4 Ways To Fix Insulin Resistance

insulin resistance

Wondering what are the 4 ways to fix insulin resistance? How is it challenging to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly? Further, what about your hormones? One of the essential hormones that control fat storage is insulin.

When insulin-resistant, your cells do not respond appropriately to the blood sugar-lowering hormone, leading to higher blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

This can also lead to increased weight gain, fatigue, and inflammation. You need to maintain a healthy balance of hormone levels to stay energized and not gain weight.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that in the body is responsible for blood sugar regulation. It is produced by beta cells (in the pancreas). It works with another hormone called glucagon to regulate blood sugar levels after a carbohydrate (sugar) meal.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance refers to a state where the cells have become resistant to the effects of insulin. This means that the cells do not behave normally when stimulated by insulin.

High insulin levels lower blood sugar by making more glucose available in the bloodstream. At the same time, when they are low, it allows glucose to enter the cells, which raises blood sugar.

When insulin resistant, your body must produce more hormones to function normally. This can lead to heart disease, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a state where blood glucose levels are higher than usual but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes has two common types: type 1 and type 2. Type 1, which accounts for only 10% of the cases in the United States, results from the pancreas not producing insulin. Type 2, on the other hand, is characterized by the body’s cells being resistant to insulin.

This can cause high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and can lead to heart disease and kidney damage if it remains untreated. Maintaining healthy insulin levels and keeping your cells sensitive to its effects is crucial.

How Do You Know You Are Insulin Resistant?

With type 2 diabetes, you may have symptoms such as increased thirst (excessive), frequent urination, fatigue, and weight gain. You may also be diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if your fasting blood sugar levels are above 100 mg/dL.

The amount of glucose when you do not eat anything for at least 8 hours is known as fasting blood sugar. If you are insulin resistant, fasting blood sugar levels will be between 100-125 mg/dL. A healthcare professional will measure insulin resistance using an oral glucose tolerance test to diagnose insulin resistance.

Related article: How Long Does It Take to Walk 4 Miles?

What Causes Insulin Resistance?

Your pancreas produces insulin when you eat too many carbs (sugars). It increases your insulin sensitivity, allowing more glucose to be dumped into your bloodstream after eating and thus reducing your fasting blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of Insulin Resistance:

  • Excess weight gain (especially in the abdominal area)
  • Fatigue or lack of energy

Impaired sleep patterns are that you can’t fall asleep no matter how much sleep you get. This symptom is more common in older overweight women with diabetes. Fasting blood sugar levels are higher than usual but not high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes. 

NOTE: see info below for other symptoms of insulin resistance

High cholesterol and triglyceride levels affect your heart health and predict heart disease. High cholesterol can increase without insulin resistance, but it is more likely.

  • Increased abdominal fat and a higher waist to hip ratio.

Does Insulin Resistance Cause Weight Gain?

Insulin is the hormone that controls fat capacity and production. When your cells are resistant to it, it will take more of it to do the same thing, leading to inflammation.

This inflammation will make you crave more food high in carbs and sugar. Your body then releases more insulin to cope with the carbohydrate load, making your cells more resistant. This is an endless loop of weight gain and increased fasting blood sugar levels.

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How to Fix Insulin Resistance?

Luckily, you can do a few things to help restore insulin sensitivity. Here are four ways to fix insulin resistance:

1. Eat a diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

It is also essential to eat more vegetables and fruits. The most nutrient-dense vegetables are broccoli, kale, spinach, and cauliflower. The fiber in these vegetables will help slow down the absorption of the sugar from your food.

Also, cooking more vegetables at home is a great way to add them to the diet. When you cook them yourself, you can control how much oil and salt you use for preparation and always include fresh herbs when cooking.

Having a meal high in saturated fat, refined carbs, and added sugars causes a spike in blood sugar levels. As a result, it triggers the release of insulin by your pancreas/insulin is supposed to lower blood sugar levels. Still, it doesn’t work as it should because your cells no longer respond appropriately to insulin.

Spices can help you regulate insulin production because they positively affect the alpha cells of the pancreas, which produce insulin. So you get an even more significant spike because your body repeatedly tries to get those blood sugar levels down with the extra insulin.

Still, eventually, they give up, and you have elevated blood sugar. You must balance your blood sugar levels by reducing how often your blood sugar spikes. Avoid white refined flour, sugar, and bleached grains. Include lean proteins, fiber, and low-fat dairy in your diet.

2. Exercise regularly.

If you are sedentary and have insulin resistance, adding even small amounts of exercise into your schedule can help tremendously. One tip is to get up and move at least once every hour during work or watching TV at home. Also, ensure that you get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five times per week for weight loss benefits and insulin sensitivity.

Exercise releases hormones that can help regulate insulin sensitivity. Get moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 30 minutes daily, including strength training. Also, adapt your exercise routine to fit your work schedule and schedule a time on days you feel like exercising. If you’re like me, sometimes I won’t be able to take a walk during the day (I work full time), but I can do it during my lunch break.

3. Start taking fish oil supplements. 

This is a crucial step because it helps balance your omega 3 fatty acids and acts as an anti-inflammatory which helps your body respond better to insulin signals.

4. Improve your sleep. 

If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to eliminate any unnecessary activity before bedtime and go to bed simultaneously each night. This is also important because sleep helps balance your hormones.

If you have diabetes, you should reduce your carbohydrate intake as much as possible. High-carb diets cause insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. This makes it even more challenging to control their blood sugar levels.

In addition, taking insulin may be necessary to take less of it if your body responds better when eating less sugar and carbs. In some cases, reducing insulin doses by 25% can help manage blood sugar levels while on a low-carb diet.

Although it is challenging to control insulin resistance, you can manage it by knowing what you eat and how it affects your blood sugar levels. Any changes you make to your lifestyle should be in consultation with your physician.

How to Correct Insulin Resistance?

Suppose you’ve been diagnosed with insulin resistance. In that case, you need to do an insulin-lowering diet to lose weight and reduce your fasting blood sugar levels. Here are six diet tips to help correct insulin resistance:

1. Focus on eating whole foods high in fiber and low in refined sugars and refined carbs. Because fiber slows down the absorption of sugar in the digestive tract, your blood sugar will be lower after eating.

Choose plant-based foods such as beans, nuts, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats such as avocados, olives, and olive oil.

2. Avoid white refined flour, dairy, potatoes, and sugar as much as possible. If you have them in your diet in small amounts, try soaking them in water first to take out some of the starch content because raw starch can cause a blood sugar spike which will then cause insulin resistance.

Also, eat organic, grass-fed, and pasture-raised meat and organic eggs. Be sure not to exceed two pieces of meat daily because too much protein can increase inflammation and insulin resistance.

3. Eat lean proteins such as fish or chicken.

4. Eat more vegetables and fruits and use lots of herbs when cooking them. I know many women are guilty of eating too many carbs, even if they are veggies, but serving them with fresh herbs will help reduce the number of carbs you eat.

5. Reduce your intake of sweets like cakes, cookies, donuts, and ice cream to two small servings per week and 100 calories or less per day from alcohol and starchy foods like bread, cereals, and pasta products.

These things cause spikes in blood sugar levels, so keep it under control by keeping your consumption of these treats to a minimum or eliminating them.

6. Exercise 30 minutes daily for at least five days a week and always try to incorporate strength training. Studies show that people who work out regularly have better insulin sensitivity even if overweight.

Insulin Sensitivity Bodybuilding

There are numerous ways of building muscle and increasing insulin sensitivity, including bodybuilding. Resistance training will help you lose weight and improve your insulin sensitivity, so bodybuilding is not the wrong way to correct insulin resistance.

How Might I Lose Fat While Building Muscle?

The best advice is not just to cut calories but also to decrease the number of carbohydrates in your diet. You should aim for 50 grams of carbohydrates or less per day, but if you’re over 200 lbs., you may need as much as 75 grams. Even more, carbohydrates could be required if you’re over 250 lbs.

To lose fat while building muscle, you will also have to exercise. You don’t need to go crazy with exercise because it’s not just about losing weight and building muscle but also about burning fat stores and improving insulin sensitivity. I recommend doing a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 4 times per week for weight loss, fitness benefits, and insulin sensitivity.

A strength training routine can help you build muscle if you are insulin resistant. Further, it helps you lose fat by improving your body’s ability to handle blood sugar levels. Thus, you would better so that you don’t have spikes in blood sugar.

Insulin Resistance Diet Plan

If you’re attempting to figure out how to correct insulin resistance, follow this diet plan. It is based on the type of diet you follow: a low-carb, gluten-free, and dairy-free regimen and intermittent fasting.

Step 1: Work out your daily calorie intake to build muscle and lose fat. This means counting calories but not cutting calories below a certain number. Any other way, your body will go into starvation mode. Further, it starts storing fat rather than burning it for energy, which we need to do for insulin sensitivity to improve.

Step 2: Cut out refined carbs and sugar from your diet, processed foods, and fast food.

Step 3: Try intermittent fasting as a calorie restriction for more weight loss. We suggest doing it for no more than five days at a time rather than daily.

Hence, the prolonged fast can put you in starvation mode, which might yield unwanted results if you try to burn fat or build muscles. If you’re insulin resistant, ask your doctor if you can do it.

How Long to Fix Insulin Resistance

Suppose you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In that case, it can take as long as 12 months for insulin sensitivity to improve by at least 50%.

Contingent upon how bad it is, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year to correct insulin resistance. The longer you have had type 2 diabetes, the harder it will be for your body to become insulin sensitive again.

Conclusion

Insulin resistance should not concern only diabetic people. However, being overweight and sedentary can also put you at risk of developing it, so you need to lose weight if you’re overweight.

You can reverse the condition by following the diet guidelines listed in this article and incorporating strength training into your weekly exercise routine. Doing so will prevent further complications like weight gain, heart disease, and eventually, Type 2 diabetes and increase your lifespan. 

Further readings: Surprising Causes of Weight Gain

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