We are more self-aware than at any time in history.

With our attention diverted from the necessities of life (readers of this blog won’t wonder where they’ll sleep tonight, or how they’ll get food today) we turn inward.

We spend more time thinking about our feelings than any other culture on earth. The constant questions:  “Am I happy now? Could I be happier?” have us constantly scratching the scabs on our relationships and ego. And it’s a big problem, because your feelings are a lie.

“You’re not you when you’re hungry.” “I’m Hangry” – you already know how low blood sugar feels: you’re cranky; you have a tough time faking enthusiasm; you’re a bit lightheaded. Trivial, everyday problems are magnified.

Your hypothalamus regulates the balance of your body’s internal environment–like temperature, water and salt concentration, and blood sugar. But it also regulates mood: when you get too hot, you get cranky. When you get dehydrated, you get cranky. And when blood sugar plummets, so does your mood.

Here’s how to stop it from happening:

  1. Eat your carbs with protein–or, worst case, with fats.
    When you eat carbs alone, even if it’s fruit, they break down quickly and enter the bloodstream quickly. Your body pumps out insulin to bulldoze the sugar out of your bloodstream…but when your blood sugar is rising quickly, you’ll take emergency measures, secreting too much insulin and leaving your blood sugar levels lower than before you ate. This usually takes an hour or two. Then you’re hungry again.
  2. Don’t eat carbs at night.
    When you trigger the above reaction at night, you wake up feeling hungover. Nothing like spending 8 hours in a state of low blood sugar to start your day off right, right? If you’ve ever met someone who’s “not a morning person” despite getting enough sleep, they probably just need something to eat. 
  3. Give your muscles a reason to use the sugar in your blood, instead of storing it as fat.
    Um, exercise.
  4. Stick to vegetables (they’re carbs) over sugar (also carbs).
    I don’t like saying “good carbs” and “bad carbs”, because they all break down to the same thing eventually, but if that helps you make better choices, go for it.
  5. Don’t fall for sugar’s sticky stories.
    Santa doesn’t want an ice-cold Coca-Cola, and neither do the polar bears.

 

Yes, exercise and diet can get people off Metformin. Controlling your blood sugar with workouts and a Zone diet has helped hundreds reverse their Type II Diabetes diagnosis. But diabetes is simply the chronic manifestation of the blood-sugar roller coaster we all ride. If you had a Snickers bar for lunch, you’re going to get a tiny taste of what diabetes feels like by 3 o’clock, friend.

Here’s the REAL kicker: your mood can affect your blood sugar, too.

If you’re stressed, you’ll feel hungry. Your hypothalamus will become hyperaware, and as it ramps up production of “action” chemicals in your brain, it will also mobilize the supply chain by increasing your blood sugar amounts. Then you’ll bonk: you’ll quickly increase insulin levels, too, causing a blood sugar spike and then precipitous drop. Ever start a hard workout when you’re stressed? You’ll be more shaky than ever by the end.

Yes, your feelings are important. But they’re filtered by your mood, which is almost entirely controlled by what you last ate. If you want to make long-term changes to your state of well-being and get HAPPY, you need to start with controlling your blood sugar. Eat clean, exercise hard, and get happier.