Is Insulin Resistance to Blame for Your Slow Metabolism?

By Katie Vigesaa, RD, LD
January 13, 2014


It seems that nowadays everybody has a solution to your weight loss woes. Fancy diet pills, intense cleanses, or only eating grapefruit tops the list. Let me shed some light on something you probably already know: low fat diets don’t work. Quick fixes don’t cut it, and you’re going to feel ravenous if you only eat fruit. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is thinking of their new way of eating as a temporary fix and not a lifestyle change. This approach to weight loss will only leave you frustrated and back to square one. Are you ready to quit the fad diets and crazy cleanses and discover what is really going on with your metabolism, once and for all? If you’ve been on diet after diet and seen the weight go up and down on the scale, but you just can’t seem to keep it off, you may have become insulin resistant.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance happens to be one of the most prevalent metabolism problems people have. So what does that really mean? It means that for too long you have been eating too many processed carbohydrates. Foods such as pretzels, chips, chocolate chip cookies, popcorn, wine, that bowl of cereal you eat for breakfast, M&M’s from your co-worker’s candy dish, and that pasta dish at your favorite restaurant are all processed carbohydrates that can create insulin resistance in your body.

Biochemically, this is what happens when you’re insulin resistant:

  1. Let’s say you eat a carbohydrate such as a bagel.  
  2. The bagel breaks down to sugar in your blood stream (alarmingly, 14 ¼ teaspoons of sugar).  
  3. Over time, this excess sugar from processed carbohydrates creates a coating on the outside of your cells. This coating becomes thicker the more you eat sugar and processed carbohydrates. The coating makes your cells unable to absorb sugar or glucose, so the excess sugar in your body gets stored as body fat. This is insulin resistance.

How do I know if I’m insulin resistant?

Are you are gaining weight around the middle? Or maybe you haven’t made any changes in your eating habits, but you are starting to gain weight? These are both indications of insulin resistance. The bad news is that insulin resistance is slowing your metabolism and affecting your health. The good news is that it is reversible.

How can I stop insulin resistance in my body?

It all starts with balanced eating. By eating real foods (protein, fat and carbohydrates) in balance every time you eat, you control your blood sugar and reverse your insulin resistance.

Here are a few examples of balanced eating:

  • Breakfast: Ditch the cereal and toast; these are two processed carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar too high. Choose this balanced option instead: Eggs for your protein, sautéed peppers and tomatoes with a ½ cup of sweet potato for your carbohydrates and 1-2 tablespoons of real butter for your fat.
  • Snack: You know the junky vending machine foods aren’t good for your metabolism because they are all processed carbs! Try packing one of my favorite snacks: A meatball for protein, ½ cup of carrots for the carbohydrate and olives for a fat.
  • Dinner: Replace the pizza and pasta meals which lead to insulin resistance with two cups of chili (the protein and carbohydrate) and a side salad (more healthy carbs) with olive oil dressing (the fat). This option keeps your blood sugar stable.

Insulin resistance doesn’t break down overnight, just as it doesn’t build up overnight. If you take the balanced eating approach, you will be removing the insulin resistance from your body and restoring your metabolism.

It’s Your Year!

Before trying yet another diet gimmick, consider sitting down with one of the nutritionists at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. We will teach you how eating real foods in balance is the weight loss solution you’ve been looking for. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if 2014 was the year you finally got your metabolism on track?

For more information on the topic of metabolism, listen to our podcast: The Top Three Metabolism Problems.

About the author

Katie discovered her calling to be a nutrition educator at a young age when a teacher helped her understand the healing powers of food. Preventive nutrition is her passion because she knows that real food is critical for staying well. Katie is a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian through the Minnesota Board of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received her B.S. in food, nutrition and dietetics and a B.S. in exercise science from Concordia College. Katie worked as a clinical dietitian in a transitional care unit (TCU) at Augustana Health Care Center of Minneapolis where she helped patients understand the importance of good nutrition and how food choices affect health.

View all posts by Katie Vigesaa, RD, LD


Jodi Millner
I have attended some of your classes, as well as met with one of your nutritionists.
Both have provided help, information and support.
BUT, what I struggle most with is creating a meal plan.

I am a type 1 diabetic and regardless of the amount of exercise or limiting calories, I continue to gain weight. My doctor feels I am becoming insulin resistant.

Do you provide meal plans? I feel I have the information I need to make good choices, I just now really need a food plan to put it all in to practice.

March 8, 2017 at 8:15 am


We get it! Here's what Alyssa one of our nutritionists suggests for meal planning, and what Brenna, another nutritionist does, 

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