Why You Can’t Stick To Your New Year’s Resolutions
Dec 31, 2015 11:12AM
by Dr. Isabel SharkarWhat is it that causes many people to disregard the New Year’s resolutions they just put into action? Hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose (sugar) levels, is one of the least-recognized disorders of modern times and one of the most common. Blood sugar does not have to fall below the clinical defining line for the effects of hypoglycemia to be felt—like mood swings, lack of thirst and the tendency to overindulge in substances that ultimately make the body more toxic. The vast majority of sufferers will fall between the baseline and the normal level. Glucose is the body’s preferred source of fuel.
According to Gudrun Jonsson, author of Gut Reaction, addictions like drinking, smoking and sweets also come from low blood sugar levels. When blood glucose levels drop, you may begin to crave sugar, cakes, chocolate, toast, coffee and nicotine. These stimulants cause the levels of blood glucose to shoot up. As a result, the pancreas works hard to produce insulin to decrease this rapid spike in blood sugar.
Blood glucose levels begin to significantly drop between 3 and 4 p.m. This dip in blood sugar may cause tiredness, hunger, muscular palpitations, depression, shaky hands, anxiety, bad temper, dizziness and headaches. Over time, swings between blood sugar spikes and crashes may put you in serious danger of developing high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes.
Avoid sugar spikes and crashes by eating regularly and not skipping meals. Breakfast should include a hearty source of protein, good quality unprocessed fat and a source of carbohydrate, like fruit or half a sweet potato. By choosing foods lower on the glycemic index, your meals will provide controlled blood sugar and insulin release throughout the day. Try adding cinnamon as it helps make insulin more effective while stimulating production of enzymes that use up glucose.
Eating quality carbohydrate foods in balance with protein and fat promotes blood sugar balance. This way, glucose from your meals enters your blood slowly and your pancreas responds by secreting a measured amount of insulin, which shuttles the right amount of glucose in your cells using it for energy. Fats, like raw, unpasteurized butter and coconut oil, slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, prevent sugar spikes and crashes and help you feel full longer, while promoting hormone balance, weight management and blood sugar balance.
Protein helps pull sugar into the body’s cells so it can use it for energy. Carbohydrates provide the fuel-glucose. Instead of grains, choose healthy carbs from fresh whole fruits and root vegetables like sweet potatoes, celeriac, carrots and beets. The right amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat avoids excess insulin in the bloodstream that would otherwise contribute to inflammation. Having balanced blood sugar helps balance hormones, reduces sugar and carb cravings and allows stubborn weight to melt away.
The body temperature in a hypoglycemic person is one to two degrees lower than it is in someone with balanced blood sugar, indicating the immune system is not functioning properly. Hence, this is why you may feel cold all the time. As treacherous as this sounds, starting your day off with a cold shower will help balance your blood sugar levels and improves circulation.
Less than six hours of sleep interferes with your blood sugar levels and increases insulin resistance, so get good quality sleep. However, fluctuating blood sugar levels can cause inability to sleep. Take the time to include relaxation exercises into your daily routine like deep breathing or a 10-minute meditation. Stress and worry both cause glucose to be released into the bloodstream, causing the body to become more acidic.
Follow these tips to help you achieve this year’s resolutions and consult with your holistic practitioner for an individualized treatment plan.
If you answer yes to a majority of these questions, you could be suffering from hypoglycemia.
- Have an irresistible desire to nibble in between meals and find it difficult to stop once you start
- Are ravenous by dinnertime and tend to overeat
- Don’t feel energized in the morning
- Eat quickly
- Are constipated
- Have a tendency to skip meals and then find yourself feeling weak and dizzy with hunger
- Feel emotionally low and are hypercritical of yourself
- Tend to procrastinate till the last minute
- Worry about how you measure up and what others are thinking of you
Dr. Isabel Sharkar, ND, is a licensed naturopathic physician and co-owner of Indigo Integrative Health Clinic, in Georgetown. For more information, call 202-298-9131.