This is the story of how I lost 15 pounds with insulin resistance last year. I finally got to my pre-baby weight, even though I didn’t have a consistent workout routine (I’d exercise for 10 minutes sporadically). If you need to lose 15 pounds or more whether you have insulin resistance or not, these steps might help you too!
What Is Insulin Resistance
When we eat food it is broken down into smaller molecules and those molecules are transported through the blood to the cells in our bodies. One of those molecules is glucose and our cells need it to make energy and to sustain life. Insulin, on the other hand, is a hormone made in the pancreas that helps to open the cells, so that the glucose can get in.
With Insulin resistance, however, the cells won’t open, even when insulin comes knocking at the door. This then leaves the sugar in the blood, leaving us with high blood sugar aka hyperglycemia that can damage blood vessels, organs and lead to diabetes over time.
Here’s how The National Institute Of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases defines insulin resistance:
Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells’ weak response to insulin, your blood glucose levels will stay in the healthy range.
My Struggles With Insulin Resistance
If you’re new to the blog, you might not know that while I was pregnant with my boy around 4 years ago I developed gestational diabetes. Well, I thought everything would be sunshine and rainbows after the delivery – I had never been overweight or had any trouble keeping my blood sugar under control. I thought I would be back to normal in a few weeks. But I wasn’t. To my surprise, I was about 35 pounds heavier and was diagnosed with insulin resistance.
No matter what I did up until last year I couldn’t get back to my pre-baby weight and get my blood sugar under control. I even tried keto for 10 days, but it did not work well for me.
Last year might not have been the best year in many ways, but it was the year that I lost those final 15 pounds and got to a normal BMI range.
How To Lose 15 Pounds Without Exercise
Don’t get me wrong, I love exercise. I love how it makes me feel. But I do make the excuse of “I don’t have time” more often than I’d like to admit. I squeeze in a 10-minute yoga or Pilates session a few times a week, but it’s just not enough. So I wouldn’t consider working out to be a huge part of my weight loss journey. Here are the 6 things I did that made the biggest difference:
1. Identify What Is and Isn’t Working For You
A lot of times, when we start putting in the effort, we follow the tips and tricks of others who have already achieved the things we want. That advice can be super helpful, because it can put you on the right track as well. But sometimes, it can be too overwhelming or simply not work for our own lifestyle. For example, some people get great results by doing HIIT workouts, others love yoga because it helps them relieve stress and move. I personally found out, I love long walks in parks or anywhere in nature. It relaxes my mind, I am living my life and collecting new experiences along the way. For a while, I did try to do 3 HIIT workouts a week and I love the one or the other yoga session, but the reality is I simply cannot stay consistent with this type of schedule. It doesn’t work for my lifestyle. It is just too big of a change and requires too much self-discipline and motivation I simply don’t have being a mom while running two blogs.
So trial and error, do a little bit of reflection and go through a reality check of where you are right now. Write down and track what works for your lifestyle and what doesn’t. What is fun for you to do and would fit in? I recommend using this fitness planner to track habits, set goals and stay organized with your meals and activities throughout the week. It’s the one I’ve been using for a while now and it helps so much with staying motivated, grateful and clear on where you are and where you’re going. You can check it out here, make sure to use the code NTB20 for 20% off your purchase.
After a lot of trial and error, the following are the things I changed while still being able to maintain and improve my lifestyle.
2. Followed a dairy-free gluten-free diet
I finally decided to give this way of eating a try since I have a thyroid condition that could be improved with the elimination of dairy and gluten according to a reputable source named google.
I took some inspiration from my sister’s gluten-free and dairy free meal plan and decided to try it for a month.
So, I stopped eating cheese, I also quit my morning cappuccino and coffee altogether, I started buying gluten-free oats and stopped eating bread and pasta. I couldn’t tell a dramatic change – I didn’t have more energy or was feeling better than ever, but I noticed some of the symptoms go away. And it was then, when I started losing those last 15 pounds that I couldn’t lose for years.
If you can’t seem to lose weight, no matter how little you eat – I highly recommend simply making this change. As I mentioned, if you need some recipe ideas check out this meal plan.
3. Really watched my carbohydrate intake
Giving up pasta, bread and gluten altogether eliminated most of the big sources of carbs I was eating every day. But there were still potatoes, red lentils and rice and those did not have gluten, but were spiking my blood sugar like crazy and I was not feeling well after. So whenever I’d eat them – I’d eat a very small amount.
The one good source of carbs that really seemed to work well for me was beans. So I’d always put beans for my side dish, some non-starchy roasted vegetables and a fresh salad. This helped me keep my blood sugar stable and I was feeling satiated whenever I ate.
4. Prioritized Sleep
Sleep has been a rollercoaster ride this year. With my husband living on another continent, me taking care of our 3-year old alone for the entire year and keeping up with two blogs, I decided to save time by cutting my sleeping hours. Not a great idea when you’re trying to lose weight or heal! Sleep is extremely important, and it was only when I started really making it a priority that I saw a change in my physical and mental health.
5. Stopped Eating Out
I didn’t think we were huge on eating out, eating junk food or getting takeout, but after lockdown, I saw a huge difference. We’ve been avoiding both of these things and I truly believe cooking more at home and knowing what goes on my plate has opened my eyes so much more. I am more mindful of the servings of carbs, protein, and fat I eat, the vegetables I eat – everything.
6. Going out for walks
Last but not least, going on long walks outside! Making those 10,000 steps, practicing being more present and just experiencing life more outdoors. This has been so beneficial not just for losing weight and improving my insulin sensitivity, but also in reducing the stress that had built up over time.
It’s been 5-6 months now and I’ve been maintaining my weight successfully, even though I again started incorporating some dairy and gluten (and even treats during the holiday season). My next goal would be to become stronger and healthier overall. So that means a consistent workout routine, healthy meals with more fresh vegetables and less sugar, 7-8 hours of sleep every night – nothing extreme, but sustainable.
I hope these tips will help you if you’re on a weight loss journey, I know how disheartening it can be at times when you see no hope that something will change. But trust me, it will.