One of the main reasons people come to see me is because they can’t lose weight and, for many of them, I am their last hope. Have you ever considered that your struggles with weight could be due insulin resistance? In my years of experience, I’ve found that insulin resistance is one of the top reasons people struggle so hard with weight loss.
So what is insulin resistance? Many people associate the word “insulin” with diabetes, but you don’t have to be diabetic or even going through prediabetes to have insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone in all of our bodies that stores blood glucose (or blood sugar) for energy.
Let’s talk about how insulin works normally. You eat a meal and your blood sugar spikes up. Due to the high levels of sugar in your blood, your pancreas releases insulin. Now, think of insulin as keys that open doors. These keys travel to cells in your liver, muscle and fat cells and “open the door” for glucose to enter. When glucose enters it is stored for energy and your blood glucose levels go back to normal.
It sounds simple, but when you have an excess of belly fat, this process goes wrong and a whole set of frustrations start. This is due to insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, you eat this meal and your sugar spikes up like it normally would. Your pancreas still releases insulin, or keys, and goes to the doors, but now the door is blocked by fat, so the key won’t work. It’s finding resistance. This prevents the glucose from entering your cells and the glucose levels stay high in your blood.
The pancreas, detecting this high level of glucose, goes into panic mode and starts to produce more keys (releases more insulin) because it thinks you need more help. However, what ends up happening is that all of this extra insulin (keys that don’t work) are floating in your blood along with the excess glucose. Since the glucose is unable to enter your liver or muscle cells to be stored glucose, it has no choice but to be stored as fat. And where is this fat primarily stored? In your belly.
So, the next time you eat this same meal, because you will have a higher level of fat storage and your fat loss is basically stalled, you have even more resistance at your doors which makes it almost impossible to lose weight.
As you can see, insulin resistance is a silent, vicious cycle that is frustrating for so many people. This is a very complex issue and there is not one solution. You don’t need to go on fast or cut out carbs completely. Trust me, I understand the frustration because I see it everyday in my office. However, as a registered dietitian that not only sees people everyday on a one on one basis, but has done extensive research on how to help these people through this issue, I have a solution for you that has given outstanding results to thousands.
So ,how do you know if you’re at risk for insulin resistance? At risk populations include:
- Men with a waist circumference of 40 inches or more
- Women with a waist circumference of 35 inches or more
- People with prediabetes
- Women with PCOS
- Women going through menopause (menopause causes women to gain more belly fat due to the hormonal changes)
The good news is that if you lose the belly fat, your insulin starts working normally and you’ll be able to take control of your weight loss again. After years of doing ongoing research and applying the science to helping thousands of clients through this process and other difficult situations affecting weight loss, I was able to write my latest book Flat Belly 365 to help people finally take control of their weight. Join my community and visit flatbelly365.com for amazing resources that can help you boost your health.