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 begin balancing hormones is to balance your blood sugar levels with a healthy daily diet. You’ll feel better and lose weight faster if you focus 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 you consume.
As with everything in the body, hormones are intricately connected. When you support one hormone it helps balance all hormones. Balancing blood sugar levels helps with diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, HPA axis dysfunction, adrenal issues, thyroid problems (hyperthyroid or hypothyroid), menopause, low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, and other hormonal imbalances. Simply put, eat to make your hormones happy and your body will reap the rewards.
10 Tip to Balance Blood Sugar Levels
1. Eat Whole Foods
The first step to stabilizing blood sugar levels is to choose natural, whole foods (veggies and fruits) over man-made, processed products (cookies and pasta). Whole foods naturally contain more nutrients including fiber that help lower the glycemic load (GL) of a meal to prevent an insulin spike. The less processed or refined a food is, the better.
2. Select Slow Carbs
Carbs have the greatest impact on your blood sugar levels. Eat too many carbs or the wrong kinds of carbs and you’ll be on an energy roller coaster of highs and lows, followed by an inevitable crash. Before you start counting carbs though, focus on eating “slow” carbs or carbs with a low GL that release energy slowly into the bloodstream. Slow carbs help you feel full longer and keep blood sugar levels stable. The best sources of slow carbs are nuts, seeds, and non-starchy vegetables, such as kale, cabbage and broccoli. Fruits and starchy vegetables can also be good options. Keep whole gluten-free grains, beans and legumes to a minimum until blood sugar levels are within a healthier 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. Click here for a list of Healthier Alternatives.
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). Make sure you 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 fill wherever you 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 or 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 helps stimulate metabolism, regulate hormones and stabilize blood sugar levels so you can maintain consistent energy throughout the day. Make sure you plan your meals and pack your snacks ahead of time so you don’t end up “starving” with lots of 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 vegetables is a great way to increase fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants into your daily diet. The more veggies on your plate, the less room you’ll have for insulin-spiking refined carbs. Include more veggies 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 sugar cravings, promote satiation and increase nutrient absorption. Fats lower the glycemic load of any type of carb, meaning the sugar 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, extra virgin olive 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 levels 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 levels by decreasing your 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. If out of range, contact Cate to find out why and support your blood sugar levels accordingly.