We talk about belly fat a lot, because it’s more than just a problem with your appearance. It’s a health issue.
Yes, your belly fat may be unsightly, and it may be uncomfortable to bend over and tie your shoes with that extra roll around your middle. But the greater issue is that the fat that you see on the outside may just be the tip of the iceberg. There also may be fat around your internal organs, and that internal fat is very very inflammatory and can cause metabolic disorders, including diabetes and heart disease.
So what does insulin resistance have to do with it?
Insulin resistance is when your cells’ receptor sites become desensitized to insulin, and no longer let your insulin lock into its receptor. Insulin escorts glucose (sugar) to your cells for energy. If your insulin receptors are resistant to insulin, that means they do not accept insulin, so glucose cannot get into the cells. But this means that neither can water, amino acids, or fatty acids. This can leave your cells malnourished and dehydrated, and you without adequate energy.
So, if your blood sugar cannot get into your cells because they’re insulin resistant, what happens to all that sugar?
It gets repackaged by your liver into triglycerides, which get stored in your belly fat. Your belly fat is actually a great place to store sugar for future use, just like a bear in hibernation that lives off its fat storage.
You can survive long periods of famine by living off the sugar stored in your belly fat. Your hypothalamus controls this very basic survival technique. When you consume more food than you need for energy, your hypothalamus directs your liver to repackage that extra sugar for you to use later. Except unlike the hibernating bear, you don’t have to survive months of not eating. So you just keep eating and storing sugar in your belly fat. As a result, your organs that don’t use the extra sugar for energy become resistant to insulin, and the extra sugar gets stored in your belly.
Insulin resistance is a basic survival technique that we no longer need, since food is available to us all year long.
So how do you lose belly fat by reversing insulin resistance?
There are five things that you can do to help your cells become more sensitized to insulin, and start losing that belly fat.
#1 – Diet
Following an insulin resistant diet while practicing circadian rhythm fasting is the best way to reverse insulin resistance.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the first thing you need to do is change what you’re eating. An insulin resistant diet is basically is low in high glycemic index carbohydrates, which are turned into sugar quickly. This includes foods like desserts, baked goods, bread, pasta, starches, and potatoes. Instead, include foods like colorful vegetables, fruits, adequate-protein, and healthy fats in your diet.
Another important factor to consider is when you’re eating. By following your natural circadian rhythm, you only eat in the daytime. From dusk to dawn, you fast and allow nocturnal hormones like melatonin to help resensitize your insulin receptors, which means you’re going to use that stored sugar in your belly fat for energy.
#2 – Exercise
Exercise is the second way to reverse insulin resistance and lose belly fat.
Particularly, aerobic exercise or high-intensity training is highly effective at sensitizing insulin receptors. Research has shown that as little as three 20 second intervals of speed work three times a week, can help reverse insulin resistance.
I find that high-intensity training, or HIT, is actually fairly easy to do. It doesn’t take much time. I like to go on a fast walk for at least five to ten minutes, during which I find a hill. Then, I speed walk as fast as I can up the hill for 20 seconds, and then slowly walk back down. I repeat the speed interval twice more, and then cool down by walking back home. Doing this just three times a week is very effective when it comes to keeping fit, reversing insulin resistance, and losing that extra belly fat.
#3 – Sleep
The third thing way to reverse insulin resistance and lose belly fat is to get good sleep. While you’re sleeping, you’re producing melatonin. This nocturnal hormone not only puts you into a deep sleep, but it also helps reverse insulin resistance. In order to make enough melatonin to re-sensitize your insulin receptors, it’s critical that you’re sleeping in the complete dark. Do not expose yourself to digital devices right before you go to bed, because the blue light from the screens will halt your melatonin production. Your goal is to get seven to nine hours of sleep at night to effectively reverse insulin resistance and lose belly fat.
#4 – Stress Reduction
Stress increases adrenaline and cortisol production, and the higher your cortisol levels are, the more likely you’re going to have more sugar floating around in the bloodstream. If you’re really not running from danger, you don’t need extra cortisol or extra sugar, so you can end up storing the sugar as body fat. To reverse insulin resistance, you have to lower your cortisol levels. And one of the ways to lower cortisol is to practice stress reduction techniques, which include deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, spiritual practices, and journaling. There are lots of ways to reduce your stress. I have a particular meditation that is available to you in our Hormone Reboot Training.
#5 – Support your Hypothalamus
The fifth way that you can actually help to reverse insulin resistance is by supporting your hypothalamus. I know I talk a lot about the hypothalamus, but it is super important that it gets the support it needs. Otherwise, you’re going to be in a dangerous inflammatory state because your hypothalamus controls your hormones, including cortisol and your glucose metabolism.
By supporting your hypothalamus, you can help normalize your glucose metabolism, re-sensitize your insulin receptors, and calm your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis so you’re not producing too much cortisol.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can join us in our Hormone Support Group, where I answer your questions live. You can access the group by signing up for my free Hormone Reboot Training.
Remember, to reverse your insulin resistance and lose that belly fat, you only need to do five things.
Know what and when to eat, exercise, get enough sleep, practice stress reduction techniques, and support your hypothalamus. It may seem like a lot, but you’re more capable than you think! You’ve got this.
Why would your cells become resistant to insulin? Well, if you have too much sugar floating around in your bloodstream and you do not feed it for energy, then the parts of your body that cannot store sugar close their receptor sites.
For instance, your heart cannot store sugar. The organ can only use sugar for energy, to pump blood throughout your body, or to grow itself. If you make a fist, you can see a rough model of the size of your heart. Were it to grow any bigger, your heart would be an inefficient pump for your body. So your heart becomes insulin resistant to protect itself and you from runaway growth.
So where does all that extra sugar go? To your fat cells, as they never become insulin resistant. Their job is to store all the extra sugar in the form of triglyceride (3 sugar molecules on fat), which is produced by your liver. Only your liver and muscles can store glucose, about four hundred calories worth.
All the extra glucose goes to your fat cells, and your belly is where most of that sugar gets stored. In fact, in Medicine, we call the roll of fat around your middle your “Insulin Meter”. The bigger the insulin meter, the more insulin resistant your cell receptor sites have become.
This adds not only to the fat you can see around your stomach but also to the fat stored around your internal organs.
All that extra fat is very inflammatory, which will interact with the extra insulin floating around, unable to get into your cell receptor sites, inflaming your cardiovascular system. This process is just one way that insulin resistance contributes to clogged arteries, stroke, and heart attacks.
If you develop insulin resistance, your cells are not only deprived of glucose, they are deprived of amino acids, fatty acid building blocks, as well as water. You become dehydrated and malnourished, you can be overweight and also malnourished. The key to reversing insulin resistance lies in lowering your sugar and starch intake. Only eat low glycemic carbs, plus protein and fat.
And do not forget to exercise. The more active you are, the more sensitive your cells are to insulin. All that extra blood sugar has got be used, so work it off. There are drugs that help lower your blood sugar. But there are also supplements that help reverse insulin resistance naturally.
Hormone Healing Tip: take Chromium with Every Meal
In head to head studies, chromium helps reverse insulin resistance as effectively as the drug tested, metformin, without the side effects. Chromium is a mineral that helps sensitize your cells to insulin. Take 400mg of chromium nicotinate, with each meal, to help reverse insulin resistance.
And be sure you are taking your Genesis Gold every day to enhance your sensitivity to all of your hormones!
Biology’s response to dieting: the impetus for weight regain, Insulin and obesity transform hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis stemness and function in a hyperactive state, Physiological adaptations to wight loss and factors favouring weight regain.
*Statements not reviewed by the FDA.