I want to tell you about a young woman I saw recently who wasn’t feeling quite right, not ill, just not quite right. During our first session together it became clear that her body was having trouble dealing with sugar.
The first thing that came up was that she was constantly hungry, it was rare that she felt full, but when she did she would become so tired that she had to lie down and sleep. She told me that she’d been really sleepy the night before, which rang alarm bells for me, so I asked what she had eaten for her evening meal. “A big bowl of pasta,” she said. Another clue for me. Tiredness after a carb-heavy meal is common but not to this level, I believe this is a sign of blood sugar issues.
She also told me about how grumpy she gets if she goes without eating. Another clue.
So I asked about sugar, “Yes” she said, “I have such a sweet tooth”.
We went on to talk about her menstrual cycle and then about how she could manage this situation to improve her energy and reduce her cravings.
She was surprised when I did not suggest that she give up sugar, or stop snacking.
Balancing blood sugar and your plate
What is important is to start balancing the blood sugar?
One of the things I suggest to clients with sugar cravings, or with no “off” button as this client put it, is to balance their plate.
What do I mean?
Split the plate into 3 parts
- One part protein
- One part carbohydrate
- One part vegetables or berries
And follow this rule for every meal.
Doing this keeps you fuller for longer and gradually balances your blood sugar and reduces your desire for sweet treats.
The problem with eating lots of sugar is that it demands a large amount of insulin and this can begin a journey to insulin resistance which is what is happening in the case of this young woman. Insulin resistance happens when the cells of the liver and the muscles are resisting the insulin produced by the pancreas. This means that the sugar in the bloodstream is not being brought into the cells for energy. Hence the tiredness and the desire for more sugar.
Breaking the cycle
Once we start to break this cycle we start to reduce the load on the pancreas and the liver and the muscles start to respond better meaning that less sugar is left in the blood.
Diabetes happens when the sugar level in the blood remains high over a long period but these issues described above are our warning signs to take notice of and do something about it before we develop diabetes.
I see plenty of people with blood sugar levels that are within the normal range for medical purposes but to me, with the symptoms described above, they are indicating that this person is heading down the diabetes route.
That’s what I do, I help people to take a diversion so they end up taking the route to better health.
So Jenny started the balanced plate after talking to me last month. In our session on Monday she said that she is feeling much less “jittery” now and not feeling so tired in the afternoons. She said that the only time she had felt” jittery” was when she missed lunch. “It put me in a really bad mood and made me realise how important it was to eat protein and regular meals.”