Too much of a good thing is an idiom that has been in use for hundred of years.  It is defined as follows; “an excessive amount that becomes overwhelming or harmful, rather than helpful or pleasurable.”

In the context of insulin and cortisol, which are two hormones in our bodies, this certainly holds true.

Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by our pancreas in response to blood sugar being secreted into our systems.  It plays a vital role to properly shuttle carbohydrates, proteins, and fats out of our blood and into the cells of our liver, muscles and/or fat.  When secreted in moderation, insulin uses the glucose(sugar) metabolized by our foods to provide needed energy for cells throughout our body. 

That being said, consequently, through poor dietary and lifestyle choices, our pancreas typically works overtime, and ends up producing more insulin then our bodies need known as a condition called hyperinsulinemia(excessive insulin levels).  Overtime, through consuming an overabundance of wrong foods, coupled with very limited exercise and chronic stress, this over secretion of insulin leads to cardiovascular disease risks such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes etc.….

Cortisol is another hormone that plays an important role in our bodies and is produced in our adrenal glands(adrenaline producer).  When in balance, cortisol provides energy and helps to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.  Consequently, like over production of insulin, over producing cortisol due to chronic stress and poor lifestyle choices,  wreaks havoc on our systems both metabolically and mentally.

So knowing the importance of maintaining homeostasis(a state of balance) with these two important hormones, what are some strategies we can deploy in our daily lives to keep them in check? 

As a personal trainer at Crosier Conditioning, I truly exercise these principals to reinforce to my clients the importance of establishing a sound exercise and dietary plan on a consistent basis.  When we incorporate a strength training program, whether it be body weight or added resistance(weightlifting), this activity can build lean muscle tissue.  When our bodies are active and have lean tissue, there is less insulin produced by our pancreas, as the glucose is used efficiently for energy reserves and less likely to be stored as fat.  Too much insulin is a most certainly a strong predictor of disease states.

Furthermore, when our bodies are producing too much cortisol, burning off the excess amounts in our system through exercise, is a great strategy to control stress and helps to bring back these cortisol levels to the normal range. 

In addition, like I harp to my personal training clients, you can never out train a bad diet. If your goal is to get in shape both metabolically and mentally,  our dietary choices are crucial to our success. 

Incorporating a diet rich in whole, nutrient rich foods, will help to both keep our insulin and cortisol in check, and provide our bodies with the correct, energy source.

Remember, “We truly are what we eat.”

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