According to the Gallup’s Annual Health and Healthcare Survey, the average man now weighs 196 pounds; the average woman weighs 160 pounds. Both figures are 20 pounds greater than self-reported weights in 1990. So why are we still getting fatter?
We have all been there – the diet rollercoaster. We frantically try fad diet after fad diet, only to creep back up to our previous weight (or higher!) thanks to cravings, improper sleep habits, daily stresses and our on-the-run lifestyles.
I hear daily from patients who are perplexed that they are suddenly gaining weight on the same diet they have been eating for years and years. Or perhaps they have tried to repeat a successful diet from a few years back, only to discover it no longer has the same effect. Despite their best intentions, these patients are finding that the so-called low-carb, low-fat or low-cal effort just throws them deeper into a state of metabolic imbalance and dietary frustration. Sound familiar?
Consider this example: Imagine eating a healthy carb such as quinoa, lentils or a sweet potato. Sounds healthy, right? But what if your body interpreted that carbohydrate as though it were a big bowl of chocolate ice cream? No wonder it’s so hard to lose weight! In my clinical practice I have discovered that even low glycemic carbs such as the ones mentioned above can cause a blood-sugar spike and subsequent insulin surge in certain patients—factors that lead to cravings, weight gain and an excessive appetite in those of us who are metabolically challenged. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether the carbs you are consuming are “good” or “bad.” What matters is your particular carb sensitivity and metabolic set point.
When we are sensitive to carbohydrates, our cells do not respond effectively to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance), which causes insulin levels to increase. This is a double whammy for our waistline since insulin is the only hormone that instructs the body to store energy as fat and it also blocks our ability to effectively burn fat. But there is another challenge: many people are unaware that they are, in fact, in need of a metabolic reset and that they are experiencing signs of imbalances that will block most weight loss efforts.
If you’re naturally lean, it’s safe to say that you are not carb sensitive and that your metabolism is “healthy”. But, if you are not, you tell if you are in need of “metabolism rehab” by asking yourself these key questions:
Do you crave carbohydrates?
Do you feel bloated, especially after meals?
Do you experience water retention or puffiness?
Do you have difficulty losing weight despite a “healthy, balanced” diet?
Do you often have cold hands and feet?
Do you feel you have slow digestion and elimination?
Do you often feel tired?
Can you gain 3 to 5 pounds in a weekend?
Do you have blood sugar or cholesterol issues?
Do you have inflammation or joint pain?
Do you sweat when you work out? You should!
Do you wake up hungry? You should!
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you enter my 3-step metabolic rehab program. I’ve been solving weight loss resistance in my clinic for years now and I’m here to share the steps so you can do the work to help you breakthrough your carb addiction, end the yo-yo dieting cycle and repair your metabolism.
Step One: Test for success.
Test #1: Urine test for harmful bacterial imbalance in the gut
Think of your microbiome as a big city. The “microbiome metropolis” is filled with different “cities” or bacterial colonies. And the strong diversity of your healthy probiotics is needed for optimal health and metabolism. Research has found that people who are overweight and obese have lower microbiome diversity, and may, in fact, have an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in addition to a deficiency of the good. A simple urine test available only from Dynacare called the Indicans Test is what you need to ask for. A normal result is reported as “Negative”.
Test #2 and #3: Blood tests to determine insulin levels and the presence of inflammation
Believe it or not, inflammation isn’t just linked to swollen joints – it plays a role in everything from digestive disorders and allergies to autoimmune diseases and abdominal fat. Even more so, the very presence can greatly interfere with your fat loss goals. The blood test you need to ask for is High Sensitivity – C Reactive Protein, an optimal value is less than .08.
Despite the temptation to slash calories in order to fit into that little black dress (which often leads to hormonal havoc), the solution lies in altering the macronutrient makeup of your diet – particularly, the type and amount of carbs that you take in. A 2007 study published in JAMA found that people with high insulin in their blood lost more weight on a diet comprised of more fat and less carbohydrates. At the end of the study the group on the lower carb diet lost on average 13 pounds, whereas the group on the higher carb, low-fat diet lost an average of 2½ pounds. The test to request is fasting blood insulin and an optimal value is less than 36.
Step 2: 5-Diet Essentials Of Metabolic Rehab :
Rid inflammatory and insulin spiking foods
Increase your cooked veggie intake
Protein, protein, protein – you can never be short on any given day.
Stick to the four fruit choices that are best for supporting fat loss (berries, kiwi, grapefruit and watermelon)
When you move more – eat more, when you move less eat less. The simplest ways to eat less *Skimp on your fats – even healthy ones like nuts and avocado. You don’t need extra fat when you are sitting at your desk. *Cut starchy things like bread, starch, potatoes, etc – if you didn’t earn these carbs with movement – skip em!
Step 3: Improve Your Sensitive Side: There are a few must-have supplements that have been proven time and time again to improve your insulin sensitivity and metabolic set point, which in turn sheds body fat, tames your appetite and boosts your health. Omega 3’s and Vitamin D are first on the list. When we eat fatty acids especially plant-based omega 3’s —our cell membranes become more receptive to insulin, we preserve muscle mass and plant-based oils maintain bone density where fish oils have not been shown to do so. Vitamin D has been proven to lower insulin, improve serotonin levels, enhance the immune system, control appetite and even improve fat-loss efforts.