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Pump Up Your Progesterone Part 2: Tackling Insulin Resistance

Many of you already know you're insulin resistant, and are receiving medical attention for that. Here are the basic nutrition and lifestyle actions you can take to further help minimize the impact of that issue on your pregnancy success.

1. Move! I'm a distance runner. As much as I love running, however, I have a lot of other activities I love to do. Having a variety of activities to rotate through prevents boredom, and it involves different muscle groups in exercise. I learned to vary after a ski injury that sidelined my running for a year. You don't want that to happen, to become so dependent on one activity that you set yourself up to lose activity completely. These days I run, but I also walk, rollerblade, garden, hike, golf, swim and do yoga. (Ivonne recently talked me into trying a tango class. I think dancing is my new favorite!) Any little thing you can do that tells your body it needs to get better at moving glucose into muscle cells…is what you need to do.

2. Commit yourself to better sleeping habits. Poor sleep, either few hours or bad quality, interferes with insulin function. The clients I work with who prioritize better sleep are the ones who notice feeling better the soonest. It can be a hard one if you love the late night shows, easily get lost in the Internet, or don't set good boundaries with others. But good sleep is one of the most important things you can give yourself. If you search"sleep" in this blog there is a lot of information about how to achieve this.

3. Watch the caffeine. This goes hand in hand with #2. Caffeine in coffee, tea (it's in green tea, too, so be aware), chocolate…it all challenges healthy sleep. It's something you are best to live without during pregnancy anyway, so why not get used to decaffeinated life now if that's where you want to be?

4. Be aware of glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index are foods that don't challenge your insulin function as much as other foods. It's not that high glycemic foods are"bad", it's just that they should not be eaten as often. In order to make a MEAL lower-glycemic, be sure you have a good balance of carbs, fats, and proteins. People eating on the run tend to challenge glycemic function either by eating large quantities of fast food or nibbling all day long on carbs without making time for protein.

5. Pay attention to your fats. One reason I push the fish oil so much is that it really helps to improve insulin function."S" and"C" oils--safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed…tend to worsen glycemic function. They're found in processed foods, baked goods, and salad dressings. One reason I love teaching my classes at Whole Foods is that their entire deli uses only olive and canola (the only"C" exception) and you can literally choose what you want without ingredient anxiety.

6. Add a little cinnamon to your low-glycemic oatmeal. It has been found to improve insulin function…and it's tasty!

A word about metformin. Some women complain about digestive disturbances with this medication. A physician once shared that if you eat a lot of carbs (particularly sweets) while on the medication, it can cause diarrhea. So be forewarned, taking the medication is not a license to eat what you want, assuming metformin is going to do all the work. Metformin is most effective if you use it in conjunction with the guidelines in this post.

Next progesterone post we'll talk about poor nutrition. It is very important!