Tired? Irritable? Got food cravings? You may be experiencing issues with your blood sugar. At Method3 Fitness, our San Jose personal trainers are dedicated to improving the way you eat, move, and think. That’s why we’ve done the research to provide you with this piece on how to keep your blood sugar stable. As you read, you’ll find out that it’s not just about what you eat. Lifestyle factors, including exercise and mind body practices, can help keep your blood sugar stable. Discover our expert recommendations here.
What is blood sugar and why is it important?
Do the words “blood sugar” conjure up visions of restrictive eating, diabetes medications, or insulin injections? Let me ease your fears. Blood sugar is simply the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.
The thing is, it can fluctuate a lot. This fluctuation is the natural balance between things that increase it and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugar or starches (what normally comes to mind when we think of “carbs”), your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood. When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body keeps blood sugar levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin allows excess sugar to get it out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy.
Why must I keep my blood sugar stable?
Your body wants your blood sugar to be at an optimal level. It should be high enough so you’re not light-headed, fatigued, and irritable. It should be low enough that your body isn’t scrambling to remove excess sugar from the blood. When blood sugar is too low, this is referred to as hypoglycemia. When your blood sugar is too high, it is referred to as hyperglycemia.
Prolonged periods of elevated blood sugar (chronic hyperglycemia) can lead to “insulin resistance.” This is when your cells are just so bored of the excess insulin that they start ignoring or resisting it, and that keeps your blood sugar levels too high. Insulin resistance and chronic hyperglycemia can eventually lead to diabetes. I don’t want that and I know you don’t want that either, so let’s look at how you can optimize your food and lifestyle to keep your blood sugar stable.
Food for stable blood sugar
At Method3 Fitness, all of our clients receive nutrition coaching to help them achieve their fitness and weight loss goals and to improve their overall health. The following suggestions that our san jose personal trainers make apply to both weight loss and blood sugar stabilization:
- Reduce sugar intake. The simplest thing you can do to balance your blood sugar is to reduce the number of refined sugars and starches you eat. To do this, start by eliminating sweet drinks and having smaller portions of dessert.
- Load up on fiber. Fiber slows down the amount of sugar absorbed from your meal. It reduces the “spike” in your blood sugar that’s typical after you eat. You’ll find fiber in plant-based foods. Remember to eat them in their natural state. Processing foods removes the fiber. Nuts, seeds, whole fruits and veggies (not juiced) are all great options.
FUN FACT: Cinnamon has been shown to help cells increase insulin sensitivity. Not to mention it’s a delicious spice that can be used in place of sugar. Click here for a great fall recipe that includes this key ingredient.
Lifestyle for stable blood sugar
A few small changes to your daily routine can also help to keep your blood sugar in check.
- Get moving. Exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity. Instead of your cells ignoring insulin’s call to get excess sugar out of the blood, when you exercise, your muscles absorb the sugar and use it for energy. But you already know that exercise is healthy, don’t you?
- Eliminate stress. Would you believe that stress affects your blood sugar levels? Yup! Stress hormones increase your blood sugar levels. If you think about the “fight or flight” stress response, what fuel do your brain and muscles need to “fight?” Sugar! When you are stressed, signals are sent to release stored forms of sugar back into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels. So, try to reduce manage your stress more effectively through calming exercises like meditation, deep breathing, or gentle movement.
- Sleep. This goes hand-in-hand with stress. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, you body releases stress hormones. You have a higher appetite and even get sugar cravings. Sleep is a crucial, often overlooked, factor when it comes to keeping your blood sugar stable. Make sleep more of a priority. It will do your blood sugar and the rest of your physical and mental health some good.
Your body is on a constant 24-hour quest to keep your blood sugar stable. It has mechanisms in place to do this, but those mechanisms can get tired (resistant). Long-term blood sugar issues can spell trouble, so make sure to utilize the nutrition and lifestyle approaches our San Jose personal trainers recommend, so you keep your blood sugar stable. Minimize excessive carbs, eat more fiber, exercise, reduce stress, and improve your sleep to stabilize your blood sugar and maintain overall good health.
Live stronger for today,
The Method3 Fitness Team
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The Method3 Fitness blog is updated weekly. All content is designed to improve the way you move, eat, and think so you can achieve your goals and live stronger for today. Check back here each week and LIKE our Fan Page, to stay up to date on the latest tips, strategies and methods to get fit, lose fat, and build confidence. Ready to get started with us? Click here for a complimentary goal strategy session!