This is part of a series on 13 root causes of weight loss resistance. We have to start with insulin resistance. Read my story on how I am reversing my insulin resistance and losing weight. You can watch an excerpt of this post on this video:
The most common root cause of weight-loss resistance is insulin resistance. It’s so common that it’s essential to dig in and figure out if you’re on this spectrum. Insulin resistance is a condition that builds over years or decades, and you may not notice the effects until you are in your late 30s, 40s, or 50s. Or, you might first discover it with a surprise diagnosis of PCOS while trying to conceive, or gestational diabetes while pregnant.
We need to find out if your cells are sensitive to insulin. Can they handle insulin? Can they listen to the signaling that insulin is telling them, which is to open up and let glucose come in so that you can burn it for energy? Or are they blocked, so that glucose can’t get into your cells? In this case, glucose and insulin remain circulating in your bloodstream, until your liver turns the glucose into fat to be stored for a rainy day. This intelligent mechanism worked well in the days of feast and famine. However, nowadays it backfires with the over-consumption of refined carbs and sugar over many years.
Who gets insulin resistance?
Women and girls of all ethnicities, economic backgrounds, ages, and body types. However, African-American and Hispanic women have a two to three-fold higher incidence than white women. You can also be of normal weight or thin and still be on the spectrum of insulin resistance. At least 70% of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have insulin resistance to some degree.
In the USA, at least 40% of adults over 18 have insulin resistance. It increases to 50% in the 65 and older population. Insulin resistance is an epidemic. It’s a huge passion of mine to educate women to really understand what it is, to get the concept.
You may have heard about keto and low-carb diets, and the notion that carbs are bad. It’s not that carbs are evil, it’s just that we have a plethora of insulin resistance from too many years of over-consuming refined carbs and sugar. This is why insulin and blood sugar problems are so rampant.
The genetics for insulin resistance are not bad in themselves, it’s actually a thrifty thing to be able to “hold on” during times of famine. However, we generally don’t have times of famine in industrialized Western countries. We are undernourished, but we’re overfed with processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar. This is especially true in disenfranchised and impoverished communities. And the epidemic of this has led to an epidemic of insulin resistance.
What to do?
There are ways to back out of insulin resistance before you develop type II diabetes (the end stage of the insulin resistance continuum). There are ways to heal it and to get your cells to be more sensitive to insulin, able to burn sugar and stop the fat storage. And this is absolutely something we need to look at in all situations of weightless resistance.
I recommend identifying insulin resistance early, before it becomes gestational diabetes, prediabetes or type II diabetes. It takes years and years to develop, and it takes a while to reverse. This is far easier to do when identified early on.
I screen adults age 18 and over, as well as children at risk. Childhood risk factors include family history, whether or not mom had gestational diabetes, diet and exercise habits, BMI, and medications.
The functional screening I like to do includes fasting glucose and insulin, hemoglobin A1c, a comprehensive lipid panel, a comprehensive metabolic panel, C-peptide, and occasionally a glucose/insulin tolerance test.
Do you want my help with assessing if you have insulin resistance, and if so how to reverse it for good? I got your back, this is my specialty!