Have you been hitting the gym and counting the calories, but still find you have stubborn fat (particularly around your belly) that just will not shift?
This can be a frustrating problem for many - and particularly for us women when we reach a certain age (around 50!). We exhaust ourselves with exercise at the same time as depriving ourselves of the foods we love, only to see that the pounds are still creeping on and our waistbands keep getting tighter. Feeling fed up, we fall off the wagon and overindulge in our drug of choice (sugar) in its multitude of forms e.g., chocolate, cakes, crisps, white bread etc. The next day we are back to the repeating cycle of guilt, exercise, deprivation and binge……..and on it goes.
The body likes to keep our blood sugar level tightly controlled. Too low and we feel tired, hungry, and weak; but too high and it can create an unhealthy metabolic stress - and so mother nature cleverly releases the hormone insulin to usher the sugar out of our blood and store it safely away. There is a certain amount of storage for sugar in the liver and muscles, but when this depot is full the only option is for it to be converted and stored as fat.
When things are working perfectly, each time our blood sugar goes above a certain threshold, insulin is released, and blood sugar levels fall to within their optimal range. If, however, this happens too often there may come a point when (like the little boy who cried wolf) our bodies stop listening to the insulin signal, resulting in more insulin having to be produced to have the same effect (i.e., the insulin has to shout louder to be heard). This is known as insulin resistance. Menopause and advancing age may also result in increased insulin resistance. With a high background level of insulin which is constantly signalling to the body, it is then almost impossible to burn any of our stored fat.
There are specific nutritional strategies that may help to balance blood sugar levels and increase our sensitivity to insulin.
In addition, aim to eat some protein (the best sources are meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, beans, nuts or seeds) with every meal and snack. This may help fill you up and stave off those emergency carb cravings later!
If all else fails and the chocolate cravings are too strong, aim to swap your favourite milk chocolate for 85% (or higher) dark chocolate - as this has much less sugar. Certain nutrients may also help to increase insulin sensitivity, but a discussion is sadly outside the scope of this short article.
If you are interested to find out more or would like some help, then please make an appointment for a free 20-minute discovery call with me. This can be done through the Personal Best reception or by dropping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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