Thank to writer Amy Reinink for this photo, whose work often appears in Runners World. Have you hit a weight-loss plateau? Are you trying to come up with a new way to restart your weight loss? Try getting your insulin level down! Maybe your reaction to that statement is Thanks, but I’m not a diabetic. You don’t have to be a diabetic to harness the power of controlled insulin for optimum health and weight loss! Here’s how it works: Your pancreas makes insulin when it detects carbohydrates in your system. The more carbs you eat, the more insulin your pancreas makes. Insulin converts your carbs into glucose, which your body uses as an energy source (this is why you may get a “sugar buzz” when you eat a candy bar). Your body burns fat for energy once it runs low on glucose. Fat is the “backup generator” for your body. For example, when you sleep at night, your glucose level drops off, because you are not taking in any food. Your body automatically starts burning stored fat in order to fuel your body’s functions while you sleep. We can eat and still keep our glucose level low. Foods that are low in carbs but high in fat will give us the energy we need to get through our activities. However, our glucose levels will remain low, because there won’t be many carbs to start insulin production. So instead of a carbohydrate-laden breakfast cereal, let’s have our coffee (known to help increase our body’s fat burning ability) with double cream. We want to add protein carefully, because too much will raise our insulin levels.So let’s add 5 grams of BCAA or protein. Then 30-60 minutes later, you’re ready to workout! Workout? Yes - this uses the fat for energy and depleting the stored sugar from muscles during your workout - which is great, and it’s another post altogether! You will never have zero insulin/blood glucose. Even if you ate nothing but bacon and eggs all day, you will still have some blood glucose, but if your pancreas works properly, you will be at or close to the ideal blood glucose level, which is 110 mg/dl (this is the number that diabetics read on their monitors when they check their insulin levels on their monitors - if you’re curious about yours, you can pick up a relatively inexpensive blood glucose monitor at any drugstore or pharmacy. You will need to prick your finger though!). You should get enough sleep. Studies funded by the American Diabetes Association are starting to show a correlation between sleep deprivation and “insulin resistance”, or your pancreas refusing to reduce the amount of insulin it makes, even when it detects fewer carbs in your system. This means that adequate sleep is helping to keep our insulin levels responsive to a low-carb, high-fat diet.