs like HIIT training produce greater insulin-related and metabolic benefits.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). As we get older, we run increasing risks of hormone imbalance. This is especially true for men over 40 (who often experience testosterone deficiency) and women going through menopause. Hormone imbalance, in turn, is associated with metabolic impairments, including insulin resistance. For such patients, HRT is proven to restore insulin sensitivity – in addition to a host of other mental and physical health benefits.
- Semaglutide therapy. A powerful, FDA-approved weight-loss drug semaglutide promotes healthy weight loss through a variety of mechanisms, including by reducing insulin resistance. Learn more about the profound weight loss and health transformations Moma has helped render in her patients via semaglutide therapy.
The above insulin-sensitizing tactics (and others not listed here) work best when practiced in combination with one another – the more angles you attack insulin resistance from, the greater the benefits.
Dr. Moma works with each of her patients to develop an individualized, optimal insulin-sensitizing strategy to help them lose weight and – just as importantly – keep it off (no yo-yo dieting fads here).
Contact Dr. Moma to learn more about treating and preventing insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is highly treatable with the right combination of therapeutics and lifestyle changes. Dr. Moma has the clinical expertise to make it happen.
To schedule an appointment to reverse and prevent insulin resistance once and for all – and finally shed those pesky extra pounds – please contact Dr. Sylvienash Moma, DNP.