You wake up, get in a workout, drink your coffee, forget to eat breakfast or just aren’t hungry.
You rush off to work maybe have a small snack or protein bar to hold you over. You maybe drink another cup of coffee and get so busy you forget to eat lunch. By the time dinner rolls around you are starving and craving all the things which leads into a spiral of overeating and poor food choices but you’re proud of yourself for making it the whole day without eating because now you can eat whatever you want with no consequences and because… calories.
I’ve been there. I used to think I should get some badge of honor if I skipped meals or had no appetite. Girl, was I wrong. If only I knew I was just making my health issues worse with this blood sugar rollercoaster.
You see, when it comes to balancing hormones it’s ALL about balancing your blood sugar.
Let’s talk about the hormone insulin real quick. First of all, insulin is not bad, it in fact helps glucose (sugar) get into our cells to use for energy which is necessary and important.
Where it goes wrong: your body starts over producing insulin when you are under chronic stress. Eventually your cells stop responding to these high stress demands and become resistant to insulin overtime. Your body produces higher amounts of cortisol (the stress hormone) which makes your cells resistant to insulin. When this happens too much sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used by our cells. Insulin resistance simply means your cells are having a hard time absorbing glucose.
What is stressful? Skipping meals, restricting calories, poor diet, poor gut health, overexercising, under-eating, eating too much, and not eating balanced meals.
Chronically elevated insulin levels lead to increased testosterone, increased adrenaline and cortisol, depleted progesterone, high estrogen. Progesterone actually helps to balance blood sugar where estrogen over-stimulates the pancreas which increases insulin resistance. Basically we are talking a hormonal disaster.
The first thing women think when they get diagnosed with PCOS, are having a hard time conceiving, can’t lose weight (since insulin resistance makes it near impossible to lose weight even when you are doing all the right things) or other hormonal issues is to start fasting and cutting carbs.
Sure, go ahead and cut those carbs and fasting to try and help with said insulin resistance but that is not getting to the root cause of WHY your cells are having a tough time taking in insulin in the first place and why your body is having a hard time using carbs for energy.
Some tips to balance blood sugar and stabilize insulin:
⫸ Eat every 3-4 hours and make sure your meals consist of a carb, protein and fat (amount of each can vary depending on the person)
⫸ NEVER have coffee black or on an empty stomach
⫸ Get your minerals in check so you can utilize carbohydrates appropriately
⫸ Work on eliminating/managing stress
And a little reminder for all you low carbers- just eating that slab of protein without a carb actually creates the same blood sugar response as just eating a carb bomb!