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Natural Living

Lose Weight by Controlling Insulin and Blood Sugar Spikes

Last month, Kat shared the story of a woman who gained health by letting go of outdated notions about food. Here, Kat tells how you can let go of a self-destructive, restrictive relationship with food.

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8 Top Weight Loss Tips

The following concepts from my book, The Truth About Beauty, can help you break out of your self-destructive, restrictive food prison.

  1. Trade in your weight-loss plan for a health-gain plan. Excess weight is not a weight problem-it’s a health problem that calorie restriction and exercise won’t fix. Get to the biochemical cause.
  2. Exercise for the right reasons. All the huffing and puffing in the world will not correct out-of-whack blood sugar and brain chemistry issues.
  3. Want to prevent an eating disorder? Don’t skip meals.
  4. Watch out for the low-fat, high-protein trap. Remember that excess protein turns to sugar.
  5. Get enough fat and thoroughly follow a diet that does not spike your blood sugar. This is the best way to keep calm and satiated.
  6. Give yourself more nutrition, not less.
  7. Forget willpower. Cravings and overeating can be cured through deep nourishment.
  8. A blood sugar-spiking diet with inadequate nutrients guarantees weight gain (or unhealthful restriction), not to mention premature aging. It also leads to the energy and mood roller-coaster. For example, low-fat diets were associated with psychological problems, including depression, fatigue, and even suicide, according to a study published in The Lancet.

When it comes to food, many Americans live each day either in a temporarily “successful” state of self-deprivation (in the name of weight loss) or in a rebound period of overindulgence. As a result, the rate of eating disorders in women is at an all-time high-as much as 65 percent, according to some figures.

Last month (see July’s Biggest Gainer Part 1), I shared the story of Kim from Kemah, Tex., who traded in a lifetime of overexercise and fat restriction for nutrient- and fat-indulgence (and didn’t gain an ounce of weight doing it) while at my Total Transformation program in North Carolina. This month, in the spirit of Better Nutrition’s prevention theme, I’m sharing my own victory over the “boot camp” mentality, as well as some concepts I’ve honed doing my Total Transformation programs for more than 10 years. I hope they can help you avoid harsh self-treatment in the name of physical transformation just as they’ve helped me.

Why Calorie Restriction Does Not Work

Give Up the “Boot Camp” Mentality

Many a love-hate relationship with food begins with innocent dieting and calorie restriction, followed by bingeing that, in turn, leads to harsher extremes, such as skipping meals, exercising obsessively, and purging. This was my story. In college, all the emotional and spiritual work I did couldn’t stop my worsening binges and periods of starvation. Throughout the first half of my adult life, I “successfully” starved myself for weeks or months between bingeing streaks, losing the same 40 pounds repeatedly. It wasn’t until I got sick with a failing liver that I finally woke up and looked into nutrition, which saved my life. I never dreamed, however, that nutrition would give me a life free from cravings and weight gain.

My then “perfect” diet of whole grains, vegetables, and fat-free desserts could hardly be improved on-I thought. I was proud of it, but puzzled that I still had uncontrollable urges around food (and thus, the need for constant attempts at restriction). By using supplements to correct biochemical imbalances and experimenting with a high-fat, grain-free/nonstarchy diet, I experienced a quantum leap to total peace with and in my body for the first time-and the resulting end of any need for self-deprivation, since I was no longer compelled to overeat. With zero effort or intention to lose weight, 10 dress sizes melted off over the next few years. That is a miracle if you consider that the first half of my life was about white-knuckle restriction and dietary fat avoidance, followed with heroin-like food binges and a totally shot metabolism.

Was I just lucky that I could stop starving myself, eat fat, lose weight, and find freedom from my fear of weight gain? To find out, I started conducting Total Transformation retreats in 1998. I wanted to see if others would experience the same amazing peace, weight normalization, and skin and energy improvements if they “lived along” with my somewhat unusual lifestyle principles. To my delight, they did: I have since found many success stories similar to mine.

Why Reducing Blood Sugar and Insulin Spikes Helps with Weight Loss

Better than Boot Camp: Science and Strategy Beat Suffering

It turns out that any diet that halts blood sugar and insulin spikes also allows the cells to regain sensitivity to the powerful anti-aging, weight, and hunger-regulating hormone leptin. This is great news for those who have resigned themselves to a lifetime of suffering for slimness. But it is almost impossible to derive this effect without generous amounts of fat in the diet. High protein alone doesn’t work, as the excess protein will turn to sugar. 

“High protein without enough fat will fail to keep you from spiking blood sugar, and will not allow your proper leptin and satiety signaling to return,” says Ron Rosedale, MD, author of The Rosedale Diet and a pioneering researcher on the hormone leptin. “If you don’t get enough fat, you will likely eat too much protein, which then turns to sugar,” he says.

Why Moderate Exercise is Important

Exercise is a powerful antidepressant. It increases circulation and moves lymph fluid, and is therefore both nourishing and detoxifying to the body. Moderate exercise lowers cortisol and increases the release of natural human growth hormone, which helps promote youthful vitality. But many weight-obsessed people who believe that fat makes you fat, are engaged in excessive exercise that is anything but self-nurturing. If your workout is no longer enjoyable, or if you feel a significant drop in self-esteem, or even antisocial as a result of a missed workout, you might find new comfort and gentle compassion for yourself once you look beyond the calorie-burning paradigm of weight loss to the biochemical workings that could be revolutionizing your ability to burn fat and end hunger without all the sweat and suffering.