Ginger Vieira was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 13, celiac disease a year later, and fibromyalgia in 2014. Ginger provides great insights into life with multiple chronic illnesses, including how to make the most of your life despite your health setbacks.
Regardless of your type or stage of diabetes, increasing your sensitivity to insulin is a realistic and worthwhile goal for all of us.
The more sensitive we are to insulin, the less we need to produce or take through injection, and that means less strain on our bodies, better blood sugars, and less glucose being stored as body fat.
Here are three straightforward ways to naturally increase your sensitivity to insulin:
1. Eat fewer carbohydrates
Chances are, if you aren't aiming to eat fewer carbs, you could be easily consuming well over 200 or even 300 grams of carbohydrates every day. By reducing your carb intake and increasing your consumption of healthy proteins (fish, chicken, lean cuts of beef, turkey, etc.) and healthy fats (nuts, coconut and olive oils, avocado, eggs, etc.) you'll naturally reduce the amount of insulin your body needs every day. Start by reducing your total daily carb count to 150 grams per day. (Tip: You're going to want to avoid drinking your carbohydrates! Water is good!)
2. Go to bed earlier
Research has shown that people who stay up late produce more stress hormones called cortisol, and as a result have greater insulin resistance. This means their body has to produce more insulin in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, or if you're on medications, this means you have to take more insulin to achieve healthy blood sugars.
Getting to bed an hour earlier every night might be just what the doctor ordered. Make a goal to hit the pillow an hour earlier Sunday through Thursday for a full month and observe how you feel. Your body will thank you.
3. Walk, walk, walk
This form of exercise may look gentle, but don't underestimate its ability to majorly improve your resting metabolism and overall blood sugars. A simple 20-minute walk every day will get your blood flowing and help you naturally burn up more glucose, requiring less insulin production from your pancreas or fewer medications to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. Aim for 20 minutes—that's it! And gradually increase to 30 minutes as this habit becomes a more natural part of your life.