Remember the no-carb craze? I admit, I lost a lot of weight when I initially cut carbs in exchange for more protein and healthy fats. In fact, I remember how amazing I felt once my body adjusted to the lack of starch in my diet. As a healthy lifestyle coach, I’ve learned I’m not alone. Many women are “carb sensitive.”
Have you ever heard of the term insulin resistance? I first learned about the terms a few years ago when my contest prep coach suspected I had some issues with how my body was utilizing insulin (our body’s primary fat storage hormone).
While training and dieting for a fitness competition, I was having a very difficult time leaning out. No matter what I did or how clean I ate, the body fat wasn’t coming off. This was extremely frustrating. By the time my competition came around, I was doing up to two hours of cardio per day in addition to weight training.
However, once I eliminated the starchy carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes and oats) the weight came off. Convinced that I was pre-diabetic and suffering from insulin resistance, I booked an appointment with my doctor to get to the bottom of it. To my surprise, all tests came back normal. In fact, she said I couldn’t be healthier. My doctor suspected that my inability to lose weight with carbs in my diet was simply the result of too much dieting.
And it’s something she sees quite often; especially among fitness competitors. When I started to think about it, I realized that many women have issues losing weight; especially as they get older. If you talk to any female in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond, you will learn that they’ve likely tried some type of diet in their lifetime, if not many.
After the competition, I was determined to do things right and avoid what’s known as the “dreaded rebound”. Once the competition is over, it’s extremely important to avoid eating everything in sight. Those who do this will likely gain a lot of weight quickly, as the body is more sensitive to certain foods.
To ensure this didn’t happen, I hired a dietician to get me get back on track. Slowly we introduced carbs back into my diet (also known reverse dieting). And to my surprise, I didn’t gain weight.
Another “ah ha” moment for me. Although my doctor may have ruled out insulin resistance, she didn’t rule out carb sensitivity. So although I may not have an underlying health problem, I believe my body has some issues when it comes to processing carbohydrates. And I realize I’m not alone. The reason behind this isn’t clear to me. However, I believe it could be a result of yo-yo dieting, my genetics (body type), the ageing process and years of eating sugar.
In fact, I’ve come to realize that I’m not much different than any other thirty-something female. As we age, our metabolisms slow down and most of us gain weight. From my experience as a personal trainer and certified nutrition coach, very few women can follow a high carb diet and lose weight unless they are an athlete, marathon runner or are simply blessed with a certain body type.
I’ve learned that by paying close attention to my body, re-introducing carbs slowly and giving myself more time to diet down during competition season, I will achieve much better results without compromising my health.
If you suspect that you’re carb sensitive, here are a few things you can do:
1) Eat small, frequent meals. This keeps your blood sugar stable, which helps to avoid spikes in insulin.
2) Exercise frequently and include both resistance training and high intensity interval training. This helps to keep insulin sensitivity high, so that sugar is used for energy, rather than stored as fat.
3) Monitor your body when you eat. Determine which foods you are sensitive to. You likely need to eat less of them or time them around your workouts. Remember, carbs raise your blood sugar levels. So so if you aren’t eating the right ones or you eat too many, you will likely see the effects. If you get bloated after you eat certain foods, it’s your body’s way of telling you to stop eating them.
4) Eat plenty of vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins.
5) Get enough sleep. I always crave high carb, sugary foods when I’m tired.
6) Eliminate refined sugar altogether. I believe that sugar is very addictive. Not only does it raise your blood sugar levels and increase fat storage, but it also leaves you wanting more.
7) Cleanse your body on a regular basis. This is a new rule for me and it works. A weekly cleanse rids your body of toxins, while keeping sugar cravings to a minimum and energy levels high. Another added benefit to cleanse days is weight loss. Interested in learning more about the cleansing strategy I can’t live without? I highly recommend the 30-Day System. For more info, Click Here or contact me today!
Note: If you follow these steps and you still are not losing weight, you may want to see your doctor. Insulin resistance and Metabolic Sydnrome are serious conditions that eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes.