Not Losing Weight?

Running or walking a bunch of miles and still not losing weight? This week our guest blogger, Dr. Alexis Shields, addresses the concept of insulin resistance.

“Why Do I Run and Still Not Lose Weight?”

Dr. Alexis Shields and other naturopathic doctors often hear questions just like this. There is nothing more frustrating than exercising and failing to lose the excess pounds. Although exercise improves overall cardiovascular health, we all want the healthy body appearance to prove it.

There are an increasing number of overweight runners. How is this possible when so many calories are burned with exercise? The idea of “calories in, calories out” may fail because calories are only one part of the equation. Why do some people run and still not lose weight? One simple answer may be insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance, otherwise known as metabolic syndrome or syndrome X, means that the body has become less effective at lowering the blood sugar. Insulin allows blood sugar to enter the cells and without it we become OVERFED yet UNDER NOURISHED. When sugar is inadequately absorbed into the cells, the sugar turns into triglycerides or fat.

NORMAL EQUATION: food consumed + insulin = nutrition to cells

INSULIN RESISTANCE EQUATION: food consumed – insulin = fat cell growth

What causes insulin resistance?
• Lack of omega 3 fatty acids in diet
• Trans fat consumption
• Nutrient deficiency necessary for healthy blood sugar metabolism
• Lack of resistance exercise
• High sugar/fructose/carbohydrate diet
• Eating between meals, i.e. snacking
• Increased stress
• Lack of protein in diet
• Sleep deprivation
• Nicotine use

Insulin Resistance Presentation
People with insulin resistance may present with a combination of the following:
• Abdominal obesity
• Fasting blood sugar >100
• Waist is greater than 40 inches in males, waist greater than 38 inches in females
• Elevated cholesterol
• History of high blood pressure and heart disease
• Hypo or hyperglycemia
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
• Elevated blood insulin
• Type 2 diabetes
• Elevated triglycerides >150
• Sugar and carbohydrate addiction

There is no single laboratory test that is used to diagnose insulin resistance. This adds to the missed diagnosis and lack of treatment. The best tests to monitor are waist circumference, triglyceride levels, fasting blood sugar, and hemoglobin A1c.

The Cure
• Proper Supplementation
• Low Glycemic Diet
• Regular Resistance Exercise to Build Muscle
• Adequate Amounts of Sleep

Where to Start?
If you have trouble maintaining a healthy weight despite regular exercise, Dr. Alexis recommends you see a holistic doctor to help determine if insulin resistance may be the reason for your struggles.

The best place to start is to slowly eliminate white sugar from your diet, eat a low- glycemic high-protein breakfast (such as a vegetable omelet), eat vegetables 3 meals a day, include resistance or weight training into your workout routine, and get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly.

Learn What to Eat and Make It Delicious!
Join us for a Portland Fit dining event! Dr. Shields, in collaboration with Abby’s Table, will provide a wellness dinner created especially for the Portland Fit community. Wellness Dinners consist of a menu designed by Dr. Alexis and Abby Fammartino focusing on healthy nutrition for athletes, injury prevention, and optimal weight management. Stay tuned for dates for the upcoming Fall/Winter season. The events will take place at Abby’s Table 609 SE Ankeny St. Portland, OR 97214, (503) 828-7662.

Click here to learn more about Abby’s amazing resources for bringing healthy, yet delicious, food to your table.

Dr. Alexis Shields is a naturopathic doctor in SE Portland who specializes in the identification and treatment of insulin resistance. To visit her website and see the clinic video go to For a free consultation call (503) 252-3952.