So, Why Am I Not Losing Weight?
If you're troubled by your diet and exercise regime and you tend to gain back all you shed pounds every time you digress from your plan, you're not alone. In fact, you are among the 75% of the population who has not been controlling it's insulin levels.
North Americans are eating less fat than ever, yet they are gaining weight to a point where the World Health Organization has called it an epidemic. A Type 2 diabetes epidemic is also in progress - a new case is diagnosed every eight and a half minutes in Canada. In Type 2 diabetes, the body produces enough, or a lot of insulin (the storage hormone that's secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar) but appears to be resistant to its proper utilization, a condition known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes. This form of diabetes is totally controllable by diet, although few people choose that route. Most Type 2 diabetes gain weight because the excess insulin prevents the mobilization of free fatty acids to be burned for energy.
Insulin could be dubbed the good guy/bad guy. You can't live without it - just ask any Type 1 diabetic - but too much causes a plethora of problems, including:
- frequent hunger
- fat storage
- sodium retention leading to fluid retention and hypertension
- essential fatty acid metabolic interference leading to hormonal imbalances, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.
- prostrate growth
The only way to control blood insulin levels is by carefully and responsibly selecting carbohydrate sources and by exercising. Exercise does reduce insulin levels, but only for about two hours, and less if you follow your exercise with a high-carbohydrate drink or snack (a good idea to speed recovery following exhaustive exercise, but not when following moderate aerobic exercise designed to burn calories and lose weight).
I have found the least painful and healthiest way for dietary control of insulin is to follow a food selection program of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. (Remember, even the American Heart Association does not endorse a fat intake below 30%) This plan has been dubbed the "40-30-30" plan, as opposed to the typical dietary habits and recommendations of 60-15-25 or 55-15-30, or the athlete's diet of 60-20-20. A few simple rules must be followed in a 40-30-30 eating plan, which is not short-term "diet" but rather a responsible lifestyle choice. These rules include:
- Eat protein in every meal and every snack - no exceptions.
- Eat some of your protein and fat first to control the rate of blood-sugar elevation.
- Choose low Glycemic Index vegetables and fruits as your main source of carbohydrates. They raise the blood sugar slowly and have higher nutritional density per calorie as well as more fiber.
- Minimize pop, juice, dried fruit, bananas, root vegetables and corn.
- Choose fewer grain products as your carbohydrate choices, and always use the most unprocessed versions.
- Include essential fatty acids (EFAs) in every meal. EFAs and high-quality proteins are the "spark plugs to metabolism".
- Food supplementation is not an option for ensuring good health; it's a necessity. Start with a complete and reputable multivitamin and some EFAs, such as lecithin and gamma linoleic acid.
Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1/2 cup plain yoghurt, 1 slice whole-grain bread, 1 cup strawberries and 1 tablespoon slivered almonds.
Lunch: 3 ounces grilled chicken, 2 cups lettuce, 1/4 cup each onions, mushrooms and tomatoes; some spices of choice with 2 tablespoons oil & vinegar dressing; an orange for dessert.
Dinner: 4 ounces fish fillet with 1/2 ounce shredded cheese; 1 cup chopped spinach salad with onions, red peppers, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil & vinegar dressing; 1/2 pear for dessert.
Two snacks per day could include: 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt or 1 ounce of cheddar cheese and an apple, or 1 cup of 1% milk and 4 to 6 almonds or 1 ounce soft cheese and 4 ounces of wine.
High-quality diets are automatically lower in calories because they supply the nutrient demands efficiently. This offers approximately 1,100 calories per day, and I can assure you that you won't feel hungry. You'll have lots of energy and will still lose weight, safely, quickly and permanently.
L. Lee Coyne