Are you eating enough?
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it, but I am always astounded at how little many people eat. The main reason of course is because they hope it will help them to lose weight (although restricting food intake is far more likely to make them gain weight!). Others may be that they don’t have time, they simply can’t fit it into their schedule, it is not a priority, there is nothing to eat in the house, they’re not hungry, they’re too tired, they can’t be bothered, whatever. But not eating enough, let alone properly, can have countless unwelcome results – and eating correctly, nutritiously, regularly is surely among the top factors in creating health, wellbeing and youthfulness, in fact a life well lived as well as ageing dynamically.
So let’s look first at why we need to eat, as our purpose in eating is so often nothing whatsoever to do with health and nourishing ourselves, let alone powering up the body to carry out its myriad different tasks. The basic objective of eating is – or at least should be – to provide our bodies with the essential and necessary building materials for ongoing healing, repair, rebuilding, and metabolic processes. That is why our ancestors ate, although they will have seen it more as survival! Nowadays, we eat for many other reasons. Because we are bored. Because we have nothing else to do. Because we are feeling depressed. Because we are in need of comfort. Because it looks colourful and tasty and attractive. Because we are trying to create a specific image. Because it is fashionable. Because it looks so good in the advert.
But what happens when we do not eat enough, well enough or regularly enough? The “blood sugar roller coaster” is a crucial consequence. The body constantly strives to keep its blood sugar levels balanced at all times and if we skip a meal, we are likely to get energy slumps, feel weak and light-headed and may even experience panic, anxiety, fatigue, exhaustion, cravings and mood swings – and our brain will start getting equally anxious because it depends on a tightly regulated supply of glucose as fuel. No food, no fuel, big panic. Is famine on the way it asks itself? Do I need to prepare? Should I lay down stores of fat to see me through the coming thin times?
The brain goes into red alert and as long as no food is supplied, it constantly instructs the adrenals to pump out adrenaline and cortisol. And what do these two hormones do? Adrenaline responds to the emergency state by releasing glucose stored in the liver and muscles, thereby flooding the bloodstream with sugar and consequently insulin. Cortisol will actually break down muscle mass to turn it into the sugar the brain is so desperately craving! The sequence looks rather like this: no food, panic stations, sugar is released into the bloodstream, followed by insulin which lowers all this blood sugar. And what does it do with this excess sugar? It stores it as fat. Still no food? Panic, sugar is released, insulin to the rescue. And this goes on and on.
The answer to the blood sugar rollercoaster is simple, and totally within our control. Eat. Eat well. Eat often. Eat wisely. Eat regular, balanced meals of real, whole foods. Eat to nourish your body. Eat to balance your blood sugar and reassure your brain. Eat to fire up your metabolism. Eat to provide the building blocks for repair and rejuvenation. Eat for health and longevity. Eat for dynamic ageing. In fact, eat to create energy and vitality, to keep your brain sharp, to sleep well, to lose weight, to fire up your metabolism, to burn away fat around your middle, to enjoy yourself and have fun – and start reaping the benefits of a life-supporting, nutritious way of eating.
Just a reminder to join my free Facebook group, Let’s Age Dynamically. it is a private, safe environment for all of us, men and women, well into MidLife&Beyond where we can talk about any health challenges which are facing us as we grow older and learn to age dynamically and by design, rather than passively and by default. I look forward to seeing you there.