Insulin is the pancreatic hormone that escorts glucose into the body's cells to provide them with energy. When cells are regularly exposed to too much glucose because of excessive simple sugar consumption or when far fewer calories are used than are consumed, insulin resistance may result.
Untreated, insulin resistance leads to fatigue, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is critical to implement lifestyle changes but although these are simple to learn most people find them challenging to implement consistently.
Lose seven percent of your body weight to reduce the risk of your insulin resistance progressing to diabetes by 60 percent, according to the National Institutes of Health. To avoid the dangerous practice of having your weight yo-yo up and down, George Blackburn, M.D., of the Center for the Study of Nutrition Medicine at Harvard University, recommends that you stop after losing 10 percent of your body weight and remain for six months at this new weight before resuming weight loss efforts. To lose one pound a week establish your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR, on an online BMR calculator. This is the number of calories you need to survive. Then multiply this number by 1.2 if you are not walking an hour a day or 1.35 if you have this level of exercise. Finally, subtract 500 from this result to find the number of calories you need to eat daily to lose one pound a week.
Take as long as you need to reach a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9. Calculate body mass index by diving your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.
Plan three meals and two snacks a day within your target daily calorie count. To optimize nutrition and reduce the level of glucose your body has to contend with at one time, select foods from the Mediterranean Diet Plan. In an article published in the July 27, 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine Mediterranean-style eating strategies include maximizing consumption of fresh vegetables and whole fruits; whole grains; and omega-3 fatty acids such as olive oil, avocado, salmon and walnuts while eliminating white flour, sugar and saturated dietary fat. This eating style resulted in a significant correction of of both blood insulin and blood glucose levels.
Walk 30 minutes per day at least five days per week to decrease insulin resistance and circulating insulin levels. This strategy, derived from the research of British physicians at Kent and Canterbury Universities, is free, not too time consuming and effective. For a greater degree of fat loss, especially in the abdomen, they recommended increasing the intensity of the walk periodically. Walking in locations with an incline, taking longer strides or walking faster each can achieve this goal. Wearing a pedometer--a device that measures your daily step count--may inspire you to increase the length of your walk slightly each day, but if you don't have one you can use landmarks to determine that you are increasing your mileage over time.
- National Institutes of Health: Insulin Resistance
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Breakthrough Your Set Point
- "New England Journal of Medicine"; Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet; Iris Shai, R.D., Ph.D. et al; July 28, 2008
- "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise";24 Weeks of Walking Decreases Waist Circumference and Enhances Insulin Sensitivity in Previously Sedentary Men; Kate Woolfe-May et al; May 2008
- "British Medical Journal"; Use of waist circumference to predict insulin resistance; Hans Wahrenberg, et al; July 15, 2005