May 17, 2021
Weight gain & Weight loss
The body’s weight is made up of a lot of different things including, muscles, bones, organs, skin, hair and body fat.
Body weight alone is not the only measure we should consider for health. Weight is made up of more than just fat.
But what makes us fatter? How do we gain fat? The conventional thinking and advice over the past 30 plus years is that, we gain weight because we eat too much and don't exercise enough, or people are just too lazy and unmotivated to lose any weight.
So, if we know all of this, then why are people still getting fatter all around the world? Let's break that down a little bit.
Are you eating too much?
Likely, this is true over consumption of calories is not a good thing especially if you are trying to lose weight. But there is much more to it than just the total volume of food that you are eating. It is all about what you are eating and when you are eating.
Can I lose weight with exercise alone?
Exercise of all kinds is fantastic for all aspects of health. It has so many benefits, however it is now clear in the research and what we see here in practice, that exercise alone will not help you lose those extra kilos. However, when combined with a good nutrition strategy, it is a much better approach and can certainly help and assist the weight loss journey. Spending hours and hours in the gym or walking for two hours a day to burn off the calories is not an effective approach.
How exactly do we gain weight?
You have probably heard of the term’s calories in vs. calories out, energy balance, eat less, exercise more. That all sounds great on paper. However, the human body is so much more complex than just calories in calories out.
To gain weight there needs to be some type of signal for the body. For our fat cells and organs to make or to take on more energy in the form of fat. We store that fat later, for use when we do not have that food or energy available.
That signal to store that fat is the hormone - insulin.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone which is produced by the pancreas. It is well-known for controlling blood glucose levels. Our blood glucose rises, but it cannot stay elevated, as high levels of blood glucose can become toxic for our cells. So, insulin is then secreted to lower and maintain a balance throughout the body.
Insulin also has several other roles including promoting energy storage. Storing glucose in our muscles and liver, storing fat in our fat cells and many other tissues and organs as well.
Insulin can also inhibit fat or energy loss. When insulin is elevated, it is almost impossible to utilize our stored fat source for energy and therefore it is going to make it very hard to lose any weight.
What causes Insulin to rise in the body?
Essentially insulin will rise based on what we eat and what we drink. So, any foods or drinks with a high glycemic load, high in glucose, high sugar, anything with added sugar or any kind of high carbohydrate meals will cause a spike in insulin.
Eating often, especially with these types of foods, will keep insulin elevated. Insulin can remain elevated for long periods of time. Especially if someone is having three meals a day, plus morning tea, plus afternoon tea, plus dessert, plus an evening snack. Eating this often can mean insulin is going to be constantly elevated, which as we know from before is more likely to store that energy as fat and is much less likely to start to use that fat for energy.
How can we bring our insulin levels down? There is what we call therapeutic carbohydrate restriction. So, essentially eating less carbohydrates in the form of sugar, in the form of starchy carbohydrates. So, rice, bread, pasta, and any kind of processed foods is generally a good way to start. But essentially if you are spending less time eating and bringing on less of a glycemic load then, insulin will have less of a chance to be secreted and you will have more time when insulin levels are not raised in your body.
How can we lose weight?
Well, maybe a better question is, how can we access our fat stores and utilize this fuel for energy? To do that we require low insulin. When the body detects that energy is gone, we can, use our fat stores to power our bodies, not the glucose that we are just eating.
Are you trying to lose fat?
That’s the first question you should ask. Could you possibly have high levels of insulin? Are you eating often throughout the day? If so, are you having foods with lots of added sugar or high carbohydrate meals.
Everyone is different in how they store and utilize energy. But there is a good chance that insulin might be behind your struggle to lose weight.
Contact us at Health in Balance Caulfield South, to start your weight loss journey today.