It’s a new year and like most folks, you’re probably embarking on an inclined treadmill like the ramp to the SS Fabulous Me.  Along with the New Year party favors, gym memberships have been exploding in full spandex regalia.

Before you beat yourself up for …well, just about everything not perfect with your body, read on. Some new information may be just the thing that turns it around for you.

Everyone agrees that it’s a lot easier to maintain health than to chase after it once things go rogue. But, if you’re not in tip top shape and find yourself staring in the mirror vowing swift and definitive action, know that you’re in good company.

Science shows that there is no one nutritional and movement approach that will work for everyone. Why? Hormones, metabolism, and what is consumed matters and can vary greatly between individuals. Determining where your endocrine system is on the spectrum of its complex symphony plays a huge role in how effective your efforts will be. Higher than normal insulin levels from insulin resistance (pre-diabetes or Type II diabetes) tell your body to store fat. High cortisol levels from stress also tell your body to store fat. Sugars go on to be stored as fat. So, the outdated mantra of calories in and calories out will not apply when hormones are not balanced. Those same calories behave differently in a metabolically broken individual than they do in a metabolically sound person.

Everyone agrees across the board that refined sugar is detrimental to all health efforts.  Almost 80% of all processed foods in the grocery store have some form of sugar added to it, whether hidden under a stealthy proper noun or announced with a brazen neon label. You must become an informed consumer and your own best health advocate. Consider taking refined sugar out of your diet entirely while you are working on your newest health goals. I know…a herculean undertaking. But, considering you want health rewards, it will be tough to do it with a hijacked brain. If you decide to go the no refined sugar route, you are urged to stay away from artificial sweeteners, which come with a whole other set of problems. Although sugar substitutes are low on the glycemic index, they will still spike insulin.

It may help you to know that different types of sugars are metabolized differently in the body. So, it pays to become acquainted with a bit of biochemistry at the outset. In a healthy, metabolically stable person 120 calories of glucose hums through the system wreaking little to no havoc. On the other hand, 120 calories of fructose (as in high fructose corn syrup) is metabolized very differently than glucose and exactly like ethanol. Because the liver doesn’t like fructose any more than it likes a six-pack of beer, it’s showing up as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is very different from eating a piece of fruit which accompanies its own fiber. Suffice to say, there’s a whole world of biochemical reactions that the average person is not privy to unless you’re sifting through reams of empirical data and reading research journals. Still, these details are important to know as part of the informed decisions you will make about food, movement, and treatment if you find yourself within metabolic disease.

Consider viewing this lecture about sugar by Dr. Robert H. Lustig:

It covers everything you absolutely need to know about sugar. As a big plus, some parts of the biochemistry will exercise your gray matter the way you want to challenge your glutes.

The real skinny according to Dr. Lustig:

  • Exercise works because it improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity.
  • Exercise works because it reduces stress and the resultant cortisol release.
  • The TCA cycle runs faster and detoxifies fructose, which improves hepatic insulin sensitivity.

Since it is estimated that one third of Americans will become insulin resistant and may not even be aware of it, they will go on to develop metabolic illness and Type II diabetes. It’s time to know more to help ourselves, our patients, and our families.

Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist from Toronto, Canada, has taken a deep and concerning look into the current treatments for insulin resistance and Type II diabetes. He finds that current treatments for Type II diabetes are ineffective at restoring health.  He also publishes that Type II diabetes needs to be treated differently than Type I diabetes as they simply are not the same illness. His findings and recommendations have garnered international attention and can be found in his book, The Obesity Code.

If you’re not feeling compelled to read Dr. Fung’s book, you can watch this informative interview that Dr. Mercola held with him about healing your body through fasting:

As you move toward new year health goals, take the following steps:

1. Determine at your starting point if your metabolism is functioning properly or if you are dealing with other considerations. A metabolic or hormonal dysregulation such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, Type II diabetes, and adrenal fatigue will impact the normal processing of energy and fat storage/release.

2. Conduct some personal research, such as the links suggested here and get support from reliable specialists that can help you land on what the best approach is for you.

3. Proceed with online support groups. They go a long way with not having to go it alone and re-invent the stationary bike wheel. The connection to others sailing on the same boat is exceedingly valuable.

Mary Magdalene Jarowski, RN, BS, CHPN, CFCN
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