How I Became X Obese – Part 4
There is a time-dependent component to obesity: the longer you are obese, the harder it will be to win the battle. The culprit for that is insulin again, it particular the adjustments our biochemistry goes through when we have consistently high insulin.
Reducing insulin resistance
Imagine the situation in which you have a co-worker to just can’t stop talking. You get so much used to that voice that your body becomes desensitized to it, you stop reacting to it. So, if your co-worker wants to get you attention, he needs to speak louder, otherwise you won’t react. But, if he starts to speak louder frequently, you will get adapted to it and desensitized once again, meaning he will have to speak even louder… and the circle continues.
The same happens with our cells and the message sent by insulin. Because of the multiple daily release of insulin into the blood stream, our cells become un-reactive to it. A certain amount of insulin will be less and less effective in signaling the conversion of glucose into glycogen and free fatty acids. However, this conversion is crucial in order to maintain the energy system balanced. So the pancreas react by increasing the level of insulin released, which, in turn, will lead to further adaptation and decreased sensibility.
This is the genesis of insulin resistance, a state in which we have permanently high levels of this hormone triggering the production of fat to be stored and, worse than that, preventing fat from being released from fat cells. In other words, insulin resistance is the ultimate battle for people with obesity.
In order to reduce insulin resistance, we need to reduce as much as possible its release, both in the amount but also the number of times. We need to decrease its “volume” so our cells become reactive to a lower amount. It is the only way to reset our biochemistry away from obesity and avoiding the yo-yo effect.
By removing carbs from the diet, we have already reduced the amount of insulin circulating. But most foods can trigger the release of insulin, including protein. In order to tackle insulin resistance, we need to go further in preventing as much insulin spikes as possible. That can only be done with one strategy: fasting.
While fasting, we don’t release insulin into circulation. Its levels fall down and our sensitivity to it increases. We stop being programmed to convert and store fat, allowing the body to not accumulate but also burn it. With lower levels on insulin circulating, free fatty acids leave more easily fat cells to be burnt and the whole fat storage gets emptier. Moreover, we start being a fat-burning machine!
The first step is a 12h overnight fast and progressively move into more extended fasting periods. When we get our body’s adapted, we can easily spend 24h fasting, which is a win on its own!
Keep in mind that this is not about calories deficit. It will work even you ingest the same amount of calories per day but, by reducing the amount of meals and by extending the period you don’t have access to food, we prevent insulin from being released, increasing or sensitivity to it. Eating 2000kcal per day divided by 5 meals will much likely prevent you from losing weight (this is why the “eat every 3 hour” rule may prevent your from reaching your goals), eating the same food divided in two meals will make you lose weight.
Following this three principles, you’ll be able to tackle your weight and become X obese.
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.