Updated: Mar 3, 2020
One thing is for sure! Less calories is often not the answer to weight loss.
We’ve just got to think about it for ourselves. Many of us are eating less and trying to exercise more, but it’s not equating to weight loss. We’re still struggling to be the weight that we want to be.
This is also especially so in maintaining weight loss. Frustratingly, the majority of us gain back the weight that we’ve worked so hard to lose.
If monitoring calories isn’t the answer for weight loss, then what is? While calories do matter to some degree, our hormones matter much more.
Many women who see me in private practice are unknowingly suffering from the vicious cycle of stubborn weight gain caused by their hormonal imbalance. And it’s not the hormone you think it is!
Why Hormones and NOT Calories?
Because, no amount of ‘calorie counting’ will get to the crux of the issue. One hormone in particular we need to know about is: Insulin. We may hear of this word and think ‘diabetes’ but reality is, we ALL need to manage our insulin levels. If we don’t, this will cause havoc with our weight and general health.
How does Insulin work - Isn't this just a Diabetes thing?
No! So when you eat sugar of any kind (even natural sugars from fruit) your pancreas produces this master metabolism hormone. Insulin’s job is to help sugar get into your cells. Once sugar is in the cells, it can be turned into energy.
Insulin is designed to help you use the sugar you eat, or, if you eat more than you need, store it for later use.
At its best, the interaction between your insulin level and the sugar in your blood is a finely tuned machine. You eat some sugar, and your body produces just enough insulin to metabolize it.
Later you eat a little more sugar, and the same thing happens again. It is a smooth, harmonious cycle that the healthy body carries out every day without your slightest awareness.
But! If for most of us, by the time we’re 30 or 40, this finely tuned machine is not working anymore. It has becomes ‘broken’ by a less than average diet + a good whack of stress, and then even the smallest amount of sugar can create a terrible internal and addictive effect, without us being aware of it.
Insulin ‘Resistance’ & what happens next?
You can become Insulin ‘resistant’ (which is very easy to do) over a period of time by eating foods with sugar that you quickly absorbed, and the insulin levels in your blood become high.
Over time, you can become resistant to the effects of insulin and need more and more of it to do the same job.
This comes about by unconscious food choices e.g. eating what ever the heck we want and simply not knowing that this is even ‘a thing!’ This bad cycle is very serious for your health, plus directly impacts your appetite and makes you crave carbs and sugar even more.
Insulin resistance is very much like a drug addiction
When you’re addicted to a drug, you develop a tolerance to it and then need more and more of it for you to feel the same effect. When you’re insulin levels are consistently high, you develop a tolerance to it.
Then, your body’s tissues no longer respond normally to the hormone. This is where the imbalance lies. So your pancreas produces more of it, elevating your insulin levels even more as your body’s attempt to overcome this resistance.
Thus a vicious cycle
When you have more insulin in your blood than you do sugar, your body tells you to eat some sugar to even out the balance. But every time you eat the sugar you cause your insulin levels to go up even more, causing you to want more sugar, and on and on the cycle goes.
Many of us are just not aware of this sugar turmoil happening inside and it becomes the perfect storm for weight gain, cancer, dementia and or course diabetes.
How do you fix it?
The key to weight loss, then, becomes focusing on foods that normalize blood sugar and lower insulin levels.
Food is information that controls your gene expression, hormones, and metabolism. The source of the calories (and the information carried along with the calories) makes a gigantic difference in how your genes, hormones, enzymes, and metabolism respond.
Insulin resistance is just one of the things that causes the stubborn weight gain or the health conditions that you’re now struggling with.
Even the daily roller-coaster ride of energy levels throughout the day is hellish and can effect mood and anxiety too!
What else should you know about for your weight?
It's all about getting your gut to function optimally, so that your weight will find its natural balance. Weight is a big area we deal with in Gut School (so are hormones, stress, exercise, foods to reduce inflammation, and much more!) You see it is ALL very much linked. Incredibly so! Come check out my 5 steps inside Gut School now!
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