Lifestyle

The Fatigue Spiral

No get-up-and-go? Wake up exhausted? Feel tired but can’t fall asleep? Lie awake for hours in the middle of the night? Pump stimulants during the day to keep going?

You could be experiencing a blood sugar dysregulation which is causing disrupted nights. Unfortunately, the worse your sleep patterns, the more blood sugars tend to spin out of control.

What causes blood sugar imbalances?

Here are some common contributors:

  • An excessive amount of refined carbohydrates in the diet (breads, crackers, pasta,  pastries, baked goods, etc.).
  • Chronic low-grade emotional stress or frequent high intensity emotional stress.
  • Unidentified physiological stresses, such as food sensitivities, inflammation, or infection.
  • Insulin resistance.

How do disrupted blood sugars make you fatigued?

Let’s try an analogy. Your nose is designed to be evenly moist. When you have a cold, the excess mucous congests it to the point that you can hardly breathe. At the other extreme, it sometimes becomes so dry that it bleeds.

Now, let’s imagine the the individual cells of your body to be something like a nose. An excess of insulin will eventually prohibit the passage of nutrients into them, just as mucous prevents the smooth flow of air. When cells don’t get fuel (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose), they can’t create energy, perform their work, repair, and reproduce. Then you feel chronically fatigued – almost like a nose without enough air.

On the other hand, stresses – both emotional and physiological – take energy away from the cells, like hot, dry wind pulling moisture from a nose. A constant stream of stress will eventually leave a body exhausted and empty like a parched nose. The irony is that any stress triggers cortisol production, and rest is almost impossible when cortisol levels escalate. So no matter how weary you feel, you can’t seem to restore yourself.

Cortisol is a mobilization hormone. When it is high, melatonin drops like the heavy side of a teeter-totter. Melatonin influences your ability to sleep. The less you sleep, the more you want to use sugar and other stimulants to make it through your day. These, in turn, trigger more insulin resistance and more cortisol production. So, instead of having smoothly-regulated blood sugars, the highs get higher and the lows get lower, like a nose that alternately plugs and bleeds repeatedly. Having enough energy becomes a mirage in a desert of fatigue.

How can you stop the spiral?

Of course, you will want to work with a practitioner to find the root cause of your insulin and cortisol spikes. But there are also things you can do at home. These include:

  • Eating a diet that is balanced between natural fats, appropriate proteins, and slow-burning carbohydrates from unprocessed whole foods.
  • Syncing your body with circadian rhythms of light and dark by being in sunshine during daylight hours and limiting your exposure to artificial light at night.
  • De-stressing throughout the day, but especially taking time to wind down in the evening with regular relaxation practices, such as meditation, gratitude, journaling, aromatherapy, breathing exercises or yoga.

To learn more about intercepting the Tiredness Spin, you can register for a local, live class on Taming Fatigue.

 

Parties Without Party-Pooping

Fall off the diet wagon and enjoy yourself, or stick to the plan and avoid the social event. That seems to be the quandry you face repeatedly when you make a commitment to eat healthier.

These 12 tips can help you navigate the buffet line, the potluck, and the dinner party successfully.

Meal principles, not meal plans

The goal of a meal plan is to teach you how to eat. So take what you know, and go to the party, confident that you can follow general guidelines for health without counting portions or over-analyzing ingredients. Start with the basics: balance your carbs, fats, and proteins; eat only until satiated; avoid empty calories; eat color and variety.

Food quality over food quantity

Research is now showing that the type of food is much more important than how much of it you eat, because you will stop after consuming a certain volume, regardless of what was in it. Brussels Sprouts and pretzels are both carbs with equal filling power. Which will nourish you?

Watch hunger cues, not calories

People who only eat when hungry and stop when they feel satiated are more successful at maintaining a healthy weight and normal metabolism than those who try to outsmart their bodies’ needs by calculating an externally-specified number of calories. Do you  think that a coach on the internet  knows your daily needs better than your own body does?

Progress, not perfection

You are on a continuum of growth. You know how to nourish yourself better today than you did when you were 2. But you are still learning. Bodies change, and science continually adds new knowledge and research to our understanding, so it is unlikely that you will ever reach a state of flawless food consumption. The point is to do a little better each day, perhaps hydrating more, selecting a few more fresh vegetables, or simply adding more Omega 3’s to your routine. Wherever you are, shun complacency, but be realistic.

Your uniqueness is a gift

Instead of being ashamed that your are making different food choices than those around you, who may be over-indulging or piling detrimental options on their plate, see yourself as a ring leader. Perhaps your family and friends just need a little encouragement to follow suit. Your initiative could be the factor that changes your office culture.

More water, less soda and coffee

Have you ever mistaken thirst for hunger? Have you consumed too many calories by drinking them? Since the body is 80% water, you can never go wrong by asking for a glass of fresh water to hold in your hand while you socialize.

The best diet is whole foods

There are many conflicting philosophies out there, from vegan to keto, and from intermittent fasting to eating every 2-3 hours. But all nutritionists will agree that food from nature is superior to processed food. So regardless of what food plan you are following, opt to eat REAL.

Add before you subtract

No one wants to feel deprived. In fact, going without something can actually drive you to it! So instead of sitting at the table with an empty plate, grab a safe option to fill up on. You might try fruit, olives, avocados, crudites, or even nuts to replace dessert.

More IS better with veggies

Fill half your plate with vegetables, if possible. They are so low on the glycemic index, so high in phytonutrients, and so full of fiber and vitamins and minerals, that by the time you finish them, you probably won’t want more food. Even if you do, you will have provided yourself with a nutrient-dense foundation.

Eat protein for breakfast

Breakfast buffets are killers for blood sugars. The swings set up with those pastries and pancakes will plague you with fatigue and cravings for the rest of the day. So do yourself a favor, and opt for the eggs, meat patty, and plain Greeek yogurt to keep yourself stable all day.

To reduce sweets, increase natural fats

Sugars can leave you hungry and roaming for more, like an exhausted fire waiting for kindling. Fats are satiating, providing long, slow, burning fuel, like a log on the fire. Stick to unprocessed choices, like butter, coconut oil, olive oil, or avocados.

DIY is always in style

Special diets are accepted these days: there’s always the gluten-free, the dairy-free, or the meat-free crowd, so by all means, if you are uncomfortable with the menu, bring your own! It’s not hard to say, “I have food sensitivities,” or “I have special dietary considerations.” Most people won’t even ask why, but if they do, you have an opportunity to share your food philosophy!

 

Merry Christmas and Healthy New Year

I’ll be signing off until after the New Year begins. May you have a joyous holiday. Remember these 6 tips to keep your holidays merry and your new year healthy:

  1. Limit sugar and refined vegetable oils. No other combination of foods is quite as inflammatory, making you susceptible to disease. But if you make choices from the edges of the store (produce department, butcher block, and dairy case), you’ll be avoiding refined and processed foods. So keep it simple, and keep it whole.
  2. Go to be early. Treat yourself to an extra hour of sleep and pamper your immunity by giving your body extra restorative time. You’ll still make it to work on time in the morning, without the stress of snoozing your alarm. Though it is a tempation in these dark winter evenings to let electric light replace sunlight, your circadian rhythm will thank you if you do not use night time to be productive.
  3. Be mindful. Holiday stress can take us all into cerebral ruminations. But stay connected with your body;  delight in all the season has to offer. Find joy in the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of the holidays. Be present and cherish your relationships. Emotional wellness is every bit as powerful as physiological wellness.
  4. Eat DIY meals: the more you cook at home, the more you are able to limit excess carbs, processed foods, unnatural fats, artificial ingredients and preservatives, and set your portion sizes. The health benefits in the long run far outweight any temporary convenience in the moment.
  5. Move often: New research is showing that even marathoners who sit long hours for work have increased risk of disease. Those who stay active throughout the day have a brighter outlook than those who attend the gym for an hour, according to Chris Kresser in his book, Unconventional Medicine.
  6. Remember to take probiotics. Of course, naturally fermented food is the best option for keeping your gut healthy, but even popping probiotic supplements can help maintain your vitamin production, digestion, and even mood throughout the winter.
a low-sugar Christmas meal

Safely Steer Through the Season’s Eating

Willpower and the holidays don’t mix. You’ll make it up in January, you tell yourself. But you know you’re going to hate how you feel all month – heavy, stagnant, and bloated. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember these key words, all starting with S.

Sleep: You eat to keep going, especially sweet foods that give you instant energy. So being well-rested is the first step to avoid over-indulging this holiday season.

Snack: Rather than skipping a meal and saving up the calories for the party tonight, eat your meals as you normally would, especially breakfast. People who skip breakfast tend to eat heavier later in the day. So eat balanced and stabilize your blood sugars from the start of the day. Then select a smart snack right before the big event so that your appetite is reduced and you can make wiser choices about the holiday fare.

Supply: Offer to bring a dish to that dinner party you’ve been invited to. When you control the ingredients, you can insure they’re calorie light and  nutrient dense.

Select: Be picky about what you eat. Avoid fillers, like rolls. Use the buffet spread as an opportunity to go for the healthiest options. Give yourself permission to NOT clean your plate at the catered event. Stick to the basics: some protein, plenty of vegetables, a bit of complex carbohydrate.

Slow down: You will eat less if you take time between each bite and don’t line up for seconds before your satiety receptors have had time to register your fullness. Wait 10 minutes between courses.

Savor: Be mindful of the tastes, fragrances, and textures. Chew thoroughly, and allow yourself to be satiated without gobbling.

Sit: You should never eat on the run any time of year. But especially during this season, be present with your companions and remember that the gathering is more about the purpose and the people than the food.

Small Sizes: Try using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Special occasion food is often very rich. It takes very little to fill your nutritional requirement, so there is no need to super-size your servings.

Sip: Beverages often contain a lot of empty calories. It is smart to take only tiny doses of the drinks. For actual thirst, use plain water.

Skate, ski, stride, shovel, or sled: Staying active throughout the month will help keep your metabolism from becoming sluggish. Take the stairs whenever possible, and fit in 2 or 3 walking sessions of 10 minutes each throughout the day.

Substitute: Instead of making those goodies for the neighbors that you will snitch from, consider more wholesome food options: a soup mix in a jar, a dry rub packet, herbal teas, giardiniera, or granola.

Smile: Last of all, ditch the guilt, and simply feel all the love, gratitude, and cheer that surrounds you.

 

 

How to Stay Well This Holiday

Aside from washing your hands and getting enough sleep, make these two dietary changes to bolster your immunity this Christmas:

1. Avoid Carb-Loading:
  • Refined carbohydrates rob your body’s store of vitamins and minerals in order to digest them, so you actually go into debt with each mouthful. Zinc deficiency, and insufficient amount of Vitamins C and E may hinder your immunity.
  • Sugar decreases the responsiveness of the white bloods that gobble up invading germs – at least for a couple of hours. So if you are nibbling on treats throughout the day, this could effectively take your immunity down a notch or two. Eat more fruits and vegetables instead, to provide antioxidant vitamins C and E. Snack on pumpkins seeds, and increase your meat intake to insure you are getting adequates amounts of zinc.
  •  Eating sugar steals B vitamins from your reserves and thus cripples your liver’s ability to detoxify your body.
  • Blood sugar dysregulation occurs in the absence of healthy. This in turn creates a free radical build-up, which puts the body into a catabolic (breaking down) state, rather than anabolic (building up)state.
  • A diet chronically high in too many carbs and not enough fats eventually leads to insulin resistance. Insulin Resistance blocks the anti-inflammatory PG1 pathway, leading to inflammation and disease.
  • A person with insulin resistance also has mineral resistance because insulin helps carry the minerals into the cells. Since zinc is needed to for healthy immunity, a person with mineral resistance is immune compromised.

Eat Natural, Unrefined Fats:

  • Omega 3’s are involved in the anti-inflammatory response. Inflammation is a well-known symptom of infectious diseases.
  • Fatty acids are used to construct the cell membranes of every cell in the body, including white blood cells. In a low-fat diet or diet composed of modern refined oils, the cell membranes cannot be constructed properly. Since that membrane is what allows the cell to communicate and interface with other cells, a poorly constructed white blood cell cannot do its job!
  • White blood cells also require adequate protein to be manufactured. Healthy fats and proteins often come together. (In nature, meat, dairy, and eggs are a combination of fats and proteins.) A low-fat diet usually means too many carbs and not enough proteins.
 

Is Intermittent Fasting Right For You?

You are what you eat…no, when you eat…er, how you eat! With so much eating advice out there, what is the best approach?

There are as many right answers as there are individuals. There is no one-size-fits-all diet. We’re all unique, right down to our physiology. What plan you should adopt depends on your goals and your body’s needs. That’s why having a nutritional therapist as an advocate can be a blessing.

You might want to try Intermittent Fasting if you have high blood sugars and are insulin resistant.

If insulin is high, you are going to store fat, not burn it. Insulin rises after a meal. It rises dramatically after a high-carb meal because it has to escort all that glucose into the cells for energy. When you are insulin-resistant, the cells won’t accept either the messenger or its package and blood sugars remain too high.

Intermittent Fasting works because insulin can’t spike if you don’t eat, and your cells can become re-sensitized to insulin. In the meantime, you are able to burn off some of those fat stores while insulin levels are reduced.

Red flags for insulin resistance include:

  • feeling tired after a meal.
  • needing sweets or a stimulant after a meal.
  • weight gain.
  • memory loss.
  • slow healing.
  • premature aging.
  • thyroid hormone imbalances.

You might want to avoid Intermittent Fasting if you are hypoglycemic.

You have to have a certain level of glucose in your blood in order to function. The brain’s primary fuel is glucose, and” if the brain ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So a hormone called glucagon works in opposition to insulin to keep blood sugars from dropping too low. The ideal blood glucose level is between 70-90 mg/dL before a meal.

A hypoglycemic drops much lower than that. Getting glucose to the brain becomes an emergency, so cortisol steps in to help glucagon raise your blood sugars back to at least 70 mg/dL. When this happens repeatedly, cortisol actually increases insulin resistance! Fasting in this condition will make matters worse, because cortisol will be produced to keep you from having a sugar emergency, and you may actually aggravate your insulin resistance.

Red flags for hypoglycemia include:

  • feeling jittery, shaky, or light-headed before a meal.
  • irritability if a meal is missed.
  • chronic snacking or need to eat every 2-3 hours.
  • fluctuating energy (wired & tired syndrome).
  • easily upset or nervous.
  • constant cravings for sweets.

You might want to avoid Intermittent Fasting if you have Adrenal Fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is a condition that develops from chronic cortisol output. It doesn’t matter whether the cortisol is stimulated by emotional stress (think bosses, deadlines,  rocky relationships, worry, etc.) or by physiological stress (such as food sensitivities, chronic infections, or high-carb eating). As addressed above, fasting in this state is only going to provoke greater cortisol output.

Red flags for Adrenal Fatigue include:

  • feeling tired when you wake up, even after a sufficient number of hours.
  • not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep, or having poor quality sleep.
  • inability to cope well with normal stress.
  • unable to recover quickly after exercise, or not able to tolerate exercise.
  • having an afternoon energy crash.

Are there alternatives to Intermittent Fasting?

You might consider eating different food all the time, instead of going without food intermittently. You could swap everything that contains flour or sugar for vegetables with butter on them. Sound drastic? Well, Intermittent Fasting is drastic, too.  If insulin is a problem, then analyze your fat-carb-protein ratios. There has been much focus on balancing carbs and proteins, but proper fat levels are not always addressed.

You could try Eating Rhythms, a system of eating nutrient dense food at roughly 5 hour intervals, designed to normalize blood sugar levels. Under this system, you have a no-carb breakfast (such as avocado and egg), then refrain from snacking until lunch, when you have a healthy protein with some complex carbohydrates and natural, unrefined fat (perhaps a steak salad with oil and vinegar dressing). Don’t eat anything more until dinner, when you again have protein and unrefined carbs, along with healthy fat (maybe fish, cooked vegetables, and butter). Then you do not eat again until breakfast, going a full 12 hours or more with no food overnight.

How do you know it is working?

You will know you are succeeding at controlling your insulin levels not just by your waistline, but by the way you feel satiated after a meal, have sustained energy throughout the day, think clearly and maintain focus, don’t need to snack between meals, no longer crave sweets, have plenty of stamina for your work-out, and experience level moods.

Are You Getting Full Value?

Eating is a little like giving to your favorite charity. If it’s a well-managed organization, your donation can potentially help thousands of individuals. But if a top-heavy administration is usurping funds, you may be greatly dismayed to find that only 10 or 20% of your contribution actually reaches those in need. Likewise, you may be consuming a healthy diet of balanced macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins), but if your digestive system is being mis-managed, your food may literally get flushed away without every reaching the cells it was intended to serve.

POOR DIGESTION CAN CAUSE YOU TO BE A SUGAR BURNER

Sugar burners are those that have fluctuating energy levels, don’t feel satiated after a meal, feel a need to snack, experience cravings, and often hit a wall during endurance activities. Many of my clients who have been sugar burners for a long time often display signs of hypoglycemia and insulin resistance simultaneously. It’s not a fun way to live, feeling tired and hungry all the time, gaining weight, and being controlled by cravings.

Some of these clients eat clean. They are careful to eat their vegetables, avoid sugar and refined carbs, add natural fats to their cooking, and select healthy portions of proteins. What then is going on? It may be digestive dysfunction. Protein digestion requires a highly acidic stomach to trigger the release of pepsin, the chief enzyme used in the breakdown of protein molecules. But…

STRESS SHUTS DOWN DIGESTION

Your body has to prioritize its energy demands. If the decision is between running from danger or making stomach acid, fleeing obviously trumps. Cortisol, the hormone your body makes when there is any kind of perceived threat, physical or emotional, sends the signal that energy may be needed to make a dash. So when cortisol output increases, your brain turns down all digestive functions, including production of stomach acid, to conserve energy for a quick get-away.

Thus, if stress is a chronic factor in your life, your stomach acidity may be underpar. That means vlauable proteins may literall be just passing through. Because carbohydrate is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, the result is too often a surge of glucose into the bloodtream. Insulin, a dutiful worker, scurries to whisk all that sugar out of the bloodstream, resulting in a dramatic drop in blood sugars. Hypoglycemic symptoms manifest. Repeat that over and over, and your cells become insulin resistant. That is how your donation of good clean food gets wasted by poorly managed digestion.

YOU NEED TO GET PARA-SYMPATHETIC

That means getting out of your head, getting out of the future, getting out of fear and worry, and just being present. The parasympathetic state is one of sensing, connecting, and being. It is not task-focused or deadline-oriented. Here are are some way to do that at meal time so your food contribution reaches your needy cells:

  • Breathe deeply before eating. Shallow breath always accompanies stress.
  • Visualize where your food originated, the care given to bring it to you, and all the energy it has the potential to impart to you. Appreciation does not co-exist with stress.
  • Laugh with friends and family while you eat. Connecting with loved ones switches us into the parasympathetic state.
  • Engage you senses: notice colors and shapes, smell, touch, savor. Get out of your mind; make eating a full-body experience.
  • Chew thoroughly. You can gulp on the run, but chewing slowly and completely requires a deliberate awareness.

 

 

Hidden Stressors

Tense relationships. Unpredicted changes of circumstance. Too many demands on your time. These are stressors you can see. But there are changes inside your body that are stressing you out!

Any time your body perceives a threat to its homeostasis (stable equilibrium), it requires extra energy to bring balance back to itself, so it releases cortisol to supply that demand.

Common physiological triggers for the cortisol response are:

  1. Low blood sugars. When you don’t eat enough fat or protein to carry you through to the next meal, your blood sugars plummet. Your brain, which relies on a non-stop stream of fuel 24/7, sounds the alarm for cortisol to raise blood sugars immediately.
  2. Chronic infection – not just recurring viruses, but perhaps an overgrowth of yeast, bacteria, or parasites in your gut that you can’t see; the kind of thing that triggers cravings, creates constipation and/or diarrhea, feeds your vivid bizarre dreams, shows up as a coating on your tongue, makes you feel sick in a musty environment, instigates yeast infections or athlete’s foot or jock itch, create foul-smelling body odors including gas, makes you cramp, and gives you dark circles under your eyes. These are signs that your body is challenged and needs help!
  3. Toxicity. Toxins can come from heavy metal exposure, pesticides and herbicides that you breathe in or ingest, cosmetic products that contain parabens and phthalates and synthetic colors or fragrances, cookware and food or beverage containers made with BPA and PFCs…the list goes on. These disrupt your normal body functions and require extra energy to detoxify them.
  4. Food sensitivities. When you eat something that your body is intolerant  to, you release histamines to inflame the area where the offender is found so that white blood cells can more easily penetrate the tissue to surround and destroy this substance. Cortisol is then released as a follow-up anti-inflammatory – like the clean-up crew after the hurricane that has opened everything up.

Last week, in our post, Quit Stressing!, we discussed five different ways to counteract chronic cortisol output. If you are employing these methods and still feeling anxious, it’s time to see a nutritional therapy practitioner to delve into hidden causes of stress.

Quit Stressing!

Every stress response is a blood sugar response.

When there is stress, there is a demand for increased energy to deal with it. That’s why you have adrenal glands. They secrete cortisol, a stress hormone that increases glucose (sugar) levels in your blood. You need that glucose to provide fuel for the crisis.

But if stress is constant and chronic, the high cortisol output and the resulting high blood sugars are very damaging in at least 8 different ways:

  1. You crave refined carbs. To supply fuel for the constant triggers, you look for a quick way to get sugar into your bloodstream. The need for instant energy displaces the need for nutrient-dense whole foods, and your literally starve your body of minerals while eating excessive calories.
  2. You develop insulin resistance. Since every stress response is a glucose response, it is also an insulin response! (Insulin is the escort that shuttles glucose into the cells, where it is converted into energy). Just as an over-taxed mom tunes out the noise of her boisterous youngsters to protect her sanity, the cells stop listening to insulin after a continuous barrage. Even on a low-carb diet, you can become insulin-resistant, just from stress, and that means fatigue! If the cells are not receiving fuel, you are running on fumes!
  3. Your blood pressure rises because cortisol has a constricting effect on blood vessels.
  4. You get sick. Your ability to fight fight bacteria, viruses, parasites, and even cancer is hand-cuffed by this hyper-cortisol output. Immune functions operate in “rest-and-digest” but are shut down by “fight-or-flight.”
  5. Toxins build up. Detoxification isn’t a drink you consume; it’s a cellular process that occurs 24/7. Your cells are continuously exposed to both internal and external waste. But cortisol inhibits “housekeeping” because the demand to manage the crisis trumps the need to sweep up the trash. We do most of our detoxification at rest.
  6. You have trouble sleeping. Cortisol slows the pineal gland’s production of melatonin. You must have melatonin to drop into a sleep state.
  7. Your digestion turns sour. Stomach acid production, bile flow, enzyme production, and peristalsis are all slowed, to save energy to handle the stress. Next thing you know, you have heartburn, bloat, constipation, irritable bowels, candida overgrowth, or some other issue related to poor gut health.
  8. Your adrenals give out. In spite of a need for cortisol, you just can’t keep producing it, much the way an ocean or forest is damaged when it is over-harvested. So you feel constantly depleted, with even the smallest trigger tipping you over the edge in an inability to cope.  You become edgy and anxious.

You can reverse the effects of chronic stress in two-minute increments throughout your day. Build pauses into your life to take yourself out of “fight-or-flight” when you wake up, when you eat, when you drive, when you get ready to sleep, when you have been sitting at your desk for more than an hour, and when you finish an interaction with a spouse, a child, a boss, or a co-worker. Use this time to get out of your head and re-connect with your body and your surroundings. Here are some actions you can take during those pauses:

  1. Breathe deeply and exhale slowly. Stress makes you take shallow, quick breaths.
  2. Express love and appreciation. When you connect with others, you bring yourself back to a para-sympathetic (regenerative) state.
  3. Notice the little things. Stress is deadline-conscious, task-focused, tunnel-visioned. It’s about doing, not being. When you stop to feel the sunshine on your cheek or spot a spider on a blade of grass, you are breaking free of the constricting influence of stress.
  4. Create a sensation. Literally, make room to feel something – a ball of clay in your hand, sand in your toes, shade across your face, cushioning under your seat, or wind caressing your skin. Stress is future focused. Sensations are in the moment.
  5. Stretch. Stress tenses the muscles. Deliberately and systematically loosen up different areas: your calves and hips, your shoulders and jaw, your back and neck.

If you are in the Pocatello area and would like to learn 25 instant, effective stress hacks, you can schedule a class.

No Spunk? Feeling Stuck?

” I eat clean – no junk – but the weight won’t come off.”

“When I try to push my endurance, I inevitably bonk.”

If I delay my meals, I’m terribly ‘hangry!'”

These may be signs that you are a sugar-burner, not a fat-burner. That means the stored fats in your body and the fats you eat are not available for fuel, leaving you to run on metabolic “kindling,” rather than “logs.”

Assess yourself on this simple Sugar Burner Checklist:

  • My energy fluctuates and doesn’t flow evenly throughout the day (classic Wired or Tired Syndrome).
  • I fight cravings and don’t feel satiated, even after eating. It’s as if something’s missing from the meal.
  • I’m either revved up after a meal, or just plain tired.
  • I find it very diificult to fast. The need to snack is overriding.
  • I run out of steam during endurance activities.
  • I am unable to shed excess weight.
  • I feel irritable before mealtime.

Human physiology is biased toward fat-burning. It provides sustained energy, creates fewer free radicals, is more efficient, and takes away cravings.

Benefits of being a fat-burner include freedom from dizziness, brain fog, and mood swings.

 

So how do you change your metabolism? Try adjusting your eating rhythms in this manner: After dinner, don’t consume anything else for the rest of the day, except water and herbal tea.

The next morning, eat only fats and proteins, such as avocado with eggs. See how long you can go on that energy. Don’t eat again until your fuel drops off. Then have a meal and call it lunch. You may have carbs, but try to limit them to vegetables: For example, enjoy a salad with wild-caught salmon and a homemade vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and perhaps mustard.

Refrain from eating again until your next experience of hunger. Then eat your dinner. It should be your smallest meal of the day. You might try something like grass-fed steak, and organic sauteed vegetables in butter. Now, don’t eat again until breakfast.

This regimen is challenging because it demands no snacking, but it re-regulates your blood sugars and enables you to get off the energy roller-coaster. After a couple of weeks, when you are feeling a renewed sense of wellness, you can experiement with bringing more natural carbohydrates moderately into your diet, such as whole fruits, or soaked and sprouted grains and legumes.