Do you crave sweets? Do you get irritable, lightheaded or fatigued between meals? Are you suffering from stubborn body fat and hormone imbalances?
The best way to lose weight and balance hormones is to balance your blood sugar. You’ll feel better and lose fat faster by focusing on what you eat instead of how much you eat. Fat burning starts with hormones and hormones are most affected by the types of foods you eat, not the amount of calories consumed.
As with everything in the body, hormones are intricately connected. When you support one hormone it helps balance all hormones. Balancing blood sugar helps with diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, adrenal issues, thyroid problems, menopause, low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, and other hormonal imbalances. Eat to make your hormones happy and your body will reap the rewards.
1. Eat Whole Foods
The first step to balancing blood sugar is to choose whole foods (veggies and fruits) over man-made, processed products (cookies and pasta). Whole foods contain more nutrients including fiber that help lower the glycemic load (GL) of a meal to prevent an insulin spike. The less processed a food is, the better.
2. Select Slow Carbs
Carbs, particularly sugars and starches, have the greatest impact on blood sugar. Eat too many carbs or refined carbs and you’ll be on an energy roller coaster of highs and lows, followed by an inevitable crash. Focus on eating “slow” carbs or carbs with a low GL that release energy slowly into the bloodstream for more balanced blood sugar. The best slow carb sources are nuts, seeds, and non-starchy veggies. Depending on the individual, fruits and starchy veg can also be good options. Keep whole gluten-free grains, beans and legumes to a minimum until blood sugar levels are within a healthy range.
3. Read Food Labels
Make it a habit to always read food labels. Look for minimal ingredients. Avoid labels with refined sugars, white/wheat flour, words you can’t pronounce, and anything listed as “low-fat,” “fat-free,” or “sugar-free.” Aim for less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Healthier Alternatives here.
4. Start With Protein
Start your day with a protein-rich breakfast and start each meal with protein to improve digestion and provide high satiation. Enjoy 25 grams of high quality protein at the beginning of each meal, especially breakfast (about 4 eggs, 3-4 ounces of fish/poultry/meat/seafood, 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 serving protein powder). Vary your protein sources to get a full spectrum of amino acids.
5. Stay Hydrated With Water
Water supports fat loss, promotes detoxification, and prevents you from drinking sugary processed beverages. Stay hydrated by starting each morning with a large glass of water and pack a glass or stainless steel bottle to hydrate on the go.
6. Sweeten With Success
Avoid artificial sweeteners and refined sugars by choosing healthier sweeteners that help stabilize blood sugar levels, such as cinnamon and stevia. Cinnamon, a naturally sweet spice, can actually slow the rate carbs are digested by 29 percent! Stevia, a naturally sweet herb, contains zero sugar, calories or toxic ingredients and has zero effect on blood sugar levels.
7. Plan Balanced Meals and Snacks
Skipping meals and restricting calories can result in overeating and poor food choices. Instead, eat 3 balanced meals and 1-2 snacks that focus on quality protein, natural fats, and non-starchy veggies. This boosts metabolism, regulates hormones and stabilizes blood sugar for consistent energy throughout the day. Plan meals and pack snacks ahead of time to avoid ending up “starving” with unhealthy temptations.
8. Choose Greens Over Grains
Most people eat twice as many grains (especially refined grains) as they do greens, which should be the other way around. Eating more veggies is a great way to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidant and phytonutrients. The more veg on your plate, the less room you’ll have for insulin-spiking refined carbs. Include more veg by juicing, adding to salads/snacks, and using for pasta, wraps and rolls.
9. Befriend Natural Fats
Natural fats are your best friend for fat loss as they have zero effect on blood glucose levels. Fats also add flavor, decrease cravings, promote satiation and increase nutrient absorption. Fats lower the glycemic load of carbs, meaning the carbs from that food enters the blood at a much slower rate. The lower the glycemic load, the better. Good sources include: avocado, unrefined coconut oil, pastured butter, nuts, seeds, etc.
10. Decrease Cortisol
Most people live high-stress lifestyles, which results in chronically high cortisol or stress hormone levels. High cortisol result in high insulin levels, which is one of the reasons why you crave sugary, high carb foods when under stress. Support your blood sugar by decreasing daily stressors. Avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, skipping meals, skimping on sleep, and overexercising.
Monitor with a Glucometer
Monitor your blood glucose levels using a blood glucose meter or glucometer upon waking and just before breakfast, lunch and dinner. A healthy blood glucose range is between 80 and 90. Track for one to two weeks to determine if you’re consistently in range.