Here at Healthy Holistic Living, we strive for holistic lifestyles based on balance. But I understand some days, it’s difficult to keep up. Whether it’s work keeping you up at night, or your schedule making it hard to fit in a workout, living holistically takes commitment.
One of my biggest concerns day-by-day is my metabolism. Your metabolism regulates the transformation of calories to usable and storable energy. As you digest food, your body takes glucose into the blood. When this happens, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin which causes certain cells to pick up this glucose.
When too much insulin is present in your body and these cells fail to work, metabolic syndrome occurs. Metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance is an imbalance that is widespread in our society. High levels of blood sugar from metabolic syndrome can lead to heart disease and certain kinds of cancers. But there are some more telling signs to watch out for.
Warning Signs of Metabolic Imbalance
It’s quite easy to get caught up in thinking that all cholesterol is bad for you. But that’s not true! Cholesterol is an essential fat for your body. There are two types of cholesterol – the “good” and the “bad”.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are the good cholesterol. They’re responsible for removing low-density lipoproteins (LDL, the bad cholesterol!) from your body. When your cholesterol is imbalanced, you might see HDL numbers as low as 30 and LDL above 100. You ideally want to strike a relative balance between the two. You also want to make sure your good cholesterol (HDL) values are above 40 for males and 50 for females.
Triglycerides above 150
Triglycerides are fats stored as energy to be used when you’re not eating. While essential, having more than you use can put you at risk for heart disease.
Male waist size above 40 inches and female waist size above 35 inches
When your metabolism is imbalanced, its much easier to put on weight even when it feels like you eat next to nothing. For people with metabolic syndrome, you can expect to see an expanded waist size.
Blood sugar levels
Throughout the day your blood sugar levels will differ. For someone experiencing metabolic syndrome, your blood sugar might be:
- above 100 when fasting
- above 140 one hour after eating
- above 120 two hours after eating
Reversing Metabolic Imbalance
With symptoms like those, there’s no doubt the top of the list will be your diet. But if you’re already fit, how big of a role does your diet play? Surprisingly, a big part. Dr. Peter Attia of Stanford University was genetically linked to metabolic syndrome. But he managed to beat the odds by putting himself on a ketogenic diet experiment for 10 years. After 10 years he noticed improvement in many areas of his health. Of course, a high-fat ketogenic diet isn’t for everyone. Another thing you can do is make sure you consume veggies low on the glycemic index like white beans and spinach.
Sometimes long workdays aren’t avoidable but if it’s every night you’re going to have to do some re-prioritizing. Poor sleep has been linked to overeating and obesity leading to insulin resistance. Research has found that one sleepless night can cause insulin resistance in healthy people.
Linked to your diet, mineral deficiencies can be responsible for problems with your metabolism. If you want to optimize your metabolism, magnesium (found in many greens) is essential. Aside from magnesium, omega-3’s, vitamin D3, and chromium are great at preventing insulin resistance.
When it comes to exercise, not all exercises are equal. There are certain ones which promote insulin sensitivity. Burst exercises and strength training are just two of the things you can do to boost your metabolism. If you spend a lot of time sitting at work, make sure to take periodic breaks and stretch!
Herbs like cinnamon, bitter melon, and black cumin seeds can have a positive effect on your blood sugar. When paired with the above lifestyle changes, they can help promote wellness.
Your metabolic system is linked to many different processes, and if it goes down, your health goes with it. Making sure you recognize the signs of imbalance is the first step in protecting yourself!