A NEW LEASE—on Life!
By Judit Rajhathy, B.A., RNCP, D.Ac.
No Wonder I Can’t Lose Weight!
Insulin Resistance and You
Insulin resistance is a ‘condition in which the cells of the body become resistant to the effects of insulin...as a result higher levels of insulin are needed in order for insulin to have its effects. Insulin resistance can be viewed as a pre-diabetic condition and is linked with obesity.
The question is: does excess body fat cause insulin resistance or does insulin resistance cause excess body fat? The verdict is still out on this one!
Who is at Risk?
- Those overweight with a body mass index over 25 (many people over 40)
- Those who have close family members with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or arteriosclerosis
- Anyone over 40 years of age
- Men with a waist size over 40 inches and women with waist size more than 35 inches
- Those who have had gestational diabetes or glucose intolerance
- Those with high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides with low HDL cholesterol
- Those with a sedentary lifestyle
- Those who have a fatty liver —accumulation of fat in the liver
Diagnosing Insulin Resistance Syndrome
An estimated one in three Americans is insulin resistant, which puts them at a high risk for developing type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A solid questionnaire along with lab tests can suggest a diagnosis of insulin resistance. Regular medical checkups and blood work are essential!
Chromium is a mineral that is required for the hormone insulin to work effectively. 200 mcg can make a difference. It can help weight loss. A good daily multi-vitamin/mineral along with extra calcium/magnesium and fish oil to help reduce triglyceride levels. Note that these supplements need to be checked with your medical provider because they can alter any medications you might be taking. If all else fails, medication is a last resort, along with diet and exercise of course.
Lifestyle Change—Diet and Exercise
Utilizing a low glycemic diet is a must so that the need for insulin can be reduced. Some carbohydrates are broken up and absorbed by the body faster than others (high glycemic foods) and as a result increase the blood glucose level more rapidly and require the secretion of more insulin to control the level of glucose in the blood. These foods are refined sugars, white bread, white rice, refined corn and wheat products (mashed potatoes, bagels, fries, etc.) Best to eat foods with a low glycemic index such as high fiber foods (whole grain bread, brown rice), non-starchy veggies such as broccoli, leafy greens, cabbage, cauliflour, asparagus and lean proteins.
A Finnish study shows clearly that diet and exercise reduced the development of diabetes by a whopping 58% and several other studies following this one proved similar results. The combination of aerobic and resistance training is particularly beneficial for preventing insulin resistance and helping control blood sugar. Ideally one should engage in this type of exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day minimum five days a week. If one has physical limitations there are other options. Bottom line: fat stores need to be decreased. So the gym awaits your arrival!
(Judit is the owner of Change of Pace fitness Center and is the author of the Canadian best-seller Free to Fly: A Journey Toward Wellness. She can be contacted at 766-5800)