Are you someone who gets ‘hangry’? That irritability, sudden anger and possible fatigue that comes between meals? Or perhaps you suffer from mood swings, period problems or weight gain that won’t quit?
News flash: your BLOOD SUGAR is out of balance. What the heck does blood sugar have to do with your weight and your hormones?
Blood sugar (glucose) is regulated by a hormone called Insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in your pancreas that regulates your blood sugar levels. Not only this, it also initiates the uptake and STORAGE of carbohydrates (in your liver and muscles), fats (hello, belly fat!) and amino acids (i.e.: protein for muscles). Lots of work to do, and a very sensitive hormone indeed.
Insulin unlocks the cell ‘door’ for sugar to get in, preventing things like diabetes and insulin resistance when in balance.
What does this mean for you?
Weight gain (if insulin isn’t working properly- and if it was, you wouldn’t be reading this!).
Why Insulin Problems Cause Weight Gain
- Imbalanced blood sugar and insulin increases inflammation in the body, and inflammation creates a great environment for weight gain.
- Imbalances in insulin lead to increased cortisol (stress hormone) secretion. When your body feels a stressor, cortisol is released. Cortisol will then tell insulin not to store shit like fats and carbs. This is okay if it happens every once in awhile. BUT, if you’re chronically stressed, this will turn off your insulin sensitivity, leading to excess sugar, fats (fatty liver disease, anyone?) and amino acids roaming about. This eventually becomes insulin resistance, where your body just hates on insulin and doesn’t let it do it’s job anymore. Beyond this, diabetes is the next big risk.
How to Balance Insulin for Healthy Weight Loss
- Reduce stress: Do something DAILY to reduce your stress like yoga, deep breathing, walking outdoors, taking a bath or reading a trashy novel.
- Pay attention to meal timing
- Breakfast: 8am (or within 1 hour of waking)
- Snack: 10am (to prevent the morning coffee/candy bar run)
- Lunch: 11:30am-12:30pm
- Snack: 2pm (to prevent the 3pm afternoon crash)
- Dinner: 5-6pm
- Snack: 8pm (2-3 hours before bed, include some protein for great sleep)
- Reduce sugar (including grains, fruits and starchy vegetables)
- Sugars are anything with cane sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, sucanat, molasses, honey, maple syrup, cane juice, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice, etc
- Get your sugars from natural sources in the form of max 1-2 servings daily of whole grains, fruits and/or starchy vegetables
- Increase healthy protein, fat and fibre
- Protein: 20g per meal, 5g per snack (at least)
- Fat: don’t worry about quantity here- think more about quality
- Avocados + oil, nuts, seeds and their oils, eggs, animal meats, coconut products and oil, olive oil, butter/ghee, etc
- Fibre: 35-45g daily
- Exercise: Moderate exercise increases lean muscle mass on your body, which enhances insulin sensitivity (and promotes healthy weight loss)
- Examples: vinyasa yoga, pilates, PiYo, T-Tapp, moderate-pace walking and/or biking, body weight exercises (like planks, squats and push-ups)
- Supplement with balancers like adaptogen herbs + b vitamins for stress, chromium and/or cinnamon for blood sugar control, and a probiotic for healthy gut and insulin function.