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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Eating Healthy On A Budget

If you compare the price of organic meat to non-organic, or a bag of almonds to a candy bar, you would think that healthy eating is only for the rich and famous. But when you look at the big picture, eating healthy is much more affordable than you might think.

Tips for Keeping Your Grocery Bill Down While Eating Healthy

The first, and possibly most important, step to eating healthy on a budget is to plan your meals and snacks. The second is to write a grocery list and then stick to it. And the third is to prepare your own meals as much as possible.

Those three basic principles will take you far, but we’ve got a bunch more tips to keep your food and your finances healthy.

D.I.Y. Making Homemade Waffles

1. D.I.Y.

To get the most bang for your buck, tap into your inner Martha Stewart. To begin with, cook your own dinners and pack your lunch instead of eating out. Next, think outside the box — figuratively and literally.

I’m not suggesting you churn your own butter or make your own pasta, but a lot of packaged foods can usually be made more cheaply and healthfully at home — like popcorn. Instead of buying the portioned-out bags of microwavable popcorn, just buy a container of loose kernels, dump a couple tablespoons in a brown lunch sack, fold it over, and pop it in the microwave for two minutes. It’s still convenient, and quite a bit cheaper! You also have full control over what you add to it. Olive oil and sea salt is definitely a healthier option than a chemical-laden artificial butter.

Other examples:

  • Instead of buying frozen waffles, make your own.
  • Skip the packaged cookies, and bake your own instead, using healthier ingredients.
  • Make your own salad dressings and dips.

Buy Whole Foods Mom Buying Greens

2. Buy Whole Foods

A tip you may have heard before is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s because most of the processed/prepackaged foods are stocked in the middle aisles, while the healthier foods are kept in the outer aisles.

The whole foods you’re looking for include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Dairy

Buy Foods Whole Woman Cutting Apples

3. Buy Foods Whole (Not Pre-cut)

Buying whole fruits and veggies is much cheaper than buying them pre-cut. This also applies to meats and cheese. Buy of a block of cheese, and shred it or slice it yourself. Buy a whole chicken, and prep and freeze it instead of buying individual chicken breasts. Buy grains in bulk (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc.).

Choose Less-Expensive Protein Options Variety of Beans Foods

4. Choose Less-Expensive Protein Options

Meat is not the only source of protein. There are a lot of healthy protein options that are much less expensive than meat, like:

  • Beans
  • Cottage cheese
  • Edamame
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu

Stock Up on Canned Frozen Foods Frozen Peas

5. Stock Up on Frozen Foods

Frozen fruits and veggies are still just as healthy — as long as no sugars or other unhealthy ingredients have been added. You can stock up on it when it’s on sale and, unlike fresh produce, you won’t find yourself throwing half of it away when it turns moldy in your refrigerator. Money-saver all around.

Choose In-Season Produce Variety of Vegetables

6. Choose In-Season Produce

It’s economics 101 — supply and demand. The fruits and vegetables that are in-season are easier to get, so they’re less expensive. Don’t know what grows when? Check out this seasonal ingredient map. You can also consider growing some of your own fruits, veggies and herbs by starting a container garden.

Make the Most of Your Leftovers

7. Make the Most of Your Leftovers

Don’t throw away leftover food at the end of a meal! Pack it for lunch the next day. Freeze it, and have dinner for another night. You might even want to invest in a vacuum sealer like FoodSaver® to keep your leftovers fresher, longer.

Look for Discounts Cutting Coupons

8. Look for Discounts

Discounts are everywhere; you just have to look:

  • Participate in your store’s customer loyalty savings program and use coupons.
  • Check out your local farmer’s market, where prices can be as much as 50 percent less than stores.
  • Look into rebate apps, like SavingStar®.
  • Check out online retailers, like Thrive Market. They can offer up to 25 to 50 percent savings.

Make the Swap Yogurt Cup

9. Make the Swap

Sometimes it’s just an even swap. Instead of buying white rice, buy brown rice. Instead of buying regular milk, buy a non-dairy option. Instead of buying regular yogurt, buy Greek yogurt. A lot of times, the prices are about the same for the healthier alternatives.

Eat Out for Less Father Daughter at Restaurant

10. Eat Out for Less

It’s easy to save money at restaurants when you eat healthy. Stick with water instead of pricier, and often calorie-loaded, alternatives. Skip the appetizers and desserts. You can even order just an appetizer instead of a pricier entree. Or order a big meal, and share it with someone else.

Moooove over and make way for grass fed beef!

Grass-fed beef is becoming a more recognizable term when shopping for meat. But there’s some confusion between the definitions grass-fed and grass-finished. If grass-fed beef describes meat from cattle that ate grass, what does the term “grass-finished” mean? Don’t they both mean the same thing? Not quite. Simply put, grass-finished beef comes from cattle that ate nothing but grass and forage for their entire lives. Grass-fed, on the other hand, may be used to label meat from cattle that have that were started on a grass diet but have either received supplemental grain feed or are finished on a fully grain-based diet. Many “grass-fed” cows spend the last few months of their lives eating grain in feedlots to help them quickly gain weight before going to slaughter. Cattle are not required to have a full grass-fed diet in order to get the grass-fed label on your beef’s packaging. Moreover, “grass-fed” cows are not necessarily pasture-raised.

There are several reasons to choose grass-fed and grass-finished beef, including a number of significant health benefits. Grass-finished beef is 20% lower in calories than grain-finished beef and has higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA’s (Conjugated Linoleic Acid — an essential fatty acid that fights cancer and inhibits body fat), and Vitamins A and E.

  • According to a study at California State University’s College of Agriculture, grass-fed beef nutrition includes significantly more omega-3 fatty acids and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef, one of the best protein foods around, is also higher in precursors for vitamin A and E and cancer-fighting antioxidants compared to grain-fed beef. (Read more on CLA here) If you haven’t heard of CLA yet, it’s a powerful polyunsaturated fatty acid we must obtain from our diets that’s been shown to help fight cancer, discourage weight gain and build muscle, and high-quality grass-fed beef and butter from healthy, grass-fed cows or other animals are the top sources of CLA.

CLA is considered to be one of the strongest nutrient to defend against cancer.  A study conducted on women who were provided high amounts of CLA-rich foods had roughly a 60% lower risk in breast cancer over those who had little to no amounts of CLA in their diet[*].

Research done on laboratory animals who were given a very small amount of CLA – less than 1% of daily caloric intake – provided a reduction in tumor growth.  Most naturally occurring nutrients containing anticarcinogenic properties are derived from plant foods. CLA is unique because it’s one of the only anticancer nutrients derived from meat, with grass fed containing more than grain fed.

  • Grass fed beef also provides up to six times more of the healthy fats, “omega-3 fatty acids”.

While these fatty acids are more prevalent in fatty fish such as salmon, grass fed beef can be a great alternative.

Here are some of the benefits from increased Omega 3 consumption:

  • Alleviates Rheumatoid arthritis – Omega 3’s are highly effective in decreasing all markers of inflammation[*].
  • Helps with depression – Researchers have seen an increase in mental well-being by supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Helps you focus – Recent studies conducted show omega-3’s to be a promising alternative to alleviate attention deficit disorders (ADHD) over stimulant medications.

Because the majority of the brain is made up of fat, consuming more healthy fats can help relieve several neurological disorders.

More than half (actually 80%) of all antibiotics sold in the United States go directly to livestock such as cows, chicken, turkey and pigs. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the diet and lives that grain fed animals undergo is extremely poor.  Cows that aren’t grass-fed live on diets of grain and are typically given hormones to unnaturally increase their weight and hence yield more meat.  The main reason farmers use more antibiotics is that as meat demand goes up, animals are confined to smaller and smaller spaces, and this greatly increases the spread of disease. The use of antibiotics in meat, particularly factory-farmed meats (think dollar menu burger), contributes to antibiotic resistance in human, which is why it’s so important that you not only question what goes in your body, but what goes in the body of the animals you put on your dinner plate.

The risk of food poisoning is greatly reduced with grass fed beef when compared to grain fed beef.

One of the largest studies conducted by Consumer Reports analyzed 300 packages of ground beef. They found an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in three of the grain fed samples and zero in the grass fed packages.

Additionally, they found 18% of the non grass fed beef samples containing superbugs – bacteria that is resistant to more than 3 types of antibiotics – compared to only 9% of beef samples from grass fed livestock[*].

  • Grass Fed Beef Decreases Risk of Heart Disease

Clinical evidence concludes a decreased risk of heart disease with an increased consumption of CLA, a nutrient abundant in grass fed beef[*].

Grass fed beef helps mitigate heart disease with:

  • Antioxidants such as vitamin E
  • High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids
    • Less unhealthy fats
    • Lower amounts of bad cholesterol, known as LDL Cholesterol.

The next time you go to purchase your ground turkey or hamburger beef, think about where it came from and if you are healing your body or causing more harm.  A great place to purchase grass fed-grass finished meat is through https://www.alderspring.com