Diabetes Management
Published on: Aug 11, 2022
7 min Read

Can Insulin Resistance Be Reversed?

Can Insulin Resistance Be Reversed
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Like many people who get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I, too, wondered why me. after my diagnosis. And what was the reason? I know about the increased risks from family history and all that. But what else? 

I was a very spirited and active child. A regular old “toofan mail” if you would, being a tomboy in my teenage years, I did a lot of roughhousing and playing.

My physical fitness peaked when I was doing my undergrad studies. I joined NCC and became part of the Republic Day Camp. Between 4 am PT and 4 hours of drills, I was as fit as they came.

But as they say, physical fitness is all about consistency. When I moved to Pune for my Postgraduate degree, I gave it all in into a “free” lifestyle. And to no one’s surprise, I started gaining weight.

That was in 2015. So, 6 years later, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, there was no mystery that it had definitely had something to do with my lifestyle. Hence, I joined Fitterfly’s diabetes management program. 

But why am I telling you all this in an insulin resistance blog? Well, remember we started the blog with everyone who gets diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and wonders why them? What is the underlying factor? 

Well, the underlying factor is Insulin Resistance.

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What is Insulin Resistance?

Your body breaks down whatever you eat into sugar. This sugar needs to enter your cells to provide you with energy. Now, insulin is like a key that helps the sugar get into your cells to do what it is supposed to.

Imagine a scenario where you have lost the key or you have the wrong key. Then the glucose can’t enter the cells. So, now you have a lot of insulin that isn’t functioning well. It is known as insulin resistance.

Ideally, the key would turn the lock, and then glucose would enter the cells. Lowering the blood sugar levels. 

Insulin resistance has an impact on many aspects of your health – such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and PCOS.

It is also referred to as a silent risk as it doesn’t have many non-clinical symptoms. And therefore the best way to detect if you have insulin resistance is to get regular health checkups. 

Signs and Symptoms of insulin resistance: 

  1. A waistline of over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women 
  2. Blood pressure higher than 130/80 or higher 
  3. A fasting glucose level over 100 mg/dL 
  4. A fasting triglyceride level of over 150 mg/dL 
  5. A HDL cholesterol level under 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women
  6. Skin tags and patches of dark velvety skin known as acanthosis nigricans 
  7. Irregular menstrual cycle 

What is a normal insulin level?

Here are the normal insulin levels: 


 Insulin level  Insulin level (SI* Units) Values in Pmol/L
 Fasting  <25 mlU/L  <174 pmol/L
 30 minutes after glucose administration  30 – 230 mIU/L  204 – 1574 pmoI/L
 1 hour after glucose administration  18 – 276 mIU/L  125 – 1917 pmoI/L
 2 hour after glucose administration  16 – 166 mIU/L  111 – 1153 pmoI/L
 ≥3  hour after glucose administration  <25 mIU/L  <174 pmoI/L


How to check insulin levels?

You can book an insulin test, where a phlebotomist will take blood from a vein on the inside of the elbow. And you can then you can receive your results the next day or the same day. 

But, if you are thinking, I don’t have any issues and I am still active. How can I have insulin resistance? Here’s how it happens: 

Insulin resistance can be genetic.

However, there are also acquired causes of insulin resistance. 

Causes of insulin resistance

1. Excess body fat

Research shows that obesity, particularly excess fat around your waist and organs, is also known as visceral fat. As mentioned above, a waistline of 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women.

Visceral fat increases inflammation in your body, which can contribute to insulin resistance.                                       

2. Physical inactivity

Physical activity increases your insulin sensitivity and helps you build, which helps absorb glucose from your blood. And keep your blood sugar levels in check.

However, lack of physical activity can have the opposite effect. Leading a sedentary lifestyle with no to little physical activity can lead to obesity which can increase insulin resistance. 

3. Diet

Highly processed diets that have a high amount of carbohydrates and saturated fats get digested very quickly by your body and spike your blood sugar levels.

Increased blood sugar levels over a long span of time can increase insulin resistance by putting pressure on your pancreas to produce a lot of insulin. 

4. Medicines

Certain medications, such as steroids and certain hypertension and psychiatric disorders, can lead to insulin resistance.                                                                   

5. Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions – hormonal and genetic can increase insulin resistance. 

Can Insulin Resistance Be Reversed?

The answer is really in the question. As I learned from my coach during my program, insulin sensitivity is tied to lifestyle. And all the things that I did as a kid are what kept me happy but also healthy.

How to reverse Insulin Resistance? 

Here are all the things my coach told me to do: 

1. Become more active 

So for starters, you must try to exercise at least 2.5 hours per week. And no, walking does not count as exercise. You have to find a balance between cardio and resistance training.

Insulin sensitivity can be improved by building muscle because muscles help store glucose better and reduce insulin resistance. So, I took up playing lawn tennis, and I do some bodyweight exercises. 

2. Fix your diet 

As soon as someone tells you to fix your diet, the first thought that comes to your mind is, ab expensive cheezein kharidni padegi?! Broccoli aur kale khana padega.

But what if I could tell you that you can fix your diet by just changing a few things with ingredients that are already available in your desi kitchen? Here’s how – 

As you can see, my previous diet was karela ka sabzi (thanks to my mother) with nachini bhakri, but I was informed by my coach that my diet is low on protein.

So, I was asked to try another combination matki usal dal (yes, it’s that simple to add protein), with nachini bhakri. One simple swap, and you can see the difference in blood sugar spike. 

If you want such personalized insights for your diet, you can contact Fitterfly’s diabetes counsellor today. You keep hearing that you need to increase your protein intake, but it doesn’t necessarily mean adding paneer, chicken, mutton, or fish. It can be done simply with just a few swaps. 

3. Lose weight 

Visceral fat or fat around the waist contributes to insulin resistance. So, it is crucial to drop a few inches, especially when you have a high BMI. Losing weight doesn’t have to be stressful or a short-term goal.

My coaches have helped me cultivate habits that allow me to lose weight sustainably. Starting with better eating habits that are easy to implement, and also work exercise into my routine with busy workdays.

Starting with short 10-minute walks after every meal. And I’ve managed to drop a few inches. And thanks to their progress tracking app, I’ve also been able to stay motivated by seeing my progress. 

4. Tackle stress & sleep better 

Most people with type 2 diabetes don’t sleep well. Due to multiple reasons, sugar spikes and dips can make you restless. Also, people with diabetes struggle with frequent urination and don’t realize that it may be a sign of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

For starters make sure that you don’t have a carb-heavy dinner, which can spike your blood sugar in the middle of the night. If you are having an early dinner, then make sure to snack on some seeds or nuts to ensure your blood sugar doesn’t dip in the night.

And finally, as all desi moms say, “Phone side mein rakh ke sojao!” As for stress, whether it is a client’s deadline or climate change, we are all stressed pretty much all the time. I was no different.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma around asking for help with mental wellness in India. But trust me getting help is worth it. I have been in therapy since January of 2022, and my mental health has never been better. 


The motivation of getting healthy is easy. But following through consistently is the hard part. You can make it easy by getting help from Fitterfly Wellness App and Fitterfly’s programs (Diabefly Pro for diabetes & Reset23 for weight loss).

Get easily implementable personalized insights for nutrition, fitness, stress, and sleep every day on the app. What are you waiting for? Try now!

- By Fitterfly Health-Team
No more stress while managing diabetes

Don’t struggle alone & get the expert care you deserve

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