Lose that muffin top with this plan
I'm about to tell you a weight loss secret that everyone should know but it's literally never talked about. We're so focused on the sugar, the fats, the cardio, the calories - barf! Ok, ready for this? The reason the majority of us can't lose weight and balance our hormones is that we are likely insulin resistant. If you are anything like me, you're probably asking yourself what the hell this means.
Insulin resistance is something I have been struggling with for more than five years. It is hard to understand at first, but it's an easy concept once you get the hang of it. Here's what you need to know, Insulin is the master hormone that decides if the body will ultimately store food or use the stored fat/glucose in the body as fuel. Signs of insulin resistance include struggling to stay full, crashing hard after high carb or big meals, brain fog (it's like being in an episode of Pigs in Space), struggle to lose weight, experiencing nausea and awful mood swings. All this is a result of not teaching our bodies how to use stored nutrients.
How can this be? I exercise and eat healthily — says the annoying voice in my head. I learned, eating healthy food and getting some exercise is the bare minimum. These concepts are only the tip of the iceberg when understanding how the body works. Check out my article on Why blood sugar is the key to weight loss for more details.
So forget about all this yammer, I want to move on and share some solid tips from my journey to understanding insulin. These basics helped me to quickly adapt my lifestyle to reach the incremental goals I set out for myself. I've detailed my base plan including supplements and food choices (legal disclaimer, I'm not a Dr. so consult with your healthcare professional to see if this is recommended for you).
Let’s start off by talk about macros for weight loss. Not the IIFYM kind. More of the bird's-eye view of how you want to intake food on the whole. My suggestion is to split your diet like this:
Remember, food is fuel. Don't pick a crappy source over something more valuable.
Here’s an important rule, EAT CARBS, the quality kind. When you cut out carbs, you risk screwing up your thyroid. If you deprive your body long enough, you’ll have bigger headaches than losing extra pounds. I speak from experience. I battled a nasty case of brain fog for many years while sticking to a no-carb diet so trust me the outcome isn't good.
About carb sources, I like the following:
Fruit - mostly thin-skinned (bananas, oranges and the like are a little too sugary for me)
FYI - while in weight loss mode, I rarely include any other carb sources. Remember to reference serving size.
SUGAR SPIKES/INSULIN SPIKES
Take note, before you down the fruit bowl consider this; you don’t want to be powering up with fruit sugars in the AM (bye, bye acai berry bowls). Make fruit the compliment to your meal — think 1/4 cup of berries in shakes and meal toppers. You don't want to spike your blood sugar first thing. I save the majority of my fruit servings for the afternoon/early evening.
I've found that eating the bulk of carb calories while you’re active makes sense. If you’re a superstar, you can save carbs for after workouts since less spiking occurs post-high-intensity exercise.
Essentially, what I’m aiming to do is stabilize my blood sugar from sun-up to sundown. One way of helping to balance your system while eating carbs is to take a chromium supplement. I like the one from DFH. If you can't find this one, ask for a high-quality blend of ingredients that closely resemble this formula. I'm not a huge fan of taking straight up chromium only but do what you gotta do with respect to availability.
You've probably heard this a lot lately, take your (high quality) fish oils. In this case, taking omega-3 is correlated with higher insulin sensitivity. It's a good thing.
If you have a sluggish or compromised digestion, consider taking an HCL enzyme mid-meal. In the quest to balance your blood sugar, it’s key to break down and assimilate food. I like this one by ATP.
A FINAL WORD ON EXERCISE
You’ve never seen someone argue with themselves the way I do when it’s time to go for a run or lift weights. I always tell myself the same things to keep my motivation high:
- Exercise makes you more insulin sensitive - this is a good thing — you can eat and your blood sugar won’t spike as high. Remember, you're doing this for health, mobility and mood.
- Exercise is not a choice - you need this to connect your body and brain. You don’t want to be some old woman in the home who lost her marbles too early. Exercise helps to keep you mentally young.
- Exercise gives you good face! Exercise stimulates blood flow, collagen and a healthy glow — even 20 minutes can make a big difference. Do it, damn it. It will keep you sexy!