Taking Control (Of Blood Sugar)
In the last post, we discussed the ways in which sugar can act upon the brain, almost like a drug, predisposing us to cravings, addiction, and obesity. Now let’s take a look at what we can do about it.
The first step to learning to regulate blood sugar is recognizing when it is out of control as most people seldom recognize changes in their blood sugar levels until it is too late – and they are already overreacting. So how do we change that?
Here’s a quick exercise:
Make a list from 0 to 5 where 0 represents the lowest your blood sugar level could go, and 5 represents the highest. Now add three descriptors next to each number. For example, at 0, you may write, headache, dizziness, and mental fog. On the other hand, next to 5 you may add bloated, tired, and somewhat nauseas. As 3 represents the point at which your blood sugar level feels the most stable, your descriptors may be something like energetic, clear headed, and happy.
This may take a few days of paying clear attention to your food intake and the resultant effects. As you do, you may want to add to or modify your descriptors until you have a list that best describes the correlation between your blood sugar levels and the way you feel.
Now for the next three days, keep track of everything you eat and record a number that accounts for your blood sugar level after each meal or snack — this is called a “blood sugar diary”. For example, if you had eggs and toast for breakfast, write that down along with a number from 0 to 5 that reflects your blood sugar. One caveat: record your blood sugar level at the same time interval after each food intake. A good time interval to use is fifteen minutes as that will allow for digestion and absorption of foods that are generally slower to impact blood sugar levels (such as fats and proteins).
The last step of this exercise is to create a “food hierarchy”. Using the blood sugar diary that you just created, make a list of foods beginning with those that make you feel the best (i.e. create a blood sugar score of 3) and moving downward, those that do not make you feel good (i.e. create blood sugar levels that are either too high or too low).
With an increased understanding of how your blood sugar levels affect you, and the types of foods that create the feeling you want, you have everything you need to design a nutritional program that helps keep your blood sugar level, energy, and mood balanced — and sets you up for a life free of obesity.
Photo by Sole Treadmill
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2017). Taking Control (Of Blood Sugar). Psych Central. Retrieved on July 27, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/leveraging-adversity/2017/07/taking-control-of-blood-sugar/