How Insulin Resistance Contributes to Weight Gain

Feb 14, 2024
 How Insulin Resistance Contributes to Weight Gain
Most people associate insulin with diabetes. While that’s correct, insulin imbalances can also take a toll in other ways, including influencing your weight. If you’re struggling to drop extra pounds, here’s why insulin resistance could be to blame.

One of the unfortunate facts of life is this: It’s a lot easier (and usually more enjoyable) to put weight on than take it off. While it’s easy to blame your diet (or yourself), many people find they have trouble losing weight thanks to a “built-in” metabolic shift called insulin resistance

At the Institute for Hormonal Balance, our team helps patients manage their weight with custom plans focused on the root cause of weight gain. In this post, learn more about insulin resistance and the effect it could be having on your weight-loss attempts.

Quick facts about insulin resistance

Produced by your pancreas, insulin is a hormone that helps your body regulate blood sugar (glucose). Specifically, insulin helps your tissues and cells absorb glucose more easily and convert it into usable energy.

Sometimes, though, those cells and tissues become “desensitized” to the effects of insulin, which means they no longer absorb as much glucose as they normally do. Your body responds by producing more insulin to increase absorption by your cells.

As long as your pancreas can produce enough insulin to compensate for insulin resistance, your glucose levels tend to remain within healthy levels. Over time, though, continued insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes — and it can also influence your weight.

Insulin resistance and weight gain

Insulin resistance directly affects your metabolism — the rate at which your body converts food to energy. So, it makes sense that if you have insulin resistance, it can take a toll on your weight management, too. 

More fatty tissue

In fact, insulin resistance acts in multiple ways that lead to weight gain and make it harder to lose weight at the same time. Insulin resistance can lead directly to weight gain simply by accumulating extra fatty tissue. 

When your body doesn’t use glucose efficiently, some excess glucose left in your bloodstream gets converted into fat. That’s one reason losing weight is so difficult if you have insulin resistance.

Delayed fat breakdown

Insulin resistance makes it harder for your body to break down and use those fat stores for energy. That means more fat is left in storage, increasing weight gain, especially in the belly area.

In fact, researchers believe insulin resistance may be largely related to fat stores in the belly. These fat cells produce hormones that increase inflammation, which in turn can increase insulin resistance and additional weight gain. 

Increased appetite and cravings

Insulin resistance alters hormones associated with feelings of hunger, increasing your appetite and driving overeating. Research shows when your body produces excess insulin, cravings for carbs increase, another factor leading to weight gain.

Weight management that works

Breaking the cycle of insulin resistance isn’t easy, especially without medical intervention. Our team helps patients manage their weight with holistic, custom-tailored plans focused on each person’s unique metabolic profile, health history, and other factors. 

To learn how we can help you manage your weight successfully, request an appointment online or over the phone with the Institute for Hormonal Balance team in Arlington and Prosper, Texas, today.