Glycemic Index

Glycemic Index and Insulin

The glycemic index is used to rank food on a scale from 1 to 100. The scale is used to tells us how the carbohydrate in the food affects our blood sugar.

Food with high glycemic-index digests quickly in the digestive system. A large amount of glucose is being released to the blood stream quickly, and that naturally sharply raises the blood sugar level. Due to the sudden high level of blood sugar, a large amount of insulin is released. Insulin is needed to regulate the level of blood sugar. The more sugar (glucose) that is present in the blood, the more insulin that will be released from the pancreas. Without insulin, sugar can not enter the various cells in our body. The insulin signals cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream to be used for energy. If there’s more sugar in the blood than the body needs, insulin will “direct” it to be stored in the liver or muscles as glycogen, to be released at a later time, when the blood sugar level is low.

It is important to know that insulin inhibits the breakdown of stored body fat. It also forces fat cells to take up and store fat from the blood. High levels of insulin lead to increased fat storage, whereas low levels of insulin lead to fat depletion.

Food with low glycemic-index digests slower, the blood sugar level is raised in moderation and over time. The added benefits of having consistent low blood sugar levels are that less muscle tissue loss is minimal, the body uses energy that is stored in the body as fat, and we feel full longer.

High blood sugar level is bad for you on so many levels. The pancreas has to make high levels of insulin, and over time the pancreas can get damaged and not produce the necessary levels of insulin, which may lead to diabetes type II. In addition, high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels which can cause heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, poor circulation to legs, and more.

To make a long story short, we DO NOT want to have high blood sugar.

One way is to decrease the amount of high glycemic food we eat. Foods with levels up to 55 are considered to have low glycemic index (GI), 56-69 are considered medium, and 70 and higher are considered to be high. Therefore, eating rice (27) is better than eating baked potato (121).

As a rule of thumb, foods with simple sugar, starch food, processed food and cooked food have higher GI.  Fiber and protein help lower the GI. Here is a link to a list of 100 common foods published by the Harvard Health Publication.

It’s important to remember that food with high GI can be a good choice under some circumstances (e.g., when you need to recover after exercise).

Why Exercise

Why Exercise


There’s no way around it.  In order to lose weight, we need to exercise and eat less. Sounds simple enough, right? So why is it so difficult??

Let’s admit it, most of us have gone on a diet more than once or twice. Each time we told ourselves that this is the last time, this time we’ll stick with the plan, lose weight and keep it off, for good. We picked the new fab diet, followed the plan’s rules and…. it didn’t last for long!

We keep losing weight only to gain it back, and we actually usually end up with a few more pounds than what we started with.

The answer is that we want to see quick results, we believe the newest celebrity diet is the answer to our prayers. We want to lose weight the easy and quick way. We think that by limiting our caloric intake we’ll lose weight, and that the less we eat the more pounds we will shed, quickly. Unfortunately, that’s not how the human’s body is designed to work.

Our bodies have a very sophisticated mechanism, and I’m referring to our metabolism. When our body doesn’t get enough calories, an “alarm” goes off in our body. The body realizes that it is being starved, and it goes into emergency mode. In this emergency mode the body is trying to get more calories from different sources. The solution that the body finds is to start burning muscle tissues. Each pound of muscle tissue burns 3 times the calories than a pound of fat, so it makes sense to our body to use what gives it the most energy in order to try and maintain the caloric intake our body is used to.

What happens when the body is burning muscle tissues instead of fat? Not only do we not lose fat, our metabolism slows down, and we burn less calories than we did before starting the diet. Our “new” body, now with less muscle mass, finds it harder to deal with the increased calories we are eating again, and stores the excess energy as fat.

This explains the yo-yo effect that I am sure we are all too familiar with. We go on a diet, try to eat very little, our body starts burning muscle tissues, our metabolism slows down, we start “cheating” and eating more and more, and now we’re eating as much as we used to… but with a slower metabolism! It’s no wonder that very quickly we gain more and more weight, and we end up being heavier than before.

The solution is to first of all not eat too little. In order to maintain your current weight, the number of calories you’ll need to eat is: Your current weight X 12 = how many calories you need daily just to maintain your weight. So if your current weight is 200, you will need to eat: 200×12= 2,400 calories per day. If you’d like to lose 1 pound a week, you will need to cut 500 calories per day, meaning, eat 1,900 calories per day. If you’d like to lose 2 pounds a week, you’ll need to cut 1,000 calories from your daily intake, and eat only 1,400 calories per day.


But wait, there’s more! Exercising is the other key element in losing weight.

Exercising will:

  1. Increase the amount of calories you burn
  2. Protect you against muscle loss, especially if you do power training
  3. Help you control your appetite (glucose is released to the blood during exercise resulting in evening the blood sugar level, making you less hungry)
  4. Keep you busy, so you’re not eating out of boredom!
  5. Let you see better result, thus encouraging you to continue and not give up on the process

You can see that there are so many benefits in exercising, so even if you’re perfectly happy being a couch potato, please, do make an effort and try. Just walking a few times a week for 30 minutes will make a dramatic difference.

Burning Fat

Burning Fat


Caloric surplus means that we consume more calories than we burn. The excess calories will be stored in the body as fat, and our weight will increase.

Caloric deficit means that we burn more calories than we consume. If the deficit is too big, the body will compensate and use energy that is stored in the body, either as fat or muscle tissues. An exaggerated deficit can also lead the body to enter an emergency mode, in which the metabolism slows down.

In the food that we eat, there are 3 major groups: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.  The main purpose of carbohydrates and fats is to provide energy, whereas the proteins mainly build the body and the muscles. Our body uses energy from all these 3 sources of energy throughout the day (including when we sleep).

When we are physically active we use mainly carbohydrates and some fat as energy sources, and sometimes proteins as well. When we don’t have sufficient carbohydrates our body will break down muscle tissues and convert the released amino acids into glucose, which will be used for energy.

When we sleep our body uses mostly fat as energy source.

In one hour of sleep, we’ll consume about 60 calories, out of which 50 come from fat.

In one hour of running we’ll consume about 400 calories (depends on the intensity) out of which about 200 come from fat.

In one hour of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as racing) we’ll consume about 1,000 calories, out of which about 300 come from fat.

We can draw 2 conclusions from these facts:

  1. The more vigorously intensive the workout, the more calories we consume.
  2. In low-intensity activities we use a larger percentage of fat, however, the total amount of fat is larger in high-intensity activities.

Therefore we should try to aspire to work out at the highest intensity that we tolerate. It’s also important to remind new trainees to always start slow and easy.



I’m a woman in my mid 40’s. I’m married to a wonderful husband, have 2 sweet kids, and I am UnThin.

UnThin sounds better than fat. Or obese. On my journey of losing weight (this time for good, I hope) I prefer to think positively, and UnThin fits the bill.

In this blog, I will share what is working for me in this process. I will write about  how to change bad eating habits, exercise, nutrition, and products that are helping me reach my goal.

Enjoy, and feel free to drop me a line!



Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer

Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer

Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer

Most of my waking hours during the weekdays are spent sitting in front of the computer. When I started this journey of losing weight, I knew I wanted to incorporate as much exercise as I sensibly could. If you read my post about the importance of exercising you already know how exercising is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and dieting regime. The more you exercise (within reason of course) the more you curb your appetite, feel good about yourself, and burn calories and fat. As I spend so much time sitting at a desk, I started searching for something that would help me utilize the time for exercising as well.

At first, I was looking at those expensive desk treadmills (something like this – Lifespan Treadmill Desk), but I quickly realized these would not be a good choice for me because of space and money constraints. I continued looking for other ideas, and after browsing different categories on Amazon (hey, almost everything I buy is on Amazon!) I discovered this mini elliptical machines. You basically sit down on a chair and paddle with your feet. Simple, convenient and easy to implement. I chose this specific model because it seemed very sturdy, and it seemed as if you could do it both sitting down and standing up. There are a lot of other options as well, some are much cheaper, for example, this model.

My verdict: this is an excellent, excellent way to get some lite exercise done, even when you have to be at your desk. This solves another problem – sometimes when I sit for a very long time and forget to take movement breaks, my feet start going numb. The little exercise machine makes sure my blood flow all the way to the feet. I never tried using it stranding up as I had originally planned, I just don’t trust my balance. The weight limit is 250 lb though, so you could definitely give it a try standing up if you’re under the limit. You can change the resistance by turning a knob, which is a nice feature. This thing also comes with an electronic monitor tracks strides, exercise time, and calories, but honestly, I never bothered with it. I am using my Fitbit to make sure I walk at least 10,000 a day, and anything, like the exercise with this elliptical, would just be a nice extra. 

One caution though; make sure that you have a chair that can be raised up. I tried this at first with a chair that had a broken mechanism for lifting the chair up and down. After a while, my knees started to ache, as I was sitting too low. You will need to set the chair higher than usual when you’re exercising, as your feet are now resting on something higher than the floor. A reviewer on Amazon posted this guideline, so you might want to consider it:

“Sit down at your desk with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. If your feet aren’t flat on the ground, lower your chair until they are. Now measure the distance between your knee and the desk (measure to the bottom of the workspace area, to see how much distance you have before your knees knock up against the desk when you lift them). If you measured 7 inches or more, you are fine and can get this thing with no problem. If you measured less than seven inches, take off your shoes and try again. When I took off my shoes, I had a seven inch gap. Generally, the highest your knees will go is 27.5 inches from the ground. My desk is 28 inches from floor to the bottom panel of the workstation, so I never knock my knees.”

Once you are done exercising, you can put the trainer with your feet away from you to another area bellow the desk, and you’re done!