3 Weight Inclusive Tips to Insulin Resistance
Have you ever heard that you should lose weight because of something called insulin resistance? Well, there’s another way that could better help take care of your health that doesn't involve any fad diets. After you eat, your body turns food into small sugars that go into your bloodstream. The increase in blood sugar causes a hormone called insulin to be released. Insulin tells your cells to take the sugar and turn it into energy. But if you have insulin resistance, your cells don't listen to insulin as well, and the sugar stays in your blood. Around 40% of US adults have this problem. 1
Insulin resistance can happen to anyone and could put you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. It's more likely if you face issues like not having enough food, a stable place to live, or live in a polluted area.2 Even though people with insulin resistance often don't feel sick, they may start to store more fat around their bellies. Losing weight is not the only solution. Weight loss diets are not very helpful long term and may cause lasting harm.
Instead of trying to lose weight, focus on things you can control to be healthy. This means being nice to your body by staying active, thinking about food in a healthy way, and handling stress. This way can make your body and mind much healthier.3 Keep reading to learn three tips to start a weight-inclusive approach to your health.
Tip #1: Prioritize Mindful Movement
Daily movement is the best thing you can do to treat the cause of your insulin resistance. Activity helps your cells listen to insulin better. Remember, the most important goal is to have fun and start where you feel comfortable. Just moving your body just a few minutes at a time throughout the day could make a huge difference. Examples of movement include taking short stretch or walk breaks, inviting a friend to walk with you, or joining a community sport team or exercise class. Try playing games that involve movement or listening to a book while being active instead of screen time.
Tip #2: Explore a Non-Diet Approach
Think about how you eat in a new way. Instead of following strict diets, trust yourself to make good choices about your food. This can help you control your blood sugar, feel better in your mind, and avoid making bad eating decisions.4 Listen to your body when it tells you when you're hungry or full. Some ways of eating, like intuitive eating, may only be an option for some people. If you've been on diets for a long time and have trouble understanding when you're hungry or full, talking to a healthcare expert who knows about intuitive eating can be helpful. They can help you figure out how to have a healthy, stress- free relationship with food.
Tip #3: Manage Stress
Stress can make insulin resistance worse. It causes your body to release stress hormones like adrenaline, which causes insulin not to work well. Dealing with stress means understanding that we live in a fast- paced world with many things we can't control. Try to find simple ways to reduce stress, like getting
support from friends, asking for help when needed, doing quick deep breathing exercises, or gentle movement. If stress feels too hard to handle, ask a professional for help.
Insulin resistance is common and can lead to health problems. Instead of thinking only about losing weight, try a better way to take care of yourself. The main idea is to form good habits like moving your body throughout the day, eating in a respectful way, and handling stress. When you focus on your well- being, not just your weight, you're taking care of your body and mind. If you need help, you can set up an appointment at one of our clinics.
Alexandria Lotstein is a Dietetic Intern at Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She’s committed to help others make peace with food and reduce shame while supporting disease management.
Parcha V, Heindl B, Kalra R, et al. Insulin Resistance and Cardiometabolic Risk Profile Among Nondiabetic American Young Adults: Insights From NHANES. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2021;107(1):25-37.
Hill-Briggs F, Adler NE, Berkowitz SA, et al. Social Determinants of Health and Diabetes: A Scientific Review. Diabetes Care. 2020;44(1):258-279.
Duncan GE, Perri MG, Theriaque DW, Hutson AD, Eckel RH, Stacpoole PW. Exercise Training, Without Weight Loss, Increases Insulin Sensitivity and Postheparin Plasma Lipase Activity in Previously Sedentary Adults. Diabetes Care. 2003;26(3):557-562.
Soares FLP, Ramos MH, Gramelisch M, et al. Intuitive eating is associated with glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. Eating and weight disorders: EWD. 2021;26(2):599-608.