Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Ask Jenny: What Does Insulin Have To Do With Fat Loss?

Dear Jenny, as part of your Lean and Clean Program you recommend testing your insulin levels. What does insulin have to do with fat loss?
— Helen, Chestnut Hill, MA


Regulating insulin and blood glucose is one of the key tools I use my Lean and Clean program, and by asking my clients to test their blood glucose every morning I can monitor their progress internally as well as externally. Your blood never lies!

When we eat carbohydrates our pancreas releases the hormone insulin, in response to the rise in our blood sugar (glucose) levels. Insulin helps us to shuttle the fuel (the glucose in the blood) into our muscle and fat cells - think of it as the key that unlocks the cell to let the glucose in. Within the program I call this insulin sensitivity, and my aim is to make you as insulin sensitive as possible so you efficiently use your food for fuel rather than storing it as fat.

A high carbohydrate diet combined with a lack of exercise means we become insulin resistant, rather than using our food as fuel we start to store it as fat. If we are eating too many carbohydrates and our cells have already taken in enough glucose the excess will be converted and stored as both subcutaneous fat (the fat underneath the skin) and visceral fat (the fat around the organs and belly).

If this continues for long periods of time then we develop insulin resistance, which is the precursor to Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes. In insulin resistance the cell either stops responding to the insulin, preventing the glucose from getting in to be used as fuel (and therefore being returned to the bloodstream to be stored as fat), or the pancreas stops secreting insulin as there is already so much in the bloodstream (in some cases both these effects occur).

My Lean and Clean Program lowers blood glucose and increases insulin sensitivity through my targeted tools of nutrition, fitness and wellbeing:

  • My low carb, high fibre diet with quality proteins and some good fats which help to stabilize and lower insulin levels (whilst simultaneously managing our hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin).

  • Strength training, HIIT and walking are used to increase insulin sensitivity and help us burn body fat.

  • Stress management and quality sleep are prioritized as when our stress hormone cortisol is raised it in turn raises insulin. We are also more likely to store belly fat at times of stress.

Testing your blood glucose at home is a super simple finger prick test, and you can purchase a meter from CVS, Walgreens, or by using the link below. Take the test before you have breakfast or drink your coffee, and ideally I am looking for a fasting blood glucose level of between 80-90ml.

Blood Glucose Meter - Amazon

For more information on my Lean and Clean Program head to:

Lean and Clean Program




Contact: jenny@jenniferhanway.com