Should we worry about insulin resistance? Part 1

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Why Insulin Resistance Matters

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, only 12% of adults are metabolically healthy. Another recent survey shows that the number is actually decreasing and as little as 6.8% can really be categorized as healthy. These numbers are very scary and show that we are not getting healthier.

To be metabolically healthy means that your blood markers are in a normal range, based on your age and gender, and you not taking regular medications, especially life long medication. Sadly, when we think about it, these numbers do look pretty accurate. Insulin resistance is directly related to metabolic health, so it is becoming increasingly important to able to understand and know what we can do to prevent or even completely reverse it. 

Essentially, insulin resistance (IR) is a metabolic disorder in which the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. IR is a very high risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even certain types of cancer, so understanding why insulin resistance matters is crucial for health. The most important thing we need to be aware of it, however, is that it comes on very slowly and can take a years or even decades to fully develop into IR.

IR develops when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver do not respond well to insulin and are not able to easily take up glucose from the blood. The pancreas then compensates for the reduced efficacy of insulin by producing more of it to help the glucose enter your cells. If the pancreas is able to make enough insulin to overcome your cell’s poor response to insulin, blood glucose levels will stay in a healthy range. So IR develops first in the liver, then muscles and then fat cells. During these stages the individual is likely to have normal or just slightly elevated blood glucose levels, however over time this compensation mechanism can fail, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and eventually diabetes. Therefore early detection and management of IR is critically important.

IR can also lead to increased weight gain by altering the way the body processes and stores fat. Cardiovascular health is another area in which IR has a significant impact, including in high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abdominal fat. Together, these factors increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, the leading global causes of death.

Emerging research also suggests a link between IR and the risk of certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer. Additionally, IR is associated with chronic inflammation, another risk factor for cancer. And IR can even have profound effects on mental health, with studies showing associations between IR and an increased risk of conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

In conclusion, insulin resistance matters because it is a significant factor in the development of diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. Its impact on metabolic, cardiovascular, mental health and more underscores the need for increased awareness, early detection, and effective management strategies. By addressing insulin resistance we can significantly improve our quality of life and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The most effective ways to prevent and/or reverse becoming insulin resistant include following low carbohydrate diet and regular exercise, specially resistance training. 

In the next article I will go deeper with explanations about some of the health conditions and practical actions that we can take to help prevent them. You will be surprised when you hear actually how big an affect this can have on your health. 

References:

Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “Trends and Disparities in Cardiometabolic Health Among U.S. Adults, 1999-2018”. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109722049944?via=ihub

PubMed, National Library of Medicine. “Trends and Disparities in Cardiometabolic Health Among U.S. Adults, 1999-2018”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35798448/

The University of North Carolina. “Only 12 percent of American adults are metabolically healthy, Carolina study finds”. https://www.unc.edu/posts/2018/11/28/only-12-percent-of-american-adults-are-metabolically-healthy-carolina-study-finds/

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. “Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes”. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance

Stanford Medicine. “Insulin resistance doubles risk of major depressive disorder, Stanford study finds”. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2021/09/insulin-resistance-major-depressive-disorder.html

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competition history

Ayda competes regularly in fitness competitions and is currently preparing for the 2023 North American championships.

NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
CPA Toronto, 2021

You’ve probably heard so many people say “I love what I do”, BUT in my case I can truly say it from my heart. I’ve competed in sports all my life, but it wasn’t so long ago that I really understood that actually I can only ever compete with myself.

“You are perfect, until compare yourself with someone else”

I started contest prep in 2011, and since then I didn’t stop competing. In some competitions I got first place, in some it went not so well, but every competition that I prepared for taught me something more about myself and helped me take the correct direction, which I believe has shaped my work and my life in such a positive way.

When I competed in my first bikini competition I had just moved from my home country Turkey to Canada, and was getting used to the Canadian lifestyle — and, of course, the language too, which was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do a fitness or bikini competition, but when I was still in Turkey the work and cultural differences made it so hard to do.

So I was in Vancouver BC, working at Steve Nash Fitness Club, and one of my co-workers, who was a competitor herself, asked me “why you are not competing?” I started asking myself and questioning if I could do it? I’d never done anything like it before… Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions right now! Of course I told myself “absolutely, I can’’. And my competition journey began!

Each show that I competed in gave me more knowledge about my body, and how I can improve. Of course, it’s not easy to correctly identify what’s missing with training and nutrition, and this learning process and all of the experiences pushed me to learn more… I’ve been a personal trainer since 1993, but I wanted more and began my nutrition studies. I finished my Comprehensive Nutrition and Sports Nutrition degrees.

And yes, I am still competing! You can see a list of all of the competitions that I’ve competed in further down this page. And right now, AGAIN, I am getting ready for my next show…!

I’ll warn you right now, it wasn’t easy at all. The easiest part was the training, which was already part of my daily life. But posing, dieting, supplementation, getting a bikini, finding a trainer… This was much tougher, not the mention the cost for the registration, jewelry, tanning, hair and make-up, they cost a lot too. 

But I wouldn’t let anything stop me, and right after my first show — WBFF in May, 2011 — I immediately started looking for the next show to compete in. I was hooked!

I am so happy to be able to help other competitors who are willing to work and improve their mind and health at the same time. My goal is to create healthy and happy bikini competitors, who want to challenge themselves and put in the work that needs to be done to reach their goals. There is really no easy way to get there… But there is a smart way.

I look forward to working together and sharing my knowledge with YOU to get you in the best shape of your LIFE!!!!! 

AYDA HAS COMPETED IN

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