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How To Lose Weight On Insulin

Weight Is A Sensitive Issue For Many People And Getting To An Ideal Healthy Weight Is Easier Said Than Done But When You Have Diabetes There Are Huge Benefits To Losing Weight If You’re Carrying Extra Weight

You’ll have more energy, feel better in yourself, and you’ll reduce your risk of serious complications like heart disease and stroke. And if you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight could even mean going into diabetes remission.

But millions of people with diabetes find keeping to a healthy weight a huge struggle. You’re not alone in this, there’s support out there to help – a good first step is to ask your healthcare team for help and advice.

On this page:

The Benefits Of Weight Loss Especially If You Were Recently Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes May Actually Be Able To Reverse The Disease; For Others It Will Reduce The Risks Of Common But Serious Complications

Lisa M. Leontis RN, ANP-CAmy Hess-Fischl MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE

Since nearly 9 in 10 people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight or have obesity,  it is likely that your doctor will discuss the benefits—and they are signficant—to achieving weight loss.

There is some urgency to this recommendation since added adipose tissue increases your insulin resistance , and leads to further weight gain.

Reason #2: Typically Recommended Eating Patterns Often Backfire By Keeping You Hungry And Keeping Your Blood Sugar High

If you’re like most people with type 2 diabetes, you’ve been told to eat carbohydrates but eat fewer overall calories, and to eat small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar steady; you’ve probably been advised to count your carbs and eat enough of them to keep your blood sugar up after taking medication to lower it—confusing, right?

What many find as a result is that they’re always hungry, always thinking about food and facing cravings. What’s at work is a survival instinct that even the strongest-willed person can’t withstand for long. This is a situation where your physiology is fighting against you. Even worse, those frequent small meals with carbohydrates create spikes in your blood sugar followed by drops in your blood sugar—a blood sugar roller-coaster that stimulates frequent hunger.

The Real Question Isnt Whether Insulin Stops You From Burning Fat Its Whether Insulin Stops You From Losing Fat

Here’s what we can say with confidence: There’s zero scientific evidence to suggest you’ll gain weight if your energy intake is less than your energy expenditure.

Or put another way: Insulin itself doesn’t cause weight gain. You also need to eat more calories than you expend.

Remember, in healthy people, the increase in insulin after a meal only lasts a few hours. Then it returns to baseline, allowing fat burning to throttle up again.

If energy intake is lower than energy expenditure, insulin will stay low for long periods throughout the day and night. This permits fat burning to occur at full effect despite short periods of fat-burning inhibition.

So, if you initiate a diet to lose fat, you can accomplish that with or without carbs.20

Dear Doctor: Im Taking Insulin And Cant Seem To Lose Any Weight Why Is It So Difficult

How To Lose Weight If You Are Insulin Resistant

Answer provided by Robert Kushner, MD

Spring 2016

To view a full PDF of this article, please .

If the title of this article speaks to you, then you are one of 29 million people in the United States who has diabetes. Chances are that you have type 2 diabetes, which accounts for an estimated 90-95 percent of all diabetes cases. I’ll also bet that you are having difficulty managing your weight, since obesity is one of the strongest risk factors for developing the disease. In fact, the link between diabetes and obesity is so strong that many have called the combination of the two diseases “diabesity.”

The unintended consequences of some medications used to treat diabetes, like insulin, may cause additional weight gain. Fortunately, newer medications for the treatment of diabetes have been developed that do help with weight-loss. This article will provide a brief review of diabetes and the treatment options available. By reading this article, you will be better informed to have a conversation with your healthcare provider about selecting the best treatment for you.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin to overcome the resistance caused by excess body fat. The higher the resistance, the more the pancreas has to work. Throughout time, the pancreas becomes exhausted and cannot keep up. Insulin is needed to allow your blood sugar, or glucose, to enter the cells throughout the body.

Take Home Messages

Instead Of Thinking About The Effects Of Insulinor Any Of These Hormonesas An On

Your body is constantly adjusting its hormonal dials, not based solely on food intake, but also on thousands of other inputs and processes you aren’t even aware of.

The upshot: When your insulin levels are high, you’ll burn less fat for energy than when your insulin levels are low. But you won’t stop burning fat altogether.

You’ll preferentially burn carbohydrates for energy instead.


The Golo Diet: How Managing Your Insulin Levels Can Help You Lose Weight

Ophelia GrecoHealth + Fitness

If you’re on the latest diet and weight loss programs but are still struggling to lose weight, you may want to check your blood sugar levels. Research shows that those who are overweight or obese are likely to have high blood sugar levels or diabetes. According to the latest National Diabetes Statistics Report by the CDC, almost 27 million people in the US have diabetes, and 89 percent of individuals diagnosed with these health condition are overweight or obese. Proper diabetes care is essential to manage this condition, which includes medication, physical activity, and the proper diet.

Moreover, keeping your blood sugar levels low not only helps to keep you healthy, but studies show that it can even lead to sustainable weight loss and help you keep the pounds off for good.

Here’s how managing your insulin levels can help you lose weight, and what you can do to keep your blood sugar under control. 

Reason #1: With Type 2 Diabetes Insulin Is High And Insulin Is A Fat

Everyone has glucose, a type of sugar, in their blood at all times. Glucose is a source of energy that largely comes from eating carbohydrates. Simply put, when you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar rises.

Insulin is produced by your pancreas, and insulin has many functions in the body. One of insulin’s functions is to help get glucose out of the blood and into cells where it can be used.  In order to do this, insulin rises along with glucose.  So when you eat carbohydrates and glucose rises, the insulin is rising as well. Once in the cells, glucose is mostly used for energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, this process doesn’t work well anymore: your body has become resistant to the signal of insulin, so the insulin isn’t as effective at moving the glucose out of your blood. That’s how you end up with high blood sugar levels after eating carbohydrates. Having chronically elevated blood sugar levels is dangerous, so your body needs to do something about it.

Your body responds by making more and more insulin to try to get the job done. Recall now that insulin has many functions, not just to facilitate the removal of glucose from the blood. Insulin also works to promote the storage of fat and to block the release of fat from fat storage. So instead of losing weight, you just keep gaining, thanks to all that insulin.

It Doesnt Matter What You Believe About Insulin Carbohydrates Or Fat

That might sound extreme, but what you believe doesn’t change what’s needed to lose fat and keep it off :

  • Eat less energy than you expend
  • Develop eating, exercise, and stress-management habits that are sustainable long-term

If a low-carb diet helps you do that, great.

If a low-fat diet helps you do that, right on.

If a diet with a relatively equal balance of carbs, fat, and protein suits you better, that works too.

Paleo, plant-based, Meditteranean, keto, you name it: They’re all viable and can be effective, depending on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and needs.

Weight Control Through Insulin Manipulation May Result In Diabulimia

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NEW ORLEANS — For Asha Brown, her eating disorder began with food restriction and over-exercising. Constant and obsessive thoughts of weight gain and body shame left her struggling over what to eat and what not to eat each day, she said.

But as a person with type 1 diabetes, Brown soon learned she had another option — insulin manipulation.

Insulin, Brown came to believe, was a fat storage hormone, and injecting insulin was the equivalent of injecting weight gain. When Brown read an article in a diabetes magazine about teens skipping insulin to lose weight, she was not afraid of the dangerous practice. It gave her an idea, she said.

“That’s when my binging behavior began,” said Brown, now the founder and executive director of We Are Diabetes, a nonprofit devoted to promoting awareness for those with type 1 diabetes who develop eating disorders.

She said she soon began eating regular meals during the day — only taking very small amounts of insulin — and then binging on as many as 4,000 calories at night. If needed, she would again take only small amounts of insulin to avoid symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis. Each injection, she recalled, was a mental struggle.

Marcia A. Meier

“I would take just enough to survive, in my eyes,” said Brown, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 25 years.

A complicated diagnosis

Recognizing diabulimia

How To Reverse Insulin Resistance And Improve Your Hormonal Health

An imbalance in insulin and glucose levels can be easily managed with diet and lifestyle changes. If you are diagnosed with insulin resistance, here’s what you can do to reverse its course, reduce the symptoms of estrogen dominance, and stave off the hormonal cascade that causes inflammation and disease:

The Only Thing You Need To Do Is Reduce Your Bodys Insulin Release


Insulin is your body’s chief fat accumulation, fat storage, fat lockdown hormone. Each weight loss attempt described above, in its own way, reduced insulin.

Picture a winter scene. 

Looking out your Pennsylvania window you see the first snowflakes of the season. 

Environmental conditions must be just right for the snowflakes to form and then further right for them to land on the grass and trees…. and ‘stick’. If the weather supports the snow laying on hardscape like driveways and streets, accumulation ensues. 

At first the laying snow is barely noticeable. We get distracted. We walk away from the window. We don’t pay attention. 

When we look again, the view is quite different. Where, just moments before there was merely a covering, now the snow on the ground is gathering, piling even, in certain places where it sticks more easily. Conditions are ripe for accumulation. And the more consistently it snows, the more accumulation grows. 

Sound familiar? 

Weight gain is subtle. Imperceptible at first. We get distracted. And even if we are ‘eating by the rules’, whichever ones we’re drawn to or have created for ourselves, when our internal conditions are just right, fat accumulates. 

That condition is insulin. And ‘our snow’ is glucose.

accumulate : to gather or pile up especially little by little, to amass

It Starts With Finding A Way To Eat Fewer Calories Than You Need

Using insulin to lose weight

A calorie is a unit of energy, which is in the food and drink we consume. Your body uses energy for everything we do – from breathing and sleeping to exercising. When you eat, you’re replacing the energy you’ve used, which helps you to maintain a healthy weight.

As a general guide, government recommendations are that men need around 2,500kcal a day to maintain a healthy weight, and women need around 2,000kcal a day. But most people need different amounts of calories based on how their bodies work, how active they are and any weight management goals. 

We’ve put together some 7-day meal plans to help you lose weight. They’re all clinically approved, nutritionally balanced, calorie and carb counted, and can help if you want to lose weight:

Evidence shows that the best approach is the one that you’re likely to stick to. So the key is to find a plan that you enjoy and fits in with the rest of your life. Everyone’s different and what works for some may not for others.

Why Healthy Eating Paves A Path To Weight Gain Diabetes And More

This is why even the purest and most moral of eaters develop insulin resistance and the span of lousy that is part of the glucose-insulin package.

We don’t need to search very far to find a real-life example. 

Perhaps a young woman, a tender hearted good-deed doer, led by her conscience to eat morally. Shunning all animal foods, she steadfastly embraces the ethical, sustainable, local plant-based movement. 

Having formerly been a conventional foods grazer, eating more processed foods than not, she notices a fortuitous change. Weight loss. 

Her physique is slimmer. Her mood peppier. Her conscience clearer. 

Fast forward a handful of years and our plant-based eater find herself wondering… 

“Is my metabolism slowing? Am I not exercising enough? Why am I developing a ring around my waistline? And why am I always thinking about the next meal?”

Her weight up-shift is concerning. And she hears of others who have dropped significant weight by eating, of all things…..meat. 

They privately stepped off the plant platform, just for a time, and achieved terrific weight-loss results. 

Moral principle clashes with metabolic principle. The primal human need to look lovely and appear morally above reproach is powerful. She applies the same tactic. You know, just to see if it works. It does. 

Carbohydrate Foods Digest Into Sugar Or The Science Term Glucose

Glucose, beyond what our body needs at the time of eating, changes or converts into body fat which is simply stored energy.

Body fat ‘sticks’ or is inaccessible for use when conditions are right.

Body fat cannot be accessed for burning when insulin is elevated.

Body fat is controlled by insulin.

Manage insulin, and win.

Learn more about How To Lower Blood Glucose.

Here Are Some Ways To Determine If You Have Insulin Resistance:

Find your waist to hip ratio

Measure yourself around your natural waist and also around the widest part of your hips. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.  For women, the ratio should be no greater than 0.8.  If you are above that, it means that you are at risk for insulin resistance. The number for men is 1.0.

Get a fasting insulin test

Ask your doctor to order a blood glucose and insulin test.  Typically, you fast for 12 hours and then have your first blood draw.  Then you will eat a meal and get a second blood draw two hours after your meal. Fasting blood glucose levels should be under 90 mg/dL.  If your levels are 100 to 125 mg/dL you are considered in the pre-diabetes range and are insulin resistant. Fasting insulin levels should be around 5 mcU/ml Anything higher indicates insulin resistance.

Get your cholesterol checked

Abnormal blood cholesterol in addition to abnormal fasting insulin and blood glucose may indicate that you have insulin resistance, especially if you have low HDL and high triglycerides. Typically fasting triglycerides should be below 150.  But, more importantly, you want to look for a 1:2 ratio of triglycerides to cholesterol.

Do a skin check

A skin condition called acanthosis nigricans is associated with insulin resistance. Look for darkened skin patches on your neck, elbows, knees, and armpits. Skin tags are also a sign of insulin resistance.

Ways To Combat Menopausal Weight Gain Due To Insulin Resistance

Many women find that they gain weight– sometimes a significant amount – during menopause.  And, to make matters worse, their old tried and true ways of getting the weight off simply don’t work.

There are many theories regarding the causes of weight gain at menopause.  It’s a complex issue that includes a combination of poor diet sedentary lifestyle, stress, and many other factors.  But, the truth is, whatever the underlying cause, insulin resistance is the primary driver of menopausal weight gain. And, the key to reversing it and achieving lasting weight loss is to keep insulin levels low.

Now, to be clear, menopause does not cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the result of overall poor hormonal health. If you are struggling with post-menopausal insulin resistance and weight gain here are some additional recommendations:

  • Take a magnesium supplement. Fully 80 percent of people have a magnesium deficiency. If you have a high sugar diet or take certain medications, you can become deficient in magnesium even if you eat foods that contain the mineral. And, according to Carolyn Dean, M.D., many symptoms attributed to menopause are actually identical to symptoms of magnesium deficiency, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and anxiety.
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with insulin resistance?  What have you done to reverse it?

    Additional Resources from Dr. Northrup

    Losing Weight With Type 2 Diabetes: 3 Reasons People Struggle

    Sarah Hallberg, DO, MS

    Approximately 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.¹ While obesity often contributes to the development of diabetes, the bigger driver of weight gain is the high insulin levels that are found well before the diagnosis of diabetes.There are some good reasons why the standard advice of “eat less, exercise more� doesn’t deliver results for people living with type 2 diabetes.

    How To Lose Weight With Pcos And Insulin Resistance Naturally

    • November 10, 2020
    • 7 minute read

    If you have someone suffering from this syndrome and has been wondering how to lose weight with PCOS, you have come to the right place!

    To begin with, let us take some time to know what PCOS really is, its symptoms, and even the causes.

    PCOS which is the short form of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is very common among women within the age of reproduction. This syndrome is a health problem which is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. And when the hormones are altered and imbalanced, it creates a problem in the ovaries.

    Typically, the ovaries release an egg each month which is usually a marker of a healthy menstrual cycle.

    In a person suffering from this Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, the eggs may not be released or even developed at all during ovulation.


    • Excessive weight gain and difficulty to lose weight
    • Hair loss, hair thinning, or the male-baldness pattern
    • Ovarian cysts
    • Irregular menstrual cycle

    Women suffering from PCOS may have their periods every 21 days. On the other hand, some women may miss their periods times more than normal and in severe cases, they may stop seeing their menstrual flow.

    • Hirsutism

    This condition is also referred to as having too much hair on the face, chin, and other parts of the body where men usually have hair. Almost 70% of women suffering from this syndrome are affected by this hirsutism.


    Insulin Resistance Means A Body Resists Responding To Insulin

    Insulin is the hormone that signals cells to take in glucose, aka blood sugar. 

    Cells take in glucose, at insulin’s signal, for one sole purpose: to fuel energy production. 

    Problem is, if a cell is not under any demand to generate a whole lot of energy and/or the cell already has its requisite amount of glucose fuel, that cell will ‘resist’ insulin’s signal to take in more because it’s already at capacity. 

    “No thank you. We are full here.” 

    Cells are intelligent. They “know” when they are full. And they will not take in more glucose than they can handle. 

    Reason #3: Type 2 Diabetes Medications Can Drive Weight Gain

    Insulin Resistance: How To Cure Insulin Resistance, Lose ...

    Remember how your body’s own insulin is a fat-storage hormone? That’s also true for insulin that has been prescribed to you, whether delivered by injection or by pump. That’s why a common side effect of prescribed insulin is weight gain. Another class of medicine for type 2 diabetes, Sulfonylureas, work by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin. And once again, more insulin in your body means more fat storage and more weight gain.

    Intermittent Fasting Reverses Insulin Resistance Naturally

    Do you remember the body set weight? Hormones set the weight thermostat in your brain. And your body targets to adjust to it in the long run. Therefore, it suppresses the resting metabolic rate.

    For this reason, people are regaining weight after the eat less, move more regime – from “The Biggest Loser” to even bigger gainer. We better know this effect as yo-yo dieting.

    Moreover, the metabolic adaption as the body’s response to chronic calorie restriction doesn’t even recover after six years.

    And that’s what a study involving the participants of the T.V. show “The Biggest Loser” suggests.

    Furthermore, those who lost the most weight during the competition showed a greater persistence of metabolic adaption .

    Hence, this compensatory effect of a lower metabolic rate coupled with constant cravings due to small snacks seals the widely proven failure of conventional calorie reduction.

    Accordingly, an empirical study from the U.K. showed that 99.5 percent of overweight women and men could not successfully lose weight through calorie restriction .

    In contrast to calorie restriction, intermittent fasting changes the hormone balance positively.

    Since it is hormones that control our body, intermittent fasting is the most effective natural remedy for insulin resistance.

    Due to it’s fighting both primary and secondary causes of insulin resistance, fasting is that effective:

    • High insulin levels

    Hence, intermittent fasting can reverse insulin resistance naturally.

    Losing Weight With Insulin Resistance: Why Is It So Hard

    All carbohydrates break down into simple sugars upon digestion. Insulin is necessary to push sugars we ingest through diet into our cells to be used up for energy. When the body is unable to use this insulin efficiently, as is the case with insulin resistance, blood sugar levels spike. With nowhere to go, the body converts these extra sugars into fat and stores it to be used up later. Most of this fat is concentrated around the abdomen.

    In a nutshell, losing weight with insulin resistance is difficult because cells are starved of fuel when they’re unable to absorb sugar and nutrients from the blood. This leads to metabolic changes and disturbed appetite regulation, which only adds to your weight loss woes. Ghrelin is a ‘hunger hormone’ that stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage. Research has found that insulin resistance is linked to decreased plasma levels of active ghrelin and increased belly fat.

    Scientists from University of Pittsburgh found that insulin resistance causes triglyceride accumulation in skeletal muscle, leading to obesity. Their findings suggest that the underlying cause was reduced capacity for fat oxidation and not fatty acid uptake. It has also been found that abdominal fat has a significantly stronger relationship with insulin sensitivity than fat gained anywhere else on the body.

    How Can A Low Glycemic Diet Help You Achieve Weight Loss

    Lately, everyone has been raving about the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, and the DASH diet as these weight-loss solutions have delivered amazing results for many individuals who are hoping to lose weight. But now, a different type of diet is starting to create waves due to its ability to promote long-lasting weight loss while keeping blood sugar levels steady.

    The GOLO diet, which mostly comprised of foods that don’t elevate insulin levels, has been around for some time, and recent studies have shown that being on this type of meal plan can help to boost metabolism to reduce insulin resistance, burn fat, and maintain a healthy weight. 

    The GOLO diet promotes eating whole foods like lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, which makes it easy to get a whole day’s worth of essential nutrients. If the idea of calorie counting seems daunting to you, don’t fret– it’s easy to create three healthy meals everyday with this diet since you only need to include one to two portions of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables per meal. This diet also keeps you feeling full longer, which can prevent you from binge eating or consuming unhealthy snacks that can lead to a sudden spike of your blood sugar levels.


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