By Amanda Robertson
At 5’4” and 230 pounds, I was miserable. I went through the cycle typical to many of us, binging and dieting, losing maybe 10 or 20 pounds, but always gaining it back. I blamed myself for my lack of will power. It was actually my therapist who suggested I research some of the underlying medical conditions responsible for obesity.
I have since learned that I was insulin resistant and suffered from carbohydrate addiction. Insulin resistance affects 94% of the overweight population. Symptoms can include fatigue, trouble concentrating, feeling irritable or jittery but better once food is eaten, sleepiness after eating meals heavy with carbohydrates, high blood pressure, and even depression. If you feel you may be suffering from obesity caused by Insulin Resistance I suggest taking this self-test.
Insulin resistance is reversible. Over the course of one year I lost 100 pounds by addressing my insulin resistance with diet, very moderate exercise, nutraceuticals, and a fabulous support group.
By gradually reducing my carbohydrate intake, and adding nutrient-dense, lower sugar foods to my diet (foods that do not cause a significant spike in blood sugar), I was able to break the cycle of carbohydrate addiction and reverse my insulin resistance.
Here are my top 8 fat-fighting superfoods:
1. Flax Seed – I add ground flaxseed to my fat-busting shake every morning. It contains fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6, that actually help fight fat.
2. Leafy greens – Leafy greens contain many important vitamins and minerals that we can’t get anywhere else. Spinach, lettuces of all kinds, chard, kale, parsley, cilantro beet greens, dandelion greens and so many more. Add them to your morning shake or salad, or stir fry them up with some health protein.
3. Pinto Beans – A half-cup of canned pinto beans has 105 calories, 1 gram of fat, 6 grams of fiber and plenty of folate, which protects your body from heart disease. I use pinto beans, along with black beans, stewed tomatoes and spices like cumin and chili powder to make a delicious vegetarian chili.
4. Garlic – Garlic lowers “bad” cholesterol and is a natural antibiotic/anti-viral. But whether you have a cold or not, I recommend eating it. Chop off the top of a clove of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and roast it in the oven for a sweet spread to top whole grain crackers. Roast it until it feels soft.
5. Onions – Onions contain a powerful plant anti-oxidant, quercetin, that protects your body from cancer. A cup (chopped) has 61 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Eating them chopped, and raw, is best because this releases the quercetin. When I’m not in the mood for raw onions I sauté them in olive oil to top veggie dishes.
6. Cayenne- Cayenne proved in studies to contain an ingredient that boosts your metabolism. I always add it to my vegetarian chili. If you can’t handle the heat it is available in pill form.
7. Salmon – Salmon and other cold water fish are a great source of lean protein. They also contain essential fatty acids. I broil salmon and add a squeeze of lemon and a spice mixture that is low in salt, like Mrs. Dash.
8. Sweet Potatoes – Sweet Potatoes are great for when you are craving something starchy, but don’t want to splurge. They are actually very low on the glycemic index scale and are packed with nutrients. I make sweet potato “fries” by cutting them into wedges, coating them in olive oil and spices and baking them until slightly crisp, usually around 35-45 minutes.
About the author:
Amanda Robertson lives in the mountains of Colorado, enjoys 100 days of skiing a year and works remotely as a marketing executive.