You Might Be Insulin Resistant If…
My sis used to say, “First you grow up, then you grow out, then you grow funny things.” Neither of us knew back then that the changes we were noticing about human bodies as they age were in fact because of epidemic blood sugar imbalances caused by the standard American diet.
What is Insulin Resistance and why is it harmful?
Remember when you were a child and you were told over and over again to do your chores? The more you were asked, the more you tuned out your mother’s voice. Eventually, it caught up to you though, because your dad would come home and give you an unpleasant consequence.
Something similar happens inside your body. Insulin is the mother hen, trying to get sugar (glucose) cleaned up from the blood stream when there’s too much of it strewn around. Insulin asks all the cells to use some for immediate energy, or in the case of muscle and liver cells, to store it. After a while, it’s as if the cells get tired of hearing from insulin, so they don’t respond any more.
This is dangerous, because glucose builds up in the blood, leading to serious medical conditions.
What symptoms might you notice if you are becoming insulin resistant?
- Growing more irritable, especially between meals
- Growing hungrier, less able to be satiated
- Growing more dependent on carbs to satisfy cravings
- Growing increasingly tired
- Growing a greater number of large pores on the face
- Growing excess hair on face and arms (females)
- Growing small, soft skin protrusions (skin tags)
- Growing heavier around the middle
- Growing more confused, unable to think clearly or remember all that you used to
- Growing larger over all, with an inability to shed the weight
- Growing discomfort because of water retention, especially around the ankles
- Growing dark, velvety patches of skin in the folds and creases of the body, as if you haven’t washed there
acanthosis nigricans – darkened areas of skin
What signs might a health practitioner detect if you are insulin resistant?
- High number of fat cells within the liver (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver)
- High fasting blood sugar, fasting glucose, and/or A1C test
- High number of cysts on enlarged ovaries (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- High amount of uric acid deposited in the joints (gout)
- High blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides
- High likelihood of irregular or ceased menstruation
What is the first thing you should do if you are concerned about insulin resistance?
My sis used to also say is that it’s better to keep up than to catch up. If you don’t allow the junk to accumulate, you don’t need a crew of clutter-busters to set things to rights. So you’ve got to drastically cut those foods that are dumping glucose in the bloodstream. Then you won’t need the insulin surge to correct it.
For one day, calculate your macronutrient ratios.
- Using food labels or nutritiondata.self.com for foods without a label, record all the grams of carbohydrate, fat, and protein that you eat in a 24-hour period.
- Multiply the total grams of carbohydrate by 4 to get the number of carb calories you ate. Do the same for protein. For fat calories, multiply by 9.
- Total your calories for the day by adding carb calories, protein calories and fat calories together.
- Now for the ratios. Divide the carb calories by the total calories. Do the same for protein calories and fat calories. For example, if I ate 1000 calories from carbohydrates and my total calories for the day was 1800, I would compute 1000/1800. The answer is .55, so 55% of my calories came from carbs.
On the next day, limit yourself to a maximum of 40% of your calories from carbohydrate, since that is what converts to glucose. You will have to very attentive to eating healthy protein and fat – from unrefined, natural sources. Aim to get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables.
Insulin resistance takes time to correct. You may need the help of a practitioner to recommend sugar-regulating supplements and organ support until you can get your metabolism normalized. You may also need to tweak those macronutrient ratios to a percentage that’s right for your body. Contact me for a quiz you can take to determine if you have the right macronutrient ratio for your individual physiology.