With the upcoming Holiday season approaching, one of my biggest fears as a coach is an athlete gaining weight due to (1) decreased training due to winter conditions and lack of indoor facilities and (2) increase food and alcohol consumption. I’ve even had a distance runner give blood, which is excellent for humanitarian reasons, but stupid for their athletic training and performance.
I’ve preached this before, and the best way to control your weight is controlling your insulin. This applies to athletes and non-athletes alike.
Speaking of insulin, does anyone remember Claus von Bulow? No? See the movie “Reversal of Fortune”
Guest Blogger Malton Schexneider goes more in detail on importance of stable blood sugar, which is directly related to insulin, and more importantly, controlling your hunger cravings.
One of the more important concepts in any healthy weight loss program is stable blood sugar. What does a stable blood sugar level mean and how is it important in a healthy weight loss plan?
When you consume carbohydrates, your body experiences a spike in blood sugar levels due to a rise in glucose in your bloodstream. In response to this rise in glucose levels, the pancreas releases the hormone, insulin. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that’s absolutely essential for getting amino acids into the muscles for growth and getting carbohydrates into the muscles where they’re needed for energy.
However, when there is a large blood sugar spike, your body tends to overreact and produce too much insulin. The insulin quickly clears the glucose from the bloodstream, leading to a sharp drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar is accompanied by cravings, hunger, weakness, mood swings and decreased energy. The hunger and cravings tend to cause the sugar consumption to perpetuate itself, resulting in a vicious cycle of ups and downs in energy throughout the day.
When excessive amounts of carbohydrates are ingested, particularly high glycemic (sugar content) simple carbohydrates, insulin converts the excess glucose in the blood into triglycerides (blood fat) that are then stored in the fat cells. And, worse yet, is the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a dangerous hormone that actually kills brain cells, increases fat storage, and breaks down lean muscle mass.
So, how do we control our blood sugar levels, stop storing fat, and start burning it? The answer is found in two easy steps:
1. Choose low/moderate glycemic index carbohydrates. The natural simple carbohydrates are “healthy,” but ALL simple carbohydrates should be used in moderation during fat-reducing programs. When we talk about simple carbohydrates, we’re often referring to refined sugar and white flour products as these are the bad carbohydrates. But not all simple carbohydrates are bad. Some simple carbohydrates occur in nature. These natural sugars include fructose (found in fruit) and lactose (found in dairy products). Natural sugars are fine when eaten in moderation.
2. Combine these carbohydrates with a protein or essential oil/fat. You can manage your blood sugar and insulin levels by choosing fewer simple carbohydrates, more complex carbohydrates, eating fiber and having your carbohydrates with lean proteins approximately every three hours.
The combination and balance of a protein and carbohydrate trigger the release of another potent hormone, glucagon. Glucagon, like insulin, maintains a healthy blood sugar balance. However, unlike insulin, glucagon promotes fat burning and mobilization of fat molecules.
Advantages to maintaining a stable blood sugar level:
1. Promotes fat loss
2. Consistent energy levels
3. Controls hunger cravings
4. Reduces risk for diabetes
Excessive sugar and insulin can directly effect the strength of your immune and cardiovascular system. For healthy weight loss and to maintain and even increase your biological age, it is important to maintain stability in your blood sugar level.
Malton Schexneider is a practicing physical therapist, nationally known speaker, former university professor, author, orthopedic specialist, & personal success coach to people seeking lifestyle transformation. For more on healthy weight loss programs go to http://www.metamorphicweightloss.com