While losing weight is a challenge that many people face, for some it can seem impossibly slow.

If you lose weight slowly, there may be a hidden reason your body does not shed the pounds known as insulin resistance.

There are few physical signs of insulin resistance, which makes the condition hard to detect.

To understand insulin resistance, you first need to understand insulin.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone from your pancreas that is released every time you eat carbohydrates.

When you eat carbohydrates, like bread, cereal, potatoes, and corn, your digestive system breaks down the carbohydrate into sugar. That sugar makes its way into your bloodstream, where it’s picked up by insulin.

Insulin’s job is to move the excess sugar, referred to as glucose, out of your blood and into your body cells.

There are three body cells that take in glucose:

  • Liver cells
  • Muscle cells
  • Fat cells

When insulin travels to one of these cells, it opens the door of the cell so glucose can go inside.

This transportation of glucose clears the blood of excess glucose, and it gives the cells a source of energy.

This system works great...in a healthy body.

What Happens in an Insulin Resistant Body?

But, if your body is insulin resistant, insulin carries glucose to your cells, knocks on the door, and nothing happens. Your cells ignore the knock and keep their doors locked.

With nowhere else to go, glucose builds up in your bloodstream leading to dangerously high blood glucose levels, which is a condition called prediabetes.

Also, because your cells are not taking in the energy they need, you feel low on energy, and you crave energy foods – carbs!

Your pancreas tries to correct this problem by pumping more insulin into your bloodstream. This surge causes an abnormally high insulin level in the blood, which leads to more problems.

  • When insulin is in your bloodstream, fat burning is shut off.
  • High insulin causes fatty acids in your blood to be pushed into fat cells.

The result of insulin resistance, is sugar cravings, fatigue and slow, or non-existent, weight loss.

How To Fix Insulin Resistance to Speed Up Weight Loss

Fortunately, insulin resistance can be corrected with a few tweaks to your healthy living habits.

  • Sleeping at least seven hours each night makes your cells more receptive to insulin’s knocking.
  • Exercise encourages the muscle cells to take up glucose, which keeps blood glucose levels under control.
  • Better carbohydrate choices are the biggest key to reversing insulin resistance.

Choosing carbohydrates in their whole form causes a slower digestion and slower trickle of sugar into your blood, which prevents a blood glucose spike.

Choose smart carbs, like oats, beans, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Your First Step

In this article you learned that insulin resistance is a silent condition that can slow your body's ability to lose weight.

If weight loss has been slow for you, then insulin resistance could be an issue.

A good first step to get yourself on the road to recovery is to commit to eating a large salad every day.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of mixed salad greens
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1/4 cup of sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1 Tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds
  • A few pieces of dried fruit (i.e. cranberries go nicely with this salad)

Commit to eating this large salad for lunch every day this week. It's packed with smart carbohydrates that digest slowly in your body and prevent a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Becky Gillaspy is the owner of DrBeckyFitness.com and a college instructor of the Science of Nutrition. For more information, visit Dr. Becky's Weight Loss Coaching Program.