As you might have noticed from my previous posts, when it comes to nutrition, I am all about that balance. You can reach any fitness goal and get in shape by eating a wholesome diet that includes all three macronutrients. In fact, I hate writing the term “diet” because that is not what this is. This is a lifestyle.
Ask yourself: “Can I eat this way for my whole life?”
If your answer to that was “Yes”, then keep going and enjoy this balanced healthy lifestyle.
If your answer was “No”, maybe you need to have a look at your food. Does it include all three macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats)? Do you try to eat 80-90% of the time “clean” (unprocessed, one-ingredient foods) but also enjoy some treats along the way? Do you eat enough protein and healthy fats? Also, do not forget Sugar intake. Fruit contains sugar too, so it is easy to go overboard.
Still, some people’s body reacts different to carbohydrates than others. The reason for this is the difference in Insulin sensitivity. Your nutrition might by perfect but still, if your body does not react to your food the way it should, your progress will stall and your motivation will decrease.
This term expresses how well your body responds to the hormone Insulin. As I explained in my last post about Carbohydrates, Insulin is needed to activate the transport of Glucose (sugar) into our cells.
Whenever you eat a meal with carbohydrates, the pancreas secretes Insulin.
If you are Insulin sensitive, a small amount of Insulin is enough to reduce blood glucose levels. To prevent diabetes, obesity and live a healthy lifestyle, it is important to keep Insulin secretion as low as possible most of the time (exception is post workout). Insulin also depresses fat oxidation, so a big Insulin secretion can lead to fat gain. If you are Insulin sensitive, you can eat larger amounts of carbohydrates at a time without risking them to get stored as fat. Thus, increasing your Insulin sensitivity is important to provide your body with enough energy for intense training sessions and losing weight without depriving yourself.
Insulin sensitivity depends on your genetics, your lifestyle and changes with aging.
How do I know if I am Insulin sensitive?
Insulin sensitivity can be measured through many tests. However, in my opinion, this is where the term „Listen to your body“ is the best test of all. Pay attention to how you feel after your meals containing starchy carbohydrates:
- Do you feel full of energy, happy and do not get hungry for hours? Congratulations, you are sensitive to Insulin, so eat your carbs!
- Do you feel weak, tired and hungry after an hour although you have eaten enough? Seems like you are Insulin resistant!
Insulin resistance – the complete opposite
If you are resistant to Insulin, it means that your body does not quite respond as well to Insulin. Thus, more Insulin has to be secreted in the pancreas to lower glucose levels. This high secretion is a major risk factor for the development of Diabetes Type II!
Can I reset my Insulin sensitivity?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, I did it myself and to my mom. My mom has a rheumatic disease and has to take Cortisol, which messes with Insulin sensitivity (I will explain that in another post).
- Eat a serving of starchy carbs (around palm size) in the morning and after your workout only
- have a serving of fruit in the morning and pre workout
- Eat a lot of vegetables in all your meals. Potatoes do not count as vegetables here! Eat green beans, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber etc. as many as you like. You will feel bloated at first because of the fiber content but after a couple of days you will discover how flat your belly can be.
- Whenever you are hungry, eat fats and protein. This will teach your body that it does not need carbohydrates to feel satiated. Fats also increase Leptin levels (depresses hunger), so you will not feel hungry all the time!
- Do not lift extremely heavy in this period. De-load and do more cardio, high rep training and high intensity interval training to really burn fat.
- Do this for 2 – 4 weeks.
- When your insulin sensitivity is increased, you will feel full of energy and you will not have any cravings. Pay attention to that. You can try eating a piece of candy. Trust me on this, my mum used to crave sugar all the time but after this reset, she cannot finish a serving of profiteroles (her favorite treat).
- Cardio: Increases Insulin sensitivity immediately (!)
- Weight training: Best at increasing Insulin sensitivity long-term. The additional muscle mass helps increasing peripheral Insulin sensitivity (effect of Insulin on our muscles and fat tissue)
If you have relatives with diabetes you might be Insulin resistant, so better reset your Insulin sensitivity before things get complicated! …
Lastly, who does not like the idea of eating many carbs but not storing them as fat, right?!
If you tried this method, please let me know how it goes! All of the tips I share on this blog are tried-and-tested by myself and/or my mother but I know that every body is different.
I hope you enjoyed this Guide on Nutrition.
Wish everyone a wonderful day!