WHAT IS INSULIN RESISTANCE AND HOW IT CAN AFFECT YOUR WEIGHT

I’ve had my own issues with hormones. I was eating right, exercising regularly, but no matter what, I couldn’t lose weight. I was even gaining weight and looking puffier.

I was doing everything right, but something just wasn’t clicking with my body. The weight just stayed put.

So, I started doing research on my own. A lot of it.

I focused on learning more about leptin (the “starvation hormone”) and insulin and what happens when your body becomes resistant to them.

I needed to discover what could cause my body to stop losing weight when I was working my butt off to lose it. What I discovered completely changed my approach to weight loss. And I now realize just how important hormones are in maintaining and healthy body and a healthy weight.

Here’s what I learned about insulin resistance and weight gain, how it can affect your body, and what you can do to reverse it.

WHAT IS INSULIN RESISTANCE, ANYWAY?

Before we dive into what insulin resistance is, you first need to understand what insulin does.

Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating your body’s blood sugar levels. Insulin moves sugar into your fat cells to protect your body from high blood sugar levels.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced in your pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin every time you eat. But, insulin secretion is the highest when you eat food that is full of sugar.

If you’re constantly eating a high amount of sugar, insulin levels will remain high, and your body will eventually become resistant to insulin.

Your body stops responding to insulin and your body cannot burn fat for fuel. Instead, it causes you to store more and more fat, causing you to gain weight.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF INSULIN RESISTANCE

Everyone’s body is different and the way excess insulin impacts you may be different to how it affects your friends.

However, there are some common signs and symptoms that suggest you might have an insulin resistance problem.

YOU CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY

The most obvious and common sign that you have insulin resistance is the inability to lose weight. No matter what you try, you can’t seem to shake those extra pounds. And the weight will mostly be concentrated around your belly.

If a healthy diet and regular exercise routine is not doing the trick, it’s best to see your doctor or naturopath. They’ll be able to test your insulin levels to see if this is the problem. They’ll also be able to see if you’re leptin resistance – the two often go hand in hand.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

When you’re healthy and everything is working right, your blood pressure should be around 120/80. This means your heart is delivering the right amount of pressure to your blood vessels.

If your blood pressure is higher than 120, it means those blood vessels are under a lot of pressure. They’re not built for this and high blood pressure can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and even stroke.

Insulin resistance creates a sodium imbalance in your bloodstream. This leads to an increase in the volume of blood rushing through your veins. The larger the blood volume is, the more pressure gets put on your blood vessels.

Have your blood pressure checked and if it’s higher than normal, ask your doctor to check your insulin levels.

OTHER SYMPTOMS

Other symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Sugar cravings
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Dizziness when fasting or when you go too long without food
  • Feeling irritable when you are hungry

HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES AND CHOLESTEROL

Triglycerides are the fats that get stored in your body, to use for energy—eventually.  When they’re high, it means that your bloodstream is storing too much fat instead of burning it for fuel.

In most people, this results in both weight gain and higher cholesterol. When your insulin levels aren’t breaking down blood sugar and fats in the bloodstream, they start to build up.

This results in high cholesterol levels and needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. Why? Because high cholesterol and high triglycerides increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INSULIN RESISTANCE AND WEIGHT

Which comes first, weight gain or insulin resistance?

If you lead an unhealthy lifestyle (eat too much sugary food, don’t exercise, don’t manage your stress properly), your fat levels will increase. Then the fat that your body stores, especially around your abdomen, can trigger insulin resistance.

How so? Well, abdominal fat releases a considerable amount of chemicals called adipokines. And, apparently, those chemicals counter the effect that insulin is supposed to have on your body.

So, your weight gain can cause insulin resistance which then results in insulin resistance causing more weight gain.  One of the best programs I found has been our Ultimate Portion Fix.  This program works to regulate portion sizes, keep blood sugar steady throughout the day and boost your metabolism.  If you are tired of fighting an uphill battle alone, reach out.  I would love to help you!

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2 Main reasons you aren’t losing weight

One of my most COMMON complaints is from women who are eating well and exercising but still can’t lose weight. I have been here myself so I totally understand what you are going through!

In my own personal experience and from talking to many other women going through the same thing, these are the 2 main reasons you can’t lose weight.

You’re Not Being Honest With Yourself

 

When I first changed to a healthier lifestyle, I lost some weight. And then the weight loss stopped (everyone plateaus – it’s normal!). I was confused because I was eating great and exercising around 6 times per week. So I decided to keep a food diary.

WOW it was very informative. Looking back at it, I realized I was eating too much sugar, even if it was the healthy kind (i.e. fruit, dates, etc). My portions were also way off when I actually measured. Writing down EVERYTHING you eat can really help you figure out where you are going wrong. You might think you eat well, but keeping a mental note is not as helpful as writing it all down and reviewing it. The portion system is also a great way to learn how much to eat and when to eat for the best results.

Keeping a food (and exercise) diary is your own way of staying accountable. Whenever I need a kick start, I keep a food and exercise diary. Please give it a go if you’re really having trouble losing weight! If you do and you find out that this is your issue, great! If not, please read on below.

Binge Eating

If you have issues with binge eating, it is almost 100% guaranteed that you won’t lose weight. Binge eating seriously affects your results.

A lot of women who binge eating usually eat really healthy (and also restrict themselves a lot), and then do the occasional binge. They wonder why they aren’t losing any weight and always tell me that they eat really healthy, but can’t figure out the problem. Binge eating is the problem.

I have dealt with binge eating in the past myself so I understand this issue. For me and a lot of other women, binge eating issues are caused by being too restrictive with diet and then obsessing over it. Also using food for comfort will allow binge eating to slowly take over.

Now, I don’t diet or cut certain foods out (I still eat chocolate and junk food!), and this really helps. Being able to eat “in moderation” after having binge eating issues is hard and takes work, but it can be done. One of the most helpful tools for me was the portion centered program I teach. When I started as a student, I had amazing success and now I teach the principles to clients everywhere.

Do you suffer with one of these issues or stuck in a plateau? Let me help you 🙂 Contact me courtneygiffordbb@gmail.com and let’s chat!

MTHFR…..what did you call me?

A question I get asked almost weekly is what exactly is MTHFR or I have this mutation what does it mean?

MTHFR is an enzyme that adds a methyl group to folic acid to make it usable by the body. The MTHFR gene produces this enzyme that is necessary for properly using vitamin B9. If you have the defective gene, your body can not process multiple things correctly or detox properly and it can lead to multiple health issues. If you have a double mutated gene, you most likely received it from BOTH parents and your siblings will be highly likely of having the defect as well. I tested positive for double mutation and so did my son, which means his dad also has it and quite possibly those on his father’s side. My family definitely has it but no one has jumped in to exploring like I have. This is something you should take action against as it will wreak havoc and can be the hidden issue behind so many other disorders and diseases.


What Happens When the MTHFR Gene Is Defective?Those with a defective MTHFR gene have an impaired ability to produce the MTHFR enzyme (estimates range from 20%-70% or more). This can make it more difficult to break down and eliminate not only synthetic folic acid but other substances like heavy metals.
Since folic acid can’t be converted into the usable form, it can build up in the body, which can raise levels of homo-cysteine. High homo-cysteine levels are associated with a higher risk in cardiovascular disease. This also affects the conversion to glutathione, which the body needs to remove waste and which is a potent antioxidant.
In short, we are just learning the extent to which this can affect health, but there is strong evidence that because of the affect on methylation, it can increase cancer risk, cardiovascular disease risk, risk of fetal development problems and more. It can also possibly contribute to or exacerbate other problems like autoimmune disease, mental issues and more.

What are some things I can do if I have the MTHFR gene mutation?

Here’s ten tips for you!

  1. Avoid taking folic acid blocking or depleting drugs, such as birth control pills or Methyltrexate
  2. Avoid taking proton pump inhibitors, like Prilosec or Prevacid or antacids, like Tums, which may block essential Vitamin B12 absorption
  3. Have your homocysteine measured, which if elevated may indicate a problem with methylation or a deficiency of B12 or folate.  If your homocysteine is elevated, limit your intake ofmethionine-rich foods
  4. Avoid eating processed foods, many of which have added synthetic folic acid.  Instead eat whole foods with no added chemicals or preservatives. Avoid ENRICHED foods and everything that says Folic Acid. You want to eat natural folate.
  5. Get your daily intake of leafy greens, like spinach, kale, swiss chard or arugula, which are loaded with natural levels of folate that your body can more easily process.
  6. Eat hormone-free, grass-fed beef, organic pastured butter or ghee, and eggs from free-range, non-GMO fed chickens.
  7. Remove any mercury amalgams with a trained biologic dentist.  Avoid aluminum exposure in antiperspirants or cookware.  Avoiding heavy metal or other toxic exposure is important.
  8. Make sure you supplementing with essential nutrients, like methyl-B12, methyl-folate, TMG, N-acetylcysteine, riboflavin, curcumin, fish oil, Vitamins C, D, E, and probiotics.  If you are double homozygous for MTHFR mutations, you should proceed very cautiously with methyl-B12 and methyl-folate supplementation as some people do not tolerate high doses.  Introduce nutrients one by one and watching for any adverse reactions.  Use extreme caution when supplementing with niacin, which can dampen methylation.
  9. Make time for gentle detox regimens several times per week.  These could include infrared sauna, epsom salt baths, dry skin brushing, and regular exercise or sweating.
  10. If you have a known genetic mutation, share the information with parents, children and other family members and encourage them to be tested, too!  The easiest way is to order  through 23andMe for only $99 online.