Triggers of weight gain
Regulating your insulin levels
Everything I promote with regards to weight loss always comes back to regulating your insulin levels. I have spoken about this many times before in my blog http://www.energise-personaltraining.com/category/your-health/. But here is a quick recap.
After consuming a meal, digestion occurs; the carbohydrates are broken down into sugars and released into the blood stream via the small intestine. The elevated blood sugar levels trigger the pancreas to release insulin to help regulate the blood sugar levels. Insulin causes the cell walls of the muscles, organs, fat cells etc to become permeable to glucose (sugar). The glucose is transported into the cells and stored as triglycerides/ fatty acids, which can be later used as energy. In order to lose body fat you need to reduce the amount of insulin released throughout the day as this will reduce the amount of sugar being converted into fat.
Once the sugar has been transported into the cells and stored as fat, we want the fats to be broken down and utilised by the body instead of staying stored as fat on our hips, thighs, bellies etc. There is a protein that is responsible for this function called hormonsensitivelipase. This protein breaks down the fats, which are then released and can be metabolised by the body. When there are high levels of Insulin in the blood, this inhibits the function of hormonsensitivelipase and therefore prevents/ reduces the breakdown of fats in the cells, which results in weight gain.
Another way of increasing the function of this hormone is exercise. It is thought that exercise increases the activity of hormonsensitivelipase.
Where are you storing fat?
An increase in your insulin levels can cause fat storage around your hips and around your shoulder blades. So if you suffer from muffin tops and back fat this may be you!
If you are storing fat around your belly you may also be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is when the cells no longer respond or become less sensitive to the release of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Because the fat cells have been over exposed to insulin they continuously receive fatty acids and therefore cause weight gain. This is thought to be one of the main reasons for the increased obese population these days. Too much of the western diet is quick fix carbohydrate and sugary foods.
So what can you do?
1. Eat low GL/ GI carbohydrates. I will go into this again soon but you can see the list of Low GI/ GL foods and can read more in this blog I did earlier in the year. http://www.energise-personaltraining.com/glycaemic-index-and-glycaemic-load/
2. Have protein in every meal and ideally every snack. If you have protein and fats along with your carbohydrates it slows down the breakdown of sugars into the blood stream.
3. Realise that all carbohydrates are broken down into sugars, so all breads, pasta, rice, cereals, fruit all cause an insulin spike.
4. Avoid chocolates, sweets, cakes, pastries, fizzy drinks, sugar in tea and coffee.
5. Increase the amount of exercise you are doing. As mentioned above exercise increases the function of the protein responsible for breaking down the fats stored in the cells.
6. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Eat three good meals a day and if you feel peckish then listen to your body and have a snack. But watch it is not a sugary snack as you will just have a sugar crash and crave more in about an hour.
7. Are you getting enough sleep. If you body isn’t getting enough sleep you will crave sugary foods and carbohydrates, which will produce an insulin spike.
8. Portion size. This is something that I can’t see from the food diaries. Everyone is looking for the quick answer to weight loss. There is no quick fix. The method that works every time is eat less, eat better quality of food and exercise more. Use a smaller plate, eat slower and don’t go back for seconds. Listen to your body, if you don’t need more don’t have it.