My health journey has been long, and interesting. I won’t bore you with all the details, but in summary for a large part of my life my weight has been up and down.
In university I lost a ton of weight by exercising 24/7 and limiting my caloric intake. I ran 40 minutes early morning, swam laps mid morning, lifted weights in the afternoon and alternated between yoga and aerobics in the evening. Every. Single. Day. It worked for me. I lost weight, I felt good about myself, people told me I looked like ” the vision of health”, which only fuelled my need to work out all the time.
After graduating I moved home to New Zealand and became a teacher. And surprise surprise, I didn’t have enough time ( or energy) as a working woman, to be exercising 4 times a day. I hadn’t learned how to actually make healthy living something that could be integrated into real life. Naturally the weight piled back on.
For a number of years this was my pattern- lots of weight loss through extreme measures, then lots of weight gain.
Thankfully I came across a wonderful lady by the name of Dr Libby Weaver who introduced me to USANA Health Sciences. I completed their RESET program and for the first time in my life I lost weight and felt like it was sustainable. All of the foods used in the RESET program are Low Glycemic which meant I never felt hungry, I lost my sugar cravings, my skin cleared up and I didn’t need to snack continuously at night time. I started to learn more about the Glycemic Index and realized that eating this way was not only beneficial for my health, but it was easy! There is so much confusion out there about what our bodies need to maintain a healthy weight- Should I go low carb? Low sugar? Juice fast?
The truth is there is no quick fix AND it doesn’t have to be so difficult. I’m going to give you a brief introduction to Low Glycemic eating, and hopefully it will make a difference to the way you eat.
Very simply the Glycemic Index compares the quality of carbohydrate in different foods. It does so by measuring how quickly that carbohydrate is being converted into sugar. Foods are ranked on a scale of 0-100, and foods that quickly raise blood glucose levels have a higher GI rating than foods which raise blood glucose slowly.
If you are a visual person like me, this graph will help. *
The purple line indicates a High GI meal, for example two pieces of toast for brekkie and some orange juice. You can see there is a sharp increase in blood sugar, followed by a very sharp decline.
What happens here is our bodies respond to those blood glucose spikes by producing more insulin, and we know that insulin is a fat storage hormone. It tells your body to STOP burning fat and start burning carbohydrate. And it also tells your body to STORE FAT. Aint nobody got time fo dat.
What also happens is you create survival mode hormones called Cortisol, which make it very hard to resist eating. That’s why when you eat a meal that is High GI you are usually hungry again within an hour or so. So you’re in this cycle of fat storage mode, which leads to cravings for more High GI food and it goes on and on.
The green line represents a Low Glycemic meal which triggers little fat storage and no cravings. When you consumer lower GI foods it helps you to avoid those blood glucose spikes as well as manage your weight and over all health.
Here are three of my favourite websites about the Glycemic Index. You’ll find lists of foods with a number written next to them. This is how to decipher it:
Foods that score 70+ are considered High GI
Foods that score 56-69 are considered Medium GI
Foods that score 55 and under are considered Low GI
When I was first learning to eat this way, I printed out these lists and kept a copy on my fridge and with me when I went shopping for food. In Australia they have already started labeling food that is Low GI approved, which makes it very easy for you when grocery shopping.
I’m planning on recording a webinar all about Low Glycemic eating so keep your eyes peeled for that freebie in the coming weeks! And of course, if you begin eating this way I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.
* I found the graph on the internet a while ago, and didn’t take down the website name. I’m still searching so I can give appropriate credit so if anyone spots it please let me know x