If you’ve been listening to me for a while or get my newsletters, you know that I talk a lot about how getting healthy and losing weight is not about cutting calories, measuring portions, or counting macros. Cutting calories will only create deficiencies in your body, inhibit your immune system, slow down digestion and your hormones, and completely destroy your metabolism. Would you take a pill that slows your metabolism, makes you hungry all the time, and kills your immune system? That’s what yo-yo dieting, exercising a ton, and eating less will do for you. And it might work at first, or worked for you 10 years ago when you lost weight before, but your body gets smart and won’t let yourself go through that deprivation again.
Everyone wants a magic pill, and this advice is about as close as I can get to one. It starts with balancing your blood sugar and your hormones.
Blood sugar imbalance can lead to unwanted and excess weight gain, which can make hormone regulation even more difficult. The two are intricately connected, and neither can be addressed without mentioning stress, adrenals, and of course, nutrition.
How do you know if hormones and blood sugar imbalances are at the root cause of your problem?
If you can’t go more than 3 hours without eating (and get hangry), wake up at 4am, feel sluggish in the morning, have digestive issues, store fat easily especially around the belly, have cravings for carbs or sweets, hormones and blood sugar regulation are likely an issue. A lot of people I talk to say they don’t even eat a lot of sugar. But then, when I ask them a typical day it looks something like this: oatmeal, berries, and almond milk for breakfast; a salad with low fat dressing, a yogurt or kind bar for a snack, and maybe gluten free pasta for dinner. This is a day in the life of sugar overload. Now, ask yourself: how much sugar do you really eat in a day? It comes from carbs, salad dressings, yogurt, grains (oatmeal, granola, pasta), snack bars, and fruit. So, you don’t have to be eating desserts and candy bars to throw off your blood sugar regulation and hormones. And you don’t have to be diabetic or overweight to be dealing with blood sugar issues.
Here are a few tips to start balancing your blood sugar and hormones.
1. Eat protein within 30 minutes of waking: a smoothie with collagen peptides or hemp protein powder, a couple boiled eggs, or homemade full fat yogurt if you handle dairy well. You can check out my pinterest board of yummy breakfast recipes here.
Note: If you are not hungry for breakfast, this is a sign that you don’t have adequate levels of stomach acid, which is at the root cause of many digestive issues. It can also be a sign that your stress hormone, cortisol, is out of whack.
2. Eat healthy fats with each meal: a tablespoon of coconut oil to cook your veggies, a scoop of ghee on your chicken breast, 1/2 an avocado on your salad. Remember our hormones are made with fats Saturated fat and cholesterol help to build healthy hormones and keep inflammation low, so it’s important we get enough from the right sources.
3. Eat root vegetables and fruit for carbs, instead of healthy whole grains. Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets and other root vegetables provide a nutrient-dense source of carbs. To really balance blood sugar, eat fruits and roots along with healthy fats and protein. Another option for healthy carbs, if you know that grains work for you (they cause inflammation for a lot of people) is a sprouted bread, like Ezekiel. Legumes are also a healthy option if they are properly prepared by soaking and sprouting them.
4. Don’t go hard everyday. Exercising more everyday is not healthy long term. Do shorter intense exercises and longer restorative exercise, rather than long and intense workouts. Giving your body time to lower cortisol (stress hormone), manage inflammation, and chill the heck out will ensure you don’t hold onto fat and make your blood sugar go whacky. Ever notice if you do a long run or cycle class, you have mad cravings the rest of the day? But, if you did a strength training session, you’ll be less likely to crave carbs and will continue to burn calories even after the session is over. Win-win.
5. Get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. There’s a reason you have more cravings on the days after you don’t get much sleep.. it doesn’t have to do with willpower! Studies have shown that “less than 1 week of sleep restriction can result in a prediabetic state in young, healthy subjects.” Try to commit to 7-8 hours of sleep on a consisent basis to truly see a difference.
This is just the beginning of what you can do to start getting your hormones to work for you instead of against you. Pick one of these tips right now and stick to it for a week. Comment below and let me know which one you’re going to implement.
If you’re looking for even more ways to balance your hormones so you can get UNSTUCK and feel like yourself again – no more bloating, lose the belly fat, no more waking up at night, no more cravings – join me for the 5 Day Hormone Detox Challenge. I’ll be recording a video everyday in my Private Facebook Group to give you the tips and strategies that you need to implement that day. We start on Monday, August 22nd.