Break the cycle. We have talked endlessly about how insulin resistance creates a vicious cycle of escalating resistance and build-up of body fat, which causes further cyclical problems. If you are on the road to insulin resistance or diabetes then drastic action can yield strong benefits. As carbohydrates are the only significant trigger for insulin and thus insulin resistance, limiting your carbohydrates to 10% or less of your total calories can almost eliminate the progression of insulin resistance. Studies have shown that diabetics who cut to 10% or less carbs improve so much that many of them can eliminate many or all of their medications, including insulin shots.
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For those with insulin resistance the 10% or less diet can be used as a short term diet to break those cycles and hopefully a more moderate carbohydrate balance can be found for a more permanent diet.
Time your meals. Late dinners and midnight snacks can be detrimental to insulin resistance. Insulin levels will normalize during the overnight fast between your evening meal and break-fast the following day, so increasing this fast by eating an early dinner and a later breakfast can help to fight insulin resistance. If you have snacks, try to make them high protein like nuts so that you feel fuller longer and are not tempted to eat more carbs.
Balance your meals. We talked about how different foods are broken down and how they impact your blood sugar but it is important to know that all that food goes to the same place in order to break down. Eating a meal of pasta with sugary tomato sauce, garlic bread and a dessert of ice cream is carbs paired with carbs and more carbs causing a high and lasting blood sugar spike. Pairing quinoa or brown rice with fiber rich vegetables and lean meats provides a buffer that slows and lessens the impact of sugars. Ginger and cinnamon are great superfoods for blood sugar management but taking them during or immediately after a meal goes a long way in better managing blood sugar.
Change shopping venues. Changing where you get your food can encourage better eating habits. Eating healthy is a lot easier if you only buy healthy foods. Try making your regular grocery stop a whole foods or natural food store where you can get less processed and packaged foods and more organic foods and healthy fruits and vegetables. Try going to your local farmers market and pick up some fresh local produce. You might be amazed how skilled your local farmers are. It can be a fun and refreshing experience too.
Lower your stress. Managing your stress can go a long way in reversing the road to insulin resistance. For some people, taking 5 minutes out of the day to relax does wonders. Yoga is an obvious stress reducer but even shutting the lights off and putting a cool compress over your eyes can slow or stop the stream of cortisol. Hopefully, you make the big life decisions like finding a career where you love going into work each morning. Little steps to reduce stress can count for a lot over the long term.
Move! Yes exercise is extremely important and more exercise is almost always beneficial as most people rarely get to the point of overtraining. Even so, our lives and jobs can make it difficult to get in a full work out. This is not an excuse to sit around all day, but rather a challenge to find the parts of your day where you can be more active.
Take the stairs to work.
Adopt a standing desk; standing burns 50-100 calories more per hour than sitting and thats not counting any air squats or other fidgeting you might do.
Try walking or biking to work. You can cover a lot more ground than you might realize. For those living and working in a city it might be faster to bike to work.
Constantly think of ways to work yourself just a little bit more. Park farther away. Go for a nice walk outside. The possibilities are limitless.
Pick the right foods. Knowing what to eat is very important as there are many surprising foods that can really speed up the development of insulin resistance. Here are some foods that are good at preventing or reversing insulin resistance.
Green tea and coffee. The caffeine in these drinks actually promotes the release and burning of fat and can improve insulin sensitivity. In moderation. Caffeine is actually quite healthy for those who can tolerate it. Aside from caffeine. Coffee and tea have a host of other micronutrients and antioxidants important to leading a healthy life.
Switch to unprocessed cooking oils like olive or coconut oil. These have a much greater ratio of healthy fats and lack the unhealthy man made fats found in processed or refined vegetable oils.
Find organic omega 3 eggs. These eggs are not only protein rich and satisfyingly but they also have a higher ratio of omega 3 to saturated fat due to the chickens diet and are all the better at controlling insulin resistance.
Choose real. Whole. Unprocessed foods. The more processed a food is the greater chance that it has added sodium. Fat and sugar. Our distant ancestors rarely had problems with insulin resistance or diabetes. So its probably a good idea to follow their example when it comes to food choices.