There is a deadly epidemic in America, and odds are that either you or your buddy has it. It is making you fat and sick, but there’s a 90% likelihood that you don’t have any idea it’s there.
I’m talking about insulin resistance, a totally reversible condition that is the single most important phenomenon leading to premature aging, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer. In its early stages, it triggers weight gain, inflammation and oxidative stress, high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, anxiety, and depression.
How Do You Know You Have It?
Key indicators of insulin resistance are:
- difficulty losing weight
- belly fat
- carb cravings
- hormone issues
- irritability when you don’t eat
- difficulty with memory or concentration
- water retention
- facial hair if you are female, erectile dysfunction if you are male
If too many of these symptoms are familiar, you will want to ask your doctor for a fasting insulin blood test. If your results are double digits, you are on the path to diabesity – those metabolic issues that create diabetes and obesity, along with other chronic diseases mentioned.
In Case You Don’t Want to Be Sick, Tired, Fat and Depressed
The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible! But you need to be dedicated to all five pillars of diet and lifestyle:
- Choose good food. There are no if’s, but’s, or and’s about it. Sugar is out if you’re serious about getting your body’s metabolism back to healthy. Refined foods and products made with flour get the boot, too. Fill your plate half full with vegetables. The other half of your plate should be divided between good quality, lean protein and slow-burning, high fiber carbohydrates, such as berries, black or red rice, quinoa, green plantains, or cassava root. Use natural, unprocessed fats for cooking and dressing your meals. Foods that don’t require labels are best!
- Get plenty of sleep. Even one night of poor sleep can increase insulin resistance. You are much more prone to overeat and to have sugar cravings when you are tired, so getting 8 hours of shut-eye per night has to be a priority.
- Take appropriate supplements. As much as I support properly-prepared, nutrient-dense, whole food, your body may be so out of balance that it cannot heal itself without the assistance of some high-grade nutrients. It is common for individuals with insulin resistance to be deficient in vitamin D, Omega 3’s, chromium, B vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. But taking supplements is only part of the story; absorbing them is the rest. For that reason, it is critical to work with a practitioner to make sure you are getting what your body needs.
- Get moving. Aside from diet, exercise is probably the single best medication for insulin resistance. Start with walking for 30 minutes a day. Add in 10 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and resistance training with weights or bands as you are able. Spending hours is not important. What matters is that you work vigorously, getting your heart rate up to 70-80% of its maximum.
- Take time to relax! In the face of chronic stress, insulin output increases, driving insulin resistance even higher and creating even greater inflammation in your body. Passive downtime watching movies or surfing the internet is not enough. You must actively connect your body and brain to each other and to the present, through sensory stimulation, through breathing, and through mindfulness and gratitude activities. If you need some help, check out my stress hacks that can be performed in two minutes or less, anywhere, anytime!
Together, we can upset the odds. Let’s take your 50% chance of having insulin resistance down to zero!