How To Banish Stubborn Love Handles
So here it is, part 2 on my hormone blog series.
Today we’re talking Insulin. And this little monster if not managed properly can give you love handles and back fat. So if your someone who suffers from the old muffin top, keep reading. All is not lost! As I said in part 1, hormones are very powerful and control many functions and processes in the human body. The good news is the diet and lifestyle choices you make effect these hormones and whether they negatively or positively impact on your health.
So let’s dive straight in and talk Insulin.
Insulin is the master hormone of metabolism and is produced by the pancreas. It’s got lots of jobs, but most importantly it regulates blood glucose levels by transporting it to cells to be used as fuel. If the cell has all the fuel it needs insulin then converts the excess glucose (sugar) to fat for storage. This is ok within reason. We all need a little insulation and cushioning. The degree to which you can process and respond to glucose in your body is called insulin sensitivity. The higher this is, the more efficiently your body uses carbohydrates and the less likely you are to store them as fat.
So far so good.
But this is where it all goes a bit pear-shaped. As we know alot of people, love refined carbs and simple sugars. This wreaks havoc because your body feels like it's been hit by a bus. Blood sugar levels rise very quickly. And your poor little pancreas works overtime to release a ton of extra insulin to deal with this. If this happens on a regular basis, you’ll get into a vicious cycle of raised blood sugar levels and excessive insulin production. And over time you may develop insulin resistance, which makes your body less effective at regulating blood sugar. It also affects your ability to utilise stored fat as energy and lose weight. To get out of this downward spiral, you have to make drastic changes to the composition of your diet and the ratios of each macronutrient to kick-start the process.
But it’s not just about weight. Too much glucose and insulin are major culprits in many diseases. In extreme cases, people’s insulin production shuts down leading to type 2 diabetes. So this is serious shit, and not to be taken lightly! The good news is that insulin resistance can be mitigated with a healthy lifestyle. So here’s three areas to help you whittle those fat pockets away while increasing insulin sensitivity at the same time.
Carbohydrates are not the enemy. However, they do illicit the most aggressive response to insulin especially when eaten in isolation. It’s not just the blood glucose spike they cause, but also it can take 5-7 days for the body to “reset” especially after consuming simple/refined carbs. So it seriously hampers progress!
So be smart with your carb choices. Consume lower GI foods such as sweet potato, brown rice, and quinoa and consume them with fibrous vegetables, protein and some healthy fats as this will help lower the insulin response.
Sugary refined carbs in isolation, especially for those with a degree of insulin resistance is a no go!
When you lift weights within relatively low rep ranges to failure you help up-regulate glucose tolerance that in turn improves insulin sensitivity. This is one of the reasons I recommend consuming a large amount of your daily carbohydrate intake post training when you are more insulin sensitive. To milk the benefits follow full body workouts with multi-joint compound lifts. It will help you get leaner and healthier not bulky!
Fibre plays a major role in achieving better insulin health. When you consume fibre with carbohydrates and protein, it helps lower the insulin response so keeping the amount of insulin in your blood down. Aim for 30-50 grams of fibre a day from mixed vegetables, greens powders and a little fruit. My take home message with insulin is to treat your body with respect. Shocking your system by dumping a ton of glucose into your bloodstream is not cool. Instead, nourish your cells with nutrient rich foods.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you struggle with love handles? Back fat? Any tips you’d like to tell me about? I’d love to hear. And as always, please share this post with anyone you know needs help. This could be a game changer for them :)
Love Alexandra x
P.S. Part 3 on thunder thighs and estrogen will be released soon!