Are you fed up with endlessly trying to manage your weight?
Then it is time to get off the roller coaster!
The blood sugar roller coaster makes effective weight management SO much more difficult because keeping blood sugar stable is the secret to achieving our ideal weight. Yo-yoing blood sugar also saps your energy, affects your brain, triggers unhealthy cravings, ie sugar, and makes you age faster. So understanding it – and avoiding it! – is crucial to reaching – and keeping – your ideal weight, let alone ageing dynamically, and the key here is to grasp the concept of glucose and its role in our body and general health.
Our bodies create energy by burning glucose. Where does this glucose come from? The carbohydrates, such as grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits, which we eat. Or at least that is the ideal scenario. Unfortunately today’s typical way of eating in the developed world wreaks havoc because it is packed with the wrong types of carbohydrate – white bread, white rice, white pasta, refined foods, junk foods – which are broken down into glucose so fast that the blood stream is swamped with it. And what happens to this excess glucose? The body is unable to use so it is stored as fat...... and this leaves us craving even more food in order to meet our energy requirements. If blood sugar control goes out of the window, weight gain is inevitable because all that glucose has nowhere to go. Furthermore, when your blood sugar crashes back down again, as it inevitably will, you will feel tired, lethargic, even exhausted, irritable or depressed and you may have difficulty concentrating. You will also feel hungry.
However, if you ensure that you keep your blood sugar levels under control – by eating a natural, whole food diet – you will have a steady supply of energy throughout the day, as well as a healthy appetite. You will also be able to reach, and maintain, your perfect weight because your body will be able to burn fat and you will in effect have switched your metabolism from storing fat to actually burning it.
Now let’s look at how you can achieve nicely balanced blood sugar levels.
In the first instance, just a reminder that it is carbohydrate and NOT fat (or protein) which triggers blood sugar spikes and crashes and piles on the weight.
Moving on from there, it is essential to understand that the nutrient quality of the food you eat has a huge influence on blood sugar and it is worth looking briefly at what is known as the Glycaemic Load or GL. The GL is a measure of the quantity and quality of the carbohydrate contained in a food, and thereby enables us to judge what effect that particular food is likely to have on our blood sugar levels. Put very simply, a refined food such as white rice or white pasta or a croissant, let alone a sugary doughnut, has a very high GL load and will send your blood sugar sky high, while the carbohydrate in brown rice, whole wheat pasta and wholemeal bread will be converted into glucose and released into the blood stream slowly and steadily, resulting in stable blood sugar and stable energy. Starchy carbohydrates like white potatoes sadly are likely to trigger a rise in blood sugar as they have a high GL, while sweet potatoes, despite their sweetness, have a low GL. Most fruit is full of natural sugar but it also has a high fibre content, which yet again will slow down the release of glucose – but beware of very sweet ones like mangoes and grapes, they should only be eaten occasionally. The majority of vegetables will keep everything nice and even, and proteins and fats will have no effect on their own but when combined with carbohydrates, they can improve blood sugar control and boost metabolism and fat burning.
So to get off the blood sugar roller coaster, eat a natural, nutrient-dense diet of whole foods, healthy fats, good proteins (whether animal or plant-based) and fresh fruit and vegetables – and be sure to eat regularly. As mentioned above, it is also a good idea to ensure that you eat protein with your carbohydrates – even a handful of pine nuts strewn over your plate of (brown!) spaghetti will do the trick. Don’t starve yourself, don’t diet, don’t miss meals. And you will find that slowly but surely, your body will start to adjust to this way of eating, to its newly stable blood sugar levels, to an unusual sense of balance which will allow it to burn fat rather than store it, and to adjust to the weight which is right and natural for it.
And 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. This is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/403073241466517 and I look forward to seeing you there.