Blood Sugar, Insulin Sensitivity, and Triglycerides are three very complicated pieces of the overall health puzzle when losing weight fast. Within these three body processes you will find huge variations between one person and the next. This is part of what makes the process of losing weight so complicated.
Some of us are more catabolic and some of us are more anabolic. This makes a huge difference as to whether are food feeds muscle growth or is stored as body fat.
Some of us have high testosterone, some of us have high estrogen. Some of us are highly sensitive to insulin. Some of us don’t produce enough T4, a thyroid hormone that is important for metabolism. Some of us have low serotonin and always feel hungry and sad.
And there are many other things that we haven’t been able to cover here.
Some of this is genetically determined and it’s always going to be easier for some people’s attempts at losing weight fast than others. But that said, there are ways you can maximize your genetic potential and manage your own metabolism to give yourself a bit of a helping hand.
And this is where it makes a lot of sense to start thinking outside the limiting concept of ‘calories in/calories out’. If your daily caloric burn is lower than normal due to a very slow metabolism, then you will find yourself very hungry and struggling hard to try and get your calorie intake low enough for losing weight fast.
It would be more beneficial to try and fix that metabolism as much as possible so that you will start to respond better to the food going into your system.
The first way to do this? Visit your doctor. If you have tried and failed to lose weight consistently, then it is possible that you may have a condition like pre-diabetes or hypothyroidism. This is particularly true if you notice other symptoms such as tiredness, acne, mood swings etc. Likewise, you should consider the role that a contraceptive pill might be having. This can increase levels of estrogen which in turn can enhance fat storage. In this case, you may notice that you started gaining weight shortly after you went on the pill and in that case, coming off it could help you to more easily manage your calories.
Otherwise, there are also a few things you can do to adjust your metabolism.
Your first option is to try and control your blood sugar levels and to increase your insulin sensitivity. This is one of the first changes you need to consider when you are working on losing weight fast.
Managing Blood Sugar
The problem with high carbohydrate, low fat diets is that they massive spike our blood sugar levels on regular occurrences. And actually, this is also a broader problem with American diets in general which contain a lot of simple carbs in the form of processed snacks.
Carbohydrates are foods that include:
- Soda drinks
These are the closest foods to pure sugar and as such, they provide a very immediate energy source for the human body. At the same time though, this means that they digest very quickly and release the sugar rapidly into the blood via digestion. This sudden spike then causes a surge in energy, followed by a trough once the insulin has been released and once the sugar has been used or stored as fat. The spike also means that energy is more likely to be stored as fat as the body has a sudden surplus of energy and nothing to do with it!
If you have a diet that consists of lots of bread, crisps and chocolates – and especially if you eat ‘low fat’ versions of those foods – then your blood sugar level will constantly be alternating between high and low. You’ll have a sudden surge of energy, followed by a crash with lethargy and hunger pangs and the urge to snack. What’s more, is that you’ll be consistently taxing your body and over time you can ruin your sensitivity to insulin so that your body responds less efficiently to an increase in sugar and you aren’t able to properly utilize that energy.
If you already have a genetic predisposition and you follow this with a very bad diet high in carbs, then you can eventually even cause type 2 diabetes. Even if you never get to this point, you’ll find you store more fat, feel less energetic and feel hungrier a lot of the time.
Eat More Fat and Protein
Fats and proteins meanwhile take much longer to digest and they release their energy more slowly throughout the day. This provides your body with a steady stream of glucose which it can use as it goes about daily tasks and activities. You don’t get the sudden spike but you also don’t get the sudden trough. And because your body has to make use of consistent, low levels of glucose, your insulin sensitivity stays very good and you become more efficient at using the energy in your system.
Meanwhile, fats also help your body to produce a lot of other necessary hormones such as testosterone – which enhances fat loss and muscle gain when you’re in an anabolic state.
The answer here though is not to suddenly stop eating carbohydrates altogether.
All Carbs Are Not Created Equal
Carbohydrates might spike the blood sugar but they are still important for a range of other things and for providing energy. In fact, if you completely cut your carbohydrate intake then this can be enough to immediately lower your testosterone production leading to weight gain, low energy, low mood and even poor libido.
Fortunately, not all carbohydrates are made equal and some carbohydrates spike the blood more than others. In particular, you need to look at the GI rating. The ‘Glycemic Index’ essentially tells you how much sugar hits the blood stream, with 100 being the score you would give to pure glucose. The lower the GI of a select carbohydrate, the more ‘complex’ it is and the more slowly it will release it energy.
Brown, whole-grain, whole-wheat bread for example is lower GI and so are sweet potatoes. Likewise, so too are oats. If you start your day with a big bowl of oats, it should release slowly into your system and provide you with all of the energy you need to get through the day without snacking.
Generally, any carbohydrates with lots of fiber will be slowly to digest while ‘white’, ‘soft’ or ‘sweet’ carbohydrates are more likely to spike your blood sugar.
Some simple carbs are still good for you. Fruits for example pack in so much nutrition that they’re worth the slight spike in blood sugar for most people. Just try to limit the amount of sugar rushes you are giving yourself throughout the day and judge on a case-by-case basis.
But what you can definitely leave out? That would be the processed sweets and snacks. Crisps, chocolate bars, Coca-Cola. All of these increase your calorie total, they spike your blood sugar and they don’t offer any nutrition in return! This is something that the Paleo diet has gotten right and there is absolutely no merit to this kind of food other than the fact that it is tasty and you might enjoy it as an occasional treat (because no one can be 100% well-behaved all of the time!).
Eat in a slightly more organic, slightly more Paleo manner and you will find you automatically end up on more of a slow carbohydrate diet. You’ll be eating more cruciferous vegetables, more nuts and seeds, more meats, more fish… and as a result your body will be provided with lots of energy that it can slowly process.
Justin Arndt is the author of the upcoming book, Lose Weight Fast: Weight Loss Secrets of Professional Athletes, as well as the article The Health Benefits of Pokemon Go. Justin is the Senior Fitness Editor at loseweight.io.