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Balanced Blood Sugar Habits

It's been an hour and a half since you had lunch, and you're starting to get those all too familiar feeling. You notice your energy is plummeting and irritation levels are rising. All of a sudden you're feeling snacky and having cravings for the chips in the back of the pantry. "But you just had lunch!?" You say to yourself. "What gives?" Your frustrations continue to rise and you're struggling to focus on anything. This is a textbook play by play of a "hangry" struggle.

There is a better solution than to go grab a Snickers Bar. Before we get to it, let's have achat about why you might feel hangry or struggle with physical and mental energy spikes and crashes...

Your blood sugar might be swinging all over the place!

After you eat, blood sugar rises as your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose that circulates in your bloodstream. Then, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which takes that glucose out of your bloodstream, and into your cells to be used for energy or stored for later in the form of glycogen in the liver or muscle. Anything extra beyond that is converted to triglycerides and stored in fat cells. ⁣

Glucose is your body’s preferred energy resource (for training, thinking, breathing...) , you want to make sure you’re getting enough! We just want to fuel your body in a way that doesn’t involve huge surges and crashes. ⁣

If your blood sugar rises and crashes, like a roller coaster, that’s a huge stress on your body. Cortisol spikes, and you are in "fight or flight" mode. That’s where you may notice you feel cranky, anxious, tired, have trouble concentrating or even feel “bingey” as some of my clients describe it.

If you’re always experiencing these big dips and spikes in blood sugar, your levels of cortisol are doing the same thing. Chronically, this has a major downstream effect on your hormones.

Remember, nothing in the body works in isolation.

Women especially often come to me and report feeling so anxious and wire brained when they get in the kitchen and end up “Bingeing.” Instantly my question to them is: "When was the last time you ate, and what did that meal look like?"

If it was 6 hours since your last meal and you’ve been running on coffee since noon, well no shit you’re going to be in that bingey mood- your body is stressed the F out and looking for some glucose. It’s not a will power problem, it’s a meal structure and timing issue!!

Other concerns such as acne, insulin resistance, hormone imbalances, weight gain, low energy levels and frequent infections can arise when blood sugar is dysregulated.

What can we do to avoid riding this blood sugar roller coaster?

1.Aim to eat a balanced meal every ~3-4 hours, don't skip meals as this can lead to low blood sugar.

2. No naked carbs. Always pair carbohydrates with protein and/or a fat source to stabilize your blood sugar. For example, instead of having an English muffin for breakfast, have it with 2 hard boiled eggs. A piece of fruit with nut butter or cottage cheese is another example.

3. Include at least 25 grams of high quality protein per meal. Peanut butter and protein cereal aren't high quality proteins as they lack all essential amino acids. You want to focus your meals around complete proteins which do contain all essential amino acids. This includes foods such as poultry, beef, eggs, dairy, protein powder and tofu.

4.Fiber helps control blood sugar. Incorporate plenty of colorful veggies, oats, fruit, nuts/seeds and root vegetables into your meals.

5.Be careful with fasting. Prolonged fasts can increase cortisol, which adds inflammation in the long run. This increase in cortisol leads to blood sugar dysregulation. I generally recommend a 12 hour fast overnight for most, and be mindful that fasting longer may not be necessary or beneficial for your specifically.

6.Try a savory vs a sweet breakfast to help balance blood sugar and reduce food cravings. Coffee is also not a complete breakfast, and running on caffeine from 6 am to 1 pm is not a badge of honor. It's actually not great for your blood sugar.

7. Stay active! Go on a 10 minute walk after meals (this has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and minimize post meal spikes in blood sugar). Resistance train (and train hard!) and include some aerobic exercise into your week.

Finally, we want to ensure you are eating enough calories and carbohydrates for your activity levels. Not too much or too little. And in a cut or building phase we still want to keep blood sugar regulation in mind. You can Use a calculator online to get a rough idea, or reach out to us for a consultation or to work together 1 on 1 coaching for guidance and accountability.

Things like sleep and gut health can also contribute to blood sugar imbalances and decrease insulin sensitivity. Nothing in the body works in isolation, which is why at Fortify Health Coaching we consider someone's lifestyle and health history , giving attention to all areas of health to enable you to thrive in every facet of life.



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