By London nutritionist Sylvia Hensher
1. Nutrition-the danger of insulin resistance
If you want to lose weight it’s very important to eliminate obvious sugar from your diet. We’re not just talking about obvious forms found in desserts and processed foods, but also to reduce our consumption of hidden ones in foods most of us consider to be healthy. Hidden sugars are also found in carbohydrates such as grains which break down to simple sugars and can contribute to insulin resistance. What is insulin resistance you may ask? Well, the cells in our body need a continuous supply of glucose (or sugar) for their energy requirements. Glucose, however, cannot penetrate the outer membrane of a cell without the assistance of insulin, a hormone which acts as a gatekeeper, allowing glucose to enter cells. Insulin stimulates the body to convert excess glucose (or sugar) which our cells don’t need (i.e. think too much chocolate etc) into fat and then helps to block the breakdown of this stored fat for energy production, making weight loss difficult.
For various biochemical reasons, the body may become less sensitive to its own insulin and compensates by producing more. Higher insulin levels not only make your body store even more fat, it also makes it more difficult to lose weight by blocking the release of fat from the fat cells so it can be burned for fuel. This explains why so many people have problems losing weight.
2. Exercise- high-intensity interval training & weight lifting
High-intensity interval training done 2-3 times weekly can boost your metabolism and increase fat loss, but is also a potent “anti-aging” strategy, as it will naturally increase your body’s production of human growth hormone (HGH).HGH promotes muscle, effectively burns fat and plays an important role in promoting overall health/longevity.
Weight lifting is another essential part of a programme for kick-starting your metabolism. Having more muscle is one of the best ways of burning fat you will ever come across because it helps you burn more calories, without you having to actually “do” more.
This is because muscle is metabolically very active and requires energy just to sit on your frame – even when you sleep. For every pound of muscle that you gain, your body will burn approximately 50-70 calories more per day, and burning more calories leads to a reduction of excess fat.
3. Are you getting enough sleep?
If you aren’t getting between 7-8 hours of sleep daily, you are disrupting your biological processes, including those regulating your metabolism. Your biological rhythm of sleeping and waking, also known as your circadian rhythm, is intricately tied to your metabolism and cannot be overlooked. In order to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, it’s important to have consistent regular exposure to day light during the day and sleep in absolute darkness at night. This means turning off all the lights in your room, including night lights and perhaps investing in blackout blinds.
In addition, sleep deprivation has been shown to affect levels of hormones called leptin and ghrelin, which are linked with appetite and eating behavior. When you are sleep deprived, your body decreases production of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain there is no need for more food. At the same time it increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger. This leads to decreased satiety and increased hunger pangs.
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