How Your Hormones May Be Preventing You From Losing Weight, & What You Can Do About It

Carbs, Insulin, & Weight Gain

Insulin is a hormone which helps to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. It does this by utilizing sugar.  When you eat, your pancreas releases insulin, which then finds sugar in the blood and delivers it to your cells for energy. 

The more sugar from carbohydrates a meal contains, the more insulin gets released into the blood stream.  Your body can tell how carb-heavy a meal is because of your taste buds; the receptors on your tongue which detect sugar send signals to the brain letting it know that carbs are being consumed.  In the process of insulin delivering energy to the cells, guess what is NOT happening?  Your body is NOT burning fat for energy.  [1]When insulin is present in the blood stream, fat loss is stalled.  Also, if there is more sugar in your blood than insulin can carry out to the cells, it will get converted to and stored as fat.

Insulin Resistance & Weight Gain

Your body’s insulin response is also referred to as “insulin sensitivity.”  Insulin sensitivity is determined by genetics but can also be impacted by age, hormonal dis-regulation, and/or your eating habits if you have a predisposition for insulin resistance, diabetes, or exhibit very poor eating habits. For women specifically, insulin sensitivity can decrease due to PCOS and changing hormone levels as we get older.

The higher your insulin sensitivity is, the more effective it is at moving sugar out of the blood stream.  This is the reason why some people can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.  Insulin is working well in their bodies, and they probably also have high metabolism.  This means their bodies are using energy at a very fast rate.  As a result, there is a minimal, if any, sugar left in the bloodstream for fat conversion.

People with a slower insulin response, however, gain weight more easily because insulin is not moving sugar out of the bloodstream the way it should.  As a result, there is always excess sugar in the blood which gets converted to fat and then stored.

Over time, insulin insensitivity may develop into insulin resistance if there’s a genetic predisposition, or from eating too many processed, high-sugar foods.  The body becomes resistant to insulin the same way it becomes resistant to medication and other substances after repeated exposure.  When this happens, sugar stays in the bloodstream no matter how much insulin the pancreas releases.  As a result, this sugar gets converted to fat and then stored in the body.  But something else also happens.  Since the sugar is not being delivered to the cells as energy, your appetite increases as well as your cravings for sugar.  This creates a vicious and almost unstoppable cycle of weight gain.

Insulin resistance is reversible through diet modification and exercise, and there are also ways to improve and maximize your insulin response; however, if a person does not work on their eating habits, insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

What You Can Do About It

At this point you may be wondering if you should stop eating carbs altogether.  Absolutely not.  Your body needs the energy it derives from carbs.  The key is not to eliminate them but to implement strategies for consuming them while maximizing your results. I delve into three proven strategies for eating carbs without having to worry in my FIT curriculum.

I also discovered an amazing supplement for helping the body regulate blood sugar levels. Personally, I have a predisposition for insulin resistance due to family history. Once I hit the age of 35, I found myself gaining weight very quickly and I’ve been finding it almost impossible to lose weight despite my best efforts. I attribute this to the joys of getting older! To help combat this, I’ve been employing a carb-timing strategy in addition to taking this supplement between meals, and I’m blown away by the results. For one, it helps to keep my blood sugar levels steady, which has eliminated cravings and spikes in hunger between meals. I’ve also seen steady weight loss progress, the healthy kind–I do not support quick-fix diets and tricks. My clothes are fitting more loosely as I lose inches. This is filling me with such a feeling of relief, as I was starting to feel really discouraged by what has been happening with my body lately, especially as a health coach and fitness professional.

What is Captavida?

Captavida is a glucose support and weight management supplement used by diabetics and anyone struggling with insulin resistance. Any one of my clients, past or present, will tell you I am very conservative when it comes to supplementation. I’ve only ever suggested they look into certain vitamin and mineral supplementation, and always advised them to seek confirmation from their medical provider before taking anything. Captavida is no different. In the 6 years I’ve been a certified fitness professional, I have never sold weight loss products, but this product is no ordinary BS weight loss supplement or “fat burner” offering unrealistic results. It is completely caffeine free and its all natural ingredients have been proven effective for helping to regulate blood sugar. Many of the ingredients I was already familiar with (with turmeric, cinnamon, aloe, ALA, and chromium) and knew their proven benefits, but this is the first time I’ve seen so many powerful and effective ingredients in one supplement. Take a look at what’s inside:

  • Biotin is an important component of enzymes in the body which metabolize certain substances like fats and carbohydrates.
  • Berberine, a chemical found in many plants, can also help regulate how the body uses sugar in the blood. It’s been used for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Bitter melon contains a chemical that acts like insulin to help reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Curcumin C3 is an extract derived from the rhizomes (root) of the turmeric plant.  It’s the main active ingredient in turmeric, and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is also a very strong antioxidant.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) improves the body’s ability to use its own insulin to lower blood sugar.
  • Cinnamon Powder improves sensitivity to insulin and has anti-inflammatory & anti-oxidant effects.
  • Ginseng Extract lowers blood sugar  in patients with type 2 diabetes when taken 2 hours before a meal (up to 3 grams, or 100-300 mg).
  • Aloe Vera can reduce blood sugar and improve cholesterol.   Research suggests that taking 147 mg of aloe gel twice daily for 8 weeks reduces body weight and fat mass in overweight or obese people with diabetes or prediabetes.
  • Laurus Nobilis aka Sweet Bay: early studies suggest that taking ground bay leaf 2x a day along with medication for diabetes can lower pre-meal blood sugar levels, “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood fats called triglycerides in people with diabetes. It can also increase “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Chromium Picolinate is effective at improving the body’s response to insulin or lowering blood sugar in those with diabetes. It can also help reduce hunger, cravings, and binge eating.

Disclaimer: Do your research own research, look into your own family history, and speak to your certified health care/medical practitioner about ways to manage your health and your weight BEFORE trying any supplement, including Captavida. I am writing about my experience with this product and its potential benefits, but am not prescribing this as a cure for diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, weight loss or any other disease (including but not limited to high cholesterol and high blood pressure). The best way to manage your health and your weight is through a healthy diet and exercise.

[1] Fun fact: Did you know that artificial sweeteners can impede your fat loss progress?  When you consume “diet” & “sugar free” products which are sweetened artificially, your taste buds are still signaling to the brain that something sweet is being consumed even if it isn’t a real source of sugar.  Artificial sweeteners have the same impact on insulin levels as real sugar sources.  When insulin is present in the blood stream, your body is NOT burning fat.  Stevia is the only naturally derived, zero calorie sweetener which doesn’t impact blood insulin levels

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