Feeling that holiday hangover? We know – it was never meant to happen! It started with a little booze, a nibble on a pastry, then a couple of bon-bons. Next a handful of chips, a bit too much dessert and a hangover (or two) hoping to be healed with salty fast food and soda. Or you just got carried away with the chocolate… and so on. If you stayed on track this season and managed to course-correct often, always learning as you went, we are so proud of you! However, we know that it is far too easy to find yourself far off course and unsure how to get back.
When you are in the depths of a sugar bender you are likely feeling ‘blah’. Meaning: you are bloated, lazy, fatigued and moody all the time, with little motivation to make any changes. You may even find yourself saying “That’s it! It’s time to stop! I can’t keep on like this!” while at the same time, your arm is reaching out for a cookie. This is due to a lack of available nutrients in your body and too much sugar circulating in your bloodstream.
Your Blood Sugar Hunger is on a roller coaster and your Nutritional Hunger has you searching for food, even though you have been snacking all day. It can be so frustrating – you may feel overwhelmed and disappointed that it has gotten to this point. Fortunately, we have created a five step process to find your way back to having more energy, clarity and conviction about your food decisions. Let’s get started!
Sugar is acidic, so it creates inflammation and dehydration in your body. The body initially registers thirst as hunger, so you will be inclined to eat even if you don’t need energy. The body buffers the excess sugar in your bloodstream by holding onto water in your tissues, making you look and feel bloated. Surprisingly by drinking more water you can flush your system, reducing appetite and immediately increasing energy.
ACTION STEP: Drink 12-16 oz. of water immediately, sipping until the glass is empty.
Calm down and create perspective. Refined carbohydrates create a boom-and-bust cycle with our mood. When we eat a lot of sugar our insulin, serotonin and dopamine levels spike, then very quickly crash, leaving us feeling down again. This plummet in our mood will create an urge to emotionally eat. By grounding ourselves with a few minutes of deep breathing instead, we create an alternative way to raise our happy hormones. We can also reflect on our actions and the choices we really want to be making.
ACTION STEP: Complete a few rounds of 5-5-5 breaths or your preferred deep breathing exercise.
There were reasons you wanted to take a break from sugar. We usually know that refined carbohydrates make us feel crappy. They make us sleep poorly, have intense cravings, experience low mood, feel low energy, look older and ache all over. We know, but in the midst of a bender we conveniently forget. By recognizing the consequences of eating sugar excessively we are able to take responsibility for our choice to do so. We can reflect on how we really want to show up in life and what we want to accomplish, then ask ourselves if this level of sugar consumption is going to get us there.
ACTION STEP: Visualize your BIG WHY, Reflect on your Food Dialogue and decide on the path forward.
The vagus nerve is the main nerve highway that connects the brain to the rest of the body. It oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion and heart rate. It allows the organs to communicate with the brain. When activated it can put in motion the reversal of obesity, gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, mood disorders and other chronic health problems. Eating bitter greens activates this nerve. When you eat bitter greens you simultaneously ‘wake up’ your organs so they can start their cleaning processes and stimulate hormones that reduce hunger. Eating these greens also signals blood to move back into the body from the extremities- a stress reaction that excessive sugar can create- to calm anxiety.
ACTION STEP: Drink an Alkagizer Prime or simply nibble on a handful of salad greens.
When your body has been riding the blood sugar rollercoaster, the best way to get back on the ground is to eat a meal free of refined sugar, that is largely protein and healthy fat. You will provide your body with slow burning energy that keeps you feeling full longer, so your cravings will be less likely to get the better of you. These foods will also help to top up your body with nutrients, which will further decrease appetite and keep you from mindlessly reaching for something to eat.
ACTION STEP: Immediately make yourself a protein-based meal with some healthy fat added. Grilled fish and vegetables, a savoury stew, or roast chicken and sauteed greens are great options. Be sure to start tomorrow in the same way!
Now that you are feeling better about your decisions, your energy and mood have improved. You are feeling more confident about who you are (a healthy person!) and what you want (an energized life!). You can now make a resolution to stay on course. Decide that you are moving forward on this path, one food decision at a time. If you find yourself wandering away, come back to this process to bring yourself back!
ACTION STEP: Celebrate who you are, what you want, and how far you have come!
Sugar and processed foods are distracting, no doubt! The good news is that you can always correct your course and regain perspective on what is important to you. Remember that the more unsupportive foods you allow into your life, the easier it is for the body to fall out of balance and for emotional eating to get the better of you. Take action now to find the goals and ambitions you lost when the continual distractions of holiday sugar came into your life.
Are you still feeling a little unsure of how to move through these steps alone? Are you curious about some of the language used in this article? Do you feel like this review was really helpful, but you still need a pull? Today is the last day to join our big New Year Challenge with Eric and Master Coach Ariel! Contact us now to be a part of the fun.