Have you ever wondered how you get fat?
Check out the picture below to get a visual.
This graph represents blood sugar fluctuations over a period of time affects fat gain and the related symptoms associated with high and low blood sugar.
- Blood sugar too high?
• Insulin is released to bring glucose (blood sugar) down followed by the stress hormone (cortisol) to bring it back up.
• When this becomes chronic, we become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance = fat gain and fatigue
• Fat gain and fatigue go hand in hand
For example, when you put on 10 pounds of body fat, you typically are not going to “feel great” energetically during or after the process.
Symptoms of insulin resistance
- Tired after eating
- Crave Sweets
- Fatigue, exhaustion, depression
- Low energy
- Wake up multiple times during sleep
- Cannot sleep in
- Brain fog (Type 3 diabetes)
- Decreased cognition
- Can’t burn body fat even though you exercise
- Reproductive issues (PCOS)
- High fasting blood sugar, Hba1c, blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, pre-diabetic, fatty liver, skin tags, CVD
Genetics. Does anyone in your family have diabetes? Arteriosclerosis? High blood pressure?
- Blood sugar goes down too low?
- Adrenals kick in and release stress hormones (catecholamines) to bring it back up! Or we would pass out/ faint
- Cortisol, adrenaline, glucagon, IGF 1, and Somatostatin.
- All these hormones bring blood sugar up. Remember there is only one to bring it down ***INSULIN***
This is an adaptation for survival. Hunter-gatherers would go on long periods of time without food.
Symptoms of low blood sugar and/or too much stress hormones
- Constantly wake up feeling tired – even when you get 7-9 hours
- Need caffeine to get through your day
- Disrupted sleep (example, waking up @ 3 AM every night)
- Visceral fat weight gain or inability to burn fat around the gut
- Problems losing weight – even in a calorie deficit
- Problems building or maintaining muscle
- Female hormonal problems – PMS, infertility, PCOS, heavy or light periods. Cortisol increases estrogen
- Inflammation – frequent injuries (itis’), food intolerances
- Thyroid problems – weight gain, sensitivity to cold, fatigue
- Immune system weakness – frequent colds
The Bottom Line for Fat Burning!
The more insulin, cortisol, and adrenaline we make the more fat we store and less energy we create long-term.
The more we make T3, glucagon, HSL the more fat we burn and energy we create long-term.
How to Reverse Insulin Resistance/ High-Stress Levels
- It all begins with breakfast!🍳
- At least 15 grams of protein to start your day
- Full meals – whole food
- Skipping breakfast (and even worse just having caffeine) BLASTS cortisol and adrenaline. This puts you into SURVIVAL MODE. Survival mode = fat storing.
- Having a high carbohydrate meal first thing in the morning BLASTS insulin followed by CORTISOL BLASTING which puts you into survival mode = fat storing
- Each meal should keep you full for at least 3 hours
- Eat every 3-4 hours – High-quality proteins, fats, and carbs
- Full meals!! No “snacking or grazing” for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Eat full meals and use snacks between to curb your blood sugar. You will get the stress response if you do not consume enough calories per meal
- Consider Paleo or Keto for 2 months. These diets have been shown in research to have positive effects on re-regulating your blood sugar.
- Get into the kitchen! Meal prep is KING. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. The only one you can depend on is yourself. Remember, your greatest asset is your health!
- Limit stimulants and artificial sweeteners. One coffee per day is fine and can be beneficial. Drink 2L of mineralized water per day. Avoid ice water when eating.
In the winter months take Vitamin D3. Vitamin B complex, magnesium, omega 3’s, zinc and vitamin C all help support stress.
- Try doing an elimination diet. Start by cutting out all wheat, dairy, processed foods, sugars, alcohol, trans fats for one month and then reintroduce one food group at a time and monitor symptoms. Food logging/food journaling is another great tool to give you insight
Type and quantity of carbs is the million dollar question
- Consume low glycemic carbohydrates such as: Dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, darker colored berries, root vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Some people can get away with eating whole grains, and others cannot. A food elimination diet is your best approach to finding out if grains are good for you or not. A high-quality food intolerance test can be useful as well.
- Consume healthy fats such as: raw nuts/seeds, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, free range/grass fed dairy and animals, other omega 3 sources).
- Cut all forms of liquid sugar! Eliminate all soft drinks, juices, and alcohol. 🚫
- OPTIMIZE your carb intake. Try timing your carb intake A) Before and after your workout B) For lunch and dinner (low amounts for breakfast).
- YOU MUST EARN YOUR CARBS. The more weight you have to lose the more selective you MUST be with your carb choices (50-100g per day in the low end, 100-150g in the normal range, 200+ in the higher performance end). 50-100g per day is ok for short-term weight loss as this will produce significant ketones. From here you MUST TAPER THEM BACK IN SLOWLY AND ACCORDINGLY. YO YO-ing will result in a damaged metabolism!
- Aim for 30 grams of fiber per day. For protein aim for .75g/lb x your body weight. If you are a numbers person calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) online and aim to hit that number every day. Focus on eating nutrient-dense foods instead of fixating on calories.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Falling asleep before 11 PM is optimal. 15-20 minute power naps in the day are beneficial as well. 😴
- 20-40 Minutes or Exercise is ideal
- Anaerobic exercise is ideal (Circuit training with weights, intervals, Tabata)
- Perform Full body, functional movements
- Avoiding plateau’s by switching your program up every month (Join shestough!)
- Over exercising will blast your stress hormone
- Do something every 3-4 days to bring you down. Meditation, restorative yoga, walking in nature, saunas, massage, acupuncture, manual therapy, listening to music, etc.