Dad Gut: Save Him With These Tips!

If your dad or partner is proud of his ever-expanding ’beer belly’ AKA ‘Dad Gut’, your job (as someone who loves him & can see the expansion happening) is to save him from the underlying insulin resistance & inflammation that is causing it! Getting him to use the Blend11 & PondWater daily are a great start, but here are a few more tips to help him along!  

  1. Increase his fibre in general – keep the gut humming along nicely to improve detoxification, maximise production of gut-healing, anti-inflammatory SCFA’s by the gut microbes & also keep him feeling full.
  2. Make sure his daily protein intake is adequate for his workload & muscle mass (ask a personal trainer to help with this). Too little protein will mean his lean muscle tissue is constantly getting broken down (not good) & too much will just end up being converted to fat (also not good).  
  3. Decrease carbs & sugar (minimise  breads, pasta, rice, cakes, biscuits, chips, pastries, softdrinks, juices, sweetened tea / coffee, & even excess fruit). Really important / potentially life-saving if dad is growing an impressive belly. If it’s not in the trolley, it won’t get into the house, if it’s not in the house, it won’t get into his belly (as often!)
  4. Good fats. Oily fish, avocado, nuts & seeds, olive oil, coconut…fats will keep him satisfied & feeling full, and some can help decrease inflammation in the body. You may also see improvements in his skin, joints & mood when you focus on fat.
  5. Decrease alcohol intake (they don’t call it a beer gut for nothing!) The best options as far as ‘dad-guts’ go, if he likes a drink sometimes are spirits (in moderation) on the rocks or mixed into a sparkling mineral water, or a small glass of wine (that’s glass, not bottle).
  6. Exercise is MANdatory! He needs to focus on building more muscle (lifting weights or doing some type of resistance training), plus  some cardio / endurance work as well, i.e. walking first thing in the morning & / or after dinner.  With the weight training, get advice from an experienced personal trainer, who knows how to work with older guys to avoid the possibility of injury & maximise results safely. The more muscle mass he can build, the more he can relax with his diet as the muscles will keep his metabolism cranking / burning efficiently through what he eats. Better all-over strength & mobility will also decrease his risk of back / neck / knee injuries / shoulder pain etc – all really annoying & common dad issues. 
  7. Don’t sit for too long – dad MUST get up & take breaks to move every half hr or so if his work is sedentary. Man was NOT designed to sit all day! Incorporate a quick lunchbreak walk or mini workout, embrace any stairs, hills or heavy things to  lift as part of the working day. Nobody needs a gym or any fancy equipment to work their muscles, just use body weight & the things around you..
  8. Try intermittent fasting. Eating breakfast later suits many men, or some prefer skipping lunch or dinner. This works well for men who are not burning a lot of calories throughout their day, but active blokes may struggle. Experiment & do what works best, but the goal is to try & give your gut a decent break somewhere from food constantly coming in!
  9. Avoid naughty nightime or late afternoon snacks (carbs / sugars etc late in the day aren’t good unless dad is also very active in this period). It’s a metabolic disaster to come home from work at 5pm, sit on the couch & devour a packet of chips & a few beers, then eat a carb-heavy dinner late & go straight to bed – unfortunately quite a common dad thing to do :(
  10. Eat dinner earlier. This gives you a longer period of fasting between meals, which is good for improving insulin sensitivity.
  11. Be very careful with desserts & sweet treats – only eat these just before or just after doing some serious exercise! And replace indulgences with more nutritious versions. Ie unsweetened yoghurt & berries instead of icecream, a protein ball instead of a few choccy biscuits…there are so many better alternatives that can still satisfy your need for a treat!
  12. Include nuts & seeds, green tea, cinnamon, turmeric, aloe vera, fenugreek, oily fish & vinegar in the diet (these foods can all help improve your ability to handle sugars & many are also great gut support & anti-inflammatories). Stock up & get  ideas on how to use these from the staff in your local healthfood store.
  13. Include probiotic-rich foods in your diet daily, & / or use a quality multi-strain supplement. Good gut health = smaller dad gut!
  14. Ensure dad is  getting plenty of magnesium – really important for insulin sensitivity & an extremely common nutrient deficiency. Try a regular magnesium spray or a soak, esp good if his ‘dad-back’ is sore or the poor old ‘dad-muscles’ are overworked, or – heaven forbid – he is suffering from the man-flu.

Let me know if you’ve tried anything of these or have something thats worked well for you. Just make a comment below or send me an email.

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity & Lose the Belly Fat!

Insulin sensitivity is something you need to know about if you struggle with your weight & nothing seems to work for you.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that gets glucose out of your bloodstream & into your cells so you can use it for fuel, or store it for later use. When you are insulin resistant though, this system doesn’t work properly & glucose tends to just get placed into long-term storage (fat). The more fat you have stored already – the more insulin resistant you become, a very annoying cycle affecting many Australians today, which can ultimately prove fatal.

When you think insulin, you first think diabetes. But you should also be thinking muscles & fat, weight loss & energy.

When your body senses high blood glucose (ie after eating) insulin release is triggered (to get the glucose out of your bloodstream & into your cells for burning). If you’re eating loads of carbs all the time, your cells become less & less sensitive to insulin (it’s just always there), so you end up with constantly high blood sugar & high insulin, because your cells aren’t letting the sugar in to burn it. You are ‘resistant’ to the normal effect of insulin, no longer sensitive to its action. This is a bad situation – you’ll put on fat, lose muscle & feel tired & cranky too.

Feeling like you might already be insulin resistant? (Don’t worry – it’s not just you, there are millions of other Aussies in the same boat).

So how do you become more ’insulin sensitive’ again?

Morning / Fasted exercise:

This uses up all of your left-over stored energy very quickly, & will force you to then rely on fat as a fuel source. Walk fast, or jog slowly, for 40-60 mins each morning (or as many mornings as you can, on an empty stomach. You can drink a black coffee (no milk or sugar) beforehand if desired, this can even help you burn fat. If you can’t exercise in the morning at all,, try a gym session anytime (weights) that will burn through all of your stored glucose, giving you an empty tank like when you wake up – & then do your 40-60min walk / jog / lower intensity cardio. You’ll get waaayyy more fat-burning bang for your exercise buck. Exercise really is the best way to become more insulin-sensitive, as muscle contractions increase the glucose receptors on your cell walls – allowing more sugar in to be utilised as energy (instead of it just ending up going into storage as fat).

Increase muscle mass & burn some fat:

The more muscle you have, the better your blood glucose metabolism will be. Muscle is so important for fat loss, even when you are asleep your lean muscle mass will be burning through fats for you.  Diabetics should read bodybuilding manuals, the info would help immensely (just ignore the fake tan & body oil sections).

Good fats:

You need omega 3’s to make your cell walls work properly, if you’re still eating bad fats (ie margarine / chips / biscuits / ’vegetable oil’ trans fats etc – your cell membranes won’t be working properly (things like glucose can’t get in easily to be utilised by the cells). Eat plenty of omega 3 fats, or take them in a supplement form if you hate fish. Only eat grass fed animal products, avoid anything grain fed.

Watch the Carbs / try IF:

Decrease them (by a lot), so you give yourself a break from the constant insulin secretion. Trial intermittent fasting – if it feels good for your body, eat only ‘good carbs’, like berries & veggies, legumes, nuts & seeds. Less food (esp carbs) means less insulin secretion, which will mean you get more sensitive to it again over time (then you may be able to relax a little with your diet again.)

Fibre:

Use fibre to slow the release of carbs. Ie if you’re going to eat cake, have some nuts with it! Choose the carrot cake with walnuts, the bun with most seeds (or if you really want to get well – just back away from the bakery)! Focus on fat, fibre & protein & you will improve your insulin sensitivity.

Stress Management

When we experience stress (& cortisol release), it causes our blood sugar to go up. This is very useful if the stress is caused by something chasing us, but not good if we’re sitting at our desk, stressed by a work deadline or relationship issue. Obviously if you’re stressed & running away, you burn the glucose, if you’re stressed & sitting…you’ll need more insulin to lower your blood sugar. Most of us are under too much stress (raising our cortisol, blood sugar & insulin constantly),so our body becomes desensitised & just tunes out. This is how prolonged stress can cause / contribute to insulin resistance.

Sunshine

Vitamin D is crucial for insulin sensitivity, maintaining lean muscle mass, strength, athletic performance, fat burning…along with so many other things!  Looking fat in your bikini is the best reason to get down to the beach in it!

Gut Health

Gut health cannot be overlooked when treating metabolic dysfunction – it can play a huge role in insulin resistance. Your gut bugs influence your levels of inflammation, your metabolism, how likely you are to crave certain foods, how you extract calories from them, & how your blood sugar reacts to what you eat. Obesity and diabetes can be “transferred” from one group of mice to the other simply by altering their gut flora. Some human cases of this have been observed with FMT therapy (where human gut bacteria is transferred from one person directly to another).

Smoking:

Smoking will make you insulin resistant, & also the people around you breathing it in. Your smoking could be making your spouse / kids fat.

Sleep:

Bad sleep will make you insulin resistant – if you’re serious about fixing your metabolism, you must prioritise sleep.  Do not underestimate the power of quality sleep to heal you, & poor sleep to make you sick.

Some things that can help with sugar metabolism (get advice from your practitioner):

  • fish oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • magnesium
  • fenugreek
  • cinnamon
  • aloe vera
  • turmeric
  • probiotics
  • prebiotics

…there are so many more, & best to see a professional who can choose what suits your case best, but feel free to incorporate more of the above mentioned into your diet.

Love to hear any questions or struggles you’ve experienced with weight loss. Just send me an email an I’ll do my best to get back to you ASAP.

Jeanie X

jeanie@goodmix.com.au