Should we worry about insulin resistance? Part 2

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What we can do about it? 

All metabolic diseases have one thing in common — insulin resistance. It is very much the missing that your physician may not talk to you about, yet it is critically important. 

Metabolic health is equal to metabolism, but it does not mean only how fast your metabolism works. Metabolism is the balance of all the chemical reactions in the body, and the most important one of those is the peptide hormone insulin. Understanding the relationship between insulin resistance, metabolism and mitochondrial health is critical for choosing the correct therapeutic strategy, and enhancing mitochondrial function could potentially improve insulin sensitivity and overall metabolic health. Lifestyle interventions, such as exercise and changes in diet play a major role in managing insulin resistance and have been shown to improve mitochondrial density and function.

When we hear the word insulin the first thing that comes to mind is probably glucose and diabetes. Most physicians, however, will not consider checking fasting insulin levels. When your insulin levels are elevated you can not burn fat as an energy source, but did you know that you can have normal blood glucose levels and still have insulin resistance? It can take up to twenty years for blood glucose levels to rise, so if you are trying to eat healthily and lose weight and your blood markers are normal you probably should consider checking your fasting insulin levels. Also, ideally, you could check your inflammation blood marker C-reactive protein (CRP). When insulin resistance is high it can be a sign of inflammation in the body. 

Regular exercise, especially weight training which helps gain muscle and prevent potential muscle loss, is very much important to keep your insulin within a normal level. Muscles require more energy, which increases the metabolic rate and thus insulin does not need to work harder to balance the body’s blood glucose levels. Muscle is a key regulator of blood glucose, and building muscle through resistance training can significantly improve insulin sensitivity.

In your diet you can prioritize protein, as eating a high protein diet and consuming some protein with each meal can help lower insulin levels and also help prevent muscle loss. Especially as we age, the body requires more protein due to its low absorption rate. A low carbohydrate diet, especially when reducing the intake of refined carbs and sugars, can help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity as well. And high fiber foods, such as vegetables and whole fruits, can help improve glycemic control. It is also important to consume healthy fats, as fat is the only macronutrient that does not increase insulin. Incorporating sources of omega-3 fatty acids like fish, avocados, nuts and olive oil can improve lipid profiles and insulin sensitivity. And it is important to give enough time between meals — which ideally means no snacking, as a decrease in meal frequency will help insulin work less hard. 

Reducing stress is easy to say and often hard to do, however it is very important for your health. You may need to take some time for yourself, maybe listen to music, read or do some simple breath work. You can find whatever works best for you, however do remember that when you have low stress your sleep, your relationships with others, and your overall health will improve too. 

The next time that you go to your doctor or health care provider, ask about adding fasting insulin blood markers to your next lab work. Reversing and preventing insulin resistance really requires focusing on the lifestyle changes mentioned here, and is crucial for long-term health. 

References:

National Library of Medicine, PubMed. “Protein Consumption and the Elderly: What Is the Optimal Level of Intake?”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924200/

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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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