Beat the Midday SlumpMay 27, 2019
3 Ways to Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
If you’re an entrepreneur or business leader, sustaining your energy throughout the day is critical.
Think of a time when you were desperately looking for something to eat. You’d already waited too long for a meal and were ravenous, irritable, and shaky… sound familiar?
These are the symptoms caused by low blood sugar. While in this state, your body consumes itself in an attempt to regain balance, triggering a severe hunger reaction. This is how and why your body tells you it needs food.
The Vicious Sugar Cycle Ruining Your Day
When you are in this state and eventually do find food, you tend to dash right for the carbohydrates.
See, carbs are broken down directly into glucose— which your body needs desperately at this moment.
You begin an eating frenzy, feeling like you cannot get enough, and then about twenty minutes into the meal, you’ll begin to feel very full, uncomfortable, even a little sleepy. (At low blood sugar levels, it takes your brain that long to realize you’ve eaten.)
Now, your blood sugar is elevated, your pancreas over-releases insulin, and all the excess food you’ve just eaten is stored in your body—some of it as fat.
Crack the Cravings by Understanding Your Meals
My suggestion is this: instead of having your body trigger these responses to stabilize your blood sugar, learn how your actions beforehand can stabilize your blood sugar and prevent unnecessary weight gain.
There are three factors that will keep your blood sugar stable and your body in homeostasis:
Your body is a “refuel as it goes” machine. This means that in order for it to work correctly, the body needs to be fed consistently.
On my nutrition program (Venice Nutrition Program) patients eat within the first hour of waking and then again every three to four hours throughout the day, up to within an hour of going to sleep. Yes! You can eat before bed.
There are three nutrients that contain calories and are essential for our survival: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. All three combined in the correct ratio will provide your body with the proper amount of glucose (carbs), amino acids and nitrogen (proteins) and fatty acids (fat), which will ensure that your body maintains homeostasis.
Calories Per Meal
Yes, I’m talking about calories per meal and not per day. Your body can process only a certain amount of food at once, and that amount is based on many individual factors.
The most important thing about the quantity of food per meal is that you should be feeling hungry enough to eat before you begin the meal (never starving), satisfied after a meal (not full), and then ready to eat again approximately three to four hours later. This is a clear indication that your blood sugar is stable and your body is in balance.
Choose Balance Over Deficit
Creating internal balance is what separates what I just described from dieting. This balance, or homeostasis, creates an environment of positive growth in your body—optimal cell reproduction, energy, focus, sleep, stress management, and lean muscle.
Diets, on the other hand, create deficits through deprivation and restriction—the opposite of balance. Deprivation actually causes the body to hold its stored fat and to burn muscle. This is why dieting results in an overall slower metabolism.
A phenomenon so many people complain about—and one I understand, because I struggle too—is the craving for food.
My craving of choice has always been pizza. And I crave it for two reasons: the first is that I love pizza, and the second is that pizza is loaded with carbohydrates. This is both a physiological and a psychological craving.
When my blood sugar is low, my body physically needs carbohydrates (a physiological craving) and I choose pizza because… I just want it (a psychological craving).
Our body’s mechanism for basic survival is to create a sense of urgency to consume carbs when blood sugar drops. When those levels are stable and the pizza is in front of me, I still “want” it because I love it. I just don’t physically need it.
When sugar levels are stable, we do have control over our eating decisions.
But the reality is that if your blood sugar is low, you will crave, and you will eventually give in to those cravings.
I used to spend days beating myself up for having a cheat meal, thinking I lacked the willpower to abstain, not understanding that my body’s essential needs will always overpower my wanting not to succumb.
The Mindshift Every Pro Knows
So, wait, Mark? Am I out of options? Am I tied to the whim of my cravings forever?
No! You’re not out of options!
Men and women have gone before and proved what science and our own bodies tell us:
Preparation will set you up to win.
Maintaining stable blood sugar is exactly how to control those physiological cravings. And keeping up those levels just takes some extra thought to prepare for your day. To start:
- Eat within an hour of waking up
- Space your meals 3-4 hours apart,
- Make sure you’re getting protein and fat as well as carbs,
- Control your portions
And don’t beat yourself up like I once did over natural body processes—DO come prepared to make life-giving health choices and take your body confidence to the next level!