Feeling confused about insulin and weight loss? You’re def not alone. Insulin resistance doesn’t just increase your risk of diabetes, it can also make it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it.
But whether you’re taking insulin to manage your diabetes or not, weight loss may offer some health benefits if you’re overweight, including:
- lower heart disease risk
- improved blood sugar control
- reduced blood pressure
- less stress on your bones and joints
Here’s everything you need to know about insulin and weight loss. (Spoiler alert: slow and sustainable lifestyle changes are where it’s at.)
Insulin is a hella important hormone that’s produced in the pancreas. It plays a major role in regulating your blood sugar (aka glucose). It also stimulates fat, liver, and muscle cells to absorb sugar during digestion. Insulin resistance is when these cells don’t react to insulin like they’re supposed to.
If left unchecked, insulin resistance can lead to prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance also causes you to store body fat much more easily. This can make it harder to lose weight and might also make you gain weight.
You’re absolutely stunning at any size. But losing weight can reduce your risk of certain diseases including diabetes. Here’s the scoop:
- Decrease diabetes risk. A 5 to 7 percent weight loss can help reduce the risk of diabetes by 58 percent in adults who are at high risk for the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Improve insulin sensitivity. Losing weight can help improve insulin sensitivity (good) while gaining weight can increase resistance (bad). A 2017 study found that reducing sedentary behavior and being physically active — which can help you lose weight — may also improve insulin sensitivity.
- Heart health. Folks who have diabetes are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart disease compared to those who don’t have the disease. The good news is that losing weight can help lower blood pressure, enhance vascular health, and reduce your heart’s workload ❤️.
- Happier joints. About 47 percent of peeps who have diabetes also have arthritis. Shedding some extra pounds can reduce the extra strain on your joints. Losing even 10 pounds can take 40 pounds of pressure off your knees, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
- Reduce inflammation. Insulin resistance has been linked to inflammation, which can affect your bod in lots of WTF ways. Weight loss can help improve inflammation and may help your body feel better overall.
Losing weight can be tough if you have insulin resistance, prediabetes, or diabetes. But don’t worry! Here are some safe and effective ways you can reach your goals.
- Fuel with food. Crash diets don’t work fam. Instead, treat your body to a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Avoid highly processed foods, fried foods, or any food with a high glycemic load. Try to focus on lean proteins, veggies, healthy fats, and complex carbs.
- Set realistic goals. Studies show folks who set weight loss targets might have better results. Just make sure your goals are realistic. According to the CDC, people who lose weight gradually (like 1 or 2 pounds a week) are more successful at maintaining their weight loss.
- Work it out. You don’t have to run a marathon on the daily to lose weight. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests you get at least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio — or 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio — each week.
- Check your stress. Stress can boost cortisol levels, a vital hormone that’s been linked to weight gain, insulin resistance, and mood changes. There’s also a chance stress can make you more prone to overeating.
- Sleep it off. Most peeps should sleep 7 to 9 hours a night, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Getting less than 7 hours on the reg might increase your risk of having obesity.
Psst. Make sure you talk with your doctor before making any big changes to your diet or fitness routine.
Here’s where things get a bit tricky. You know how diabetes and insulin resistance can make you gain weight? Well, it can trigger unexpected weight loss too.
If you have Type 1 diabetes, your body produces little or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is when your body doesn’t use insulin efficiently. In either situation, your body might not be able to get enough blood sugar into your cells to use as energy. When this happens, the body can start burning muscle and fat for energy. This can make you see a sudden drop in the scales.
Unexpected weight loss is more common in folks prior to a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. But it can also affect those who have Type 2 diabetes.
FYI: Weight loss isn’t the only diabetes warning sign. Here are some other symptoms to look out for:
- blurry vision
- very dry skin
- slow-healing sores
- excessive thirst or hunger
- peeing a lot, often at night
- tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
You should talk with your doc if you have sudden or weird weight loss. They can run some tests to see what’s going on. If diabetes is to blame, they can help you establish a solid diet and fitness program to help you show your body who’s boss.
But in the meantime, don’t try to pack on the pounds in an unhealthy way. Stick to a balanced, nutritious meal plan and enjoy your regular physical activities (unless your doctor says otherwise).
Insulin is an important hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, breaks down fats, and helps your body store fat for energy. But too much insulin — due to diabetes meds or an insulin resistance — can make you gain weight.
There’s also a chance diabetes or insulin resistance can cause sudden, unexpected weight loss. This can happen if your body isn’t able to use glucose as energy, so it starts burning muscle or fat instead.
Most folks can prevent insulin-related weight fluctuations by following a healthy diet and slaying an active lifestyle. But you should def talk with your doc before making any major changes. They can help you figure out the best route for your unique sitch.