Are you caught in the grip of Weight Gain
Insulin resistance is a major driver of weight gain, especially in the abdominal area. The good news is that it can be reversed
Let me explain.
Insulin is hormone that is released by the pancreas whenever you eat carbohydrates. This includes bread, cereal, rice, pasta, all vegetables, fruit and sugar or sugar containing foods such as cakes, biscuits, chocolate and lollies.
Carbohydrate foods are broken down in the gut and released into the bloodstream as glucose molecules. To keep the blood sugar level with normal parameters, your pancreas releases insulin, for the purpose of moving the glucose into each of your billions of cells, to be used as energy fuel for the cell.
Insulin resistance happens when you eat too many carbs over a long period of time and the insulin becomes less effective at moving the glucose into the cells. Instead, the glucose from the carbs you have just eaten get stored away as fat in the belly depriving the rest of your cells of their main source of energy. This may keep the blood sugar level in the normal range, which is why insulin resistance is not detected in common blood tests, but because your cells are lacking glucose, by the middle of the afternoon, your energy levels drop and you crave sugary foods and stimulants (a cup of coffee and a biscuit or chocolate bar).
And so, the vicious cycle continues! A big dump of sugar into your blood stream, a surge of insulin and more fat stored on the belly.
If this is not bad enough, high insulin levels have other nasty flow on effects in the body.
High insulin causes the body to release vasoconstrictors which are hormones that make the blood vessels get tight, causing blood pressure to rise.
High insulin causes the liver to make cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease.
High insulin also causes the body to release chemicals that drive inflammation in the body, increasing aches and pains and resulting in dangerous levels of background inflammation. Many life-threatening disease conditions are now known to be increased by high levels of background inflammation, including heart disease, cancer and all forms of arthritis.
So, you can see what happens if you don’t stop the vicious cycle of insulin resistance. You get fatter, more tired, you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, you become diabetic, your body and joints become painful and you end up having to take lifelong medication. Insulin resistance also affect sleep and mood.
All this from eating a high carb diet! Not a happy scenario.
What to do?
- Eat protein at every meal
- Avoid high carb foods including sugar, bread, cereal, rice, pasta and potato
- Limit fruit (berries are best)
- Eat small meals
- Strip fat away -keto diets are ideal for anyone with insulin resistance!
- Avoid processed food
- Avoid alcohol
The Magic of Eating Mindfully
Have you ever taken the time to notice how you eat?
Have you ever observed how other people eat?
I have noticed that people without a weight problem, generally eat slowly.
Not just what you eat, but how you eat, has a tremendous effect on whether you gain weight.
Eating quickly and without conscious attention leads to overeating and this has a profound effect on the hormone systems that govern hunger and satiety signals to the brain, in particular, Leptin and Ghrelin.
Simply put, if you eat quickly, your brain doesn’t have sufficient time to let you know you’ve eaten too much so you can still feel hungry even though you’ve eaten way too much food. This is a sure recipe for weight gain.
Eating mindfully is a magic key for rebalancing the Leptin and Ghrelin release, brings greater enjoyment to eating and leaves your body feeling completely satisfied with way less food.
How to Eat Mindfully
Pause before you eat
Before hoeing into your food, take a moment to stop and observe and smell the food on the plate. This morning, I had scrambled eggs, fried cherry tomatoes and avocado. The food looked beautiful on the plate with the bright yellow of the eggs, the vibrant red of the tomatoes with their glistening skin and the cool green of the avocado. The colour combination was magical.
Be grateful for the food
In years gone by, saying grace before a meal was a way of giving thanks to nature for the privilege of having a meal. Bringing forth an attitude of gratitude, changes the whole process of eating. There are many parts of the world, including Australia, where mothers literally can’t feed their children. Most of us have the privilege of eating highly nutritious food whenever we want and we often do that, without an ounce of gratitude. Gratitude opens the heart and brings an entirely different quality to the experience of eating.
Consciously taste and enjoy each mouthful
When you eat quickly, you literally don’t taste your food. The next time you eat a strawberry for example, give your full attention to the taste and texture of the fruit in your mouth. Eating a strawberry (or any food) is a wonderful, magical experience when each mouthful is savoured to the max. You will automatically eat more slowly and eat less.
With my breakfast this morning, I enjoyed the softness of the eggs, the creaminess of the avocado and the burst of acidity of the cherry tomato. Delightful!
Eat the first 3 mouthfuls in silence
It’s easy to be distracted away from the delightful experience of eating and many of these things are habitual. Some distractions would include talking on the phone, watching tv, checking emails, scrolling through Facebook, reading, doing a crossword or simply daydreaming. Eating the first 3 mouthfuls in silence, helps establish the habit of giving conscious attention to your food, or in other words, eating mindfully.
Our bodies are designed to experience both feast and famine, but for most of us these days, there is only feast. Eating quickly and without conscious attention is a common cause of overeating and leads to an imbalance in the hormones that govern hunger and satiety and weight gain. Eating mindfully breaks the cycle of unconsciously eating too much, helps you fell satisfied more quickly enhances the enjoyment of having a meal.
Written by Lynn Reidel
Naturopath | Ultra Lite Practitioner