Getting control of your blood sugar levels is probably one of the most important things you can do for your health. Elevated blood sugar levels are associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, belly fat, and of course, diabetes/prediabetes.
It's not hard to get control of blood sugar levels, but you may need to learn how to do it. Or, in many cases, unlearn some of the misinformation that's come your way over the years.
How to Get Control of Your Blood Sugar Levels
You can do this. Sometimes the idea of trying to control something that seems to be so out of control with so many people can seem daunting or improbable. Not the case,
If there is one metric in your body that you have the potential to control easiest, it's your blood sugar levels.
Let's get to it.
Why Controlling Blood Sugar Is So Important
Whenever you eat anything - whether it's a big bowl of carrots or a big bowl of jelly beans - your blood sugar levels will rise. This is natural and necessary. The difference is that when you eat the carrots, your blood sugar levels rise slower and don't rise quite as high. when you eat the jelly beans, however...watch out! Your blood sugars are going to go up high and fast.
If you're usually in control of your blood sugar levels, eating the jelly beans might make you feel like garbage. You might get thirsty later on. You might get a headache, or feel like you have a "sugar hangover" the next day. You might even feel hungry shortly thereafter.
But if you eat jelly beans very often, or anything that converts to sugar quickly in your blood, you're going to begin making the hormone, insulin, pretty worn down.
When you don't have a problem with high blood sugar levels, you're likely sensitive to insulin. This is a good thing. Sugar in your blood and insulin work together to make blood sugar levels controlled. Insulin signals to cells in your body to absorb the sugar that's in your blood. After your cells gobble up the sugar, things should return back to normal pretty fast.
But if you constantly have high blood sugars, you may eventually deal with something called insulin resistance, which is very problematic. with insulin resistance, instead of your cells gobbling up the sugars in your blood, they say, "No thanks! We don't want any sugar. Go away."
In the end, sugar stays in your blood too long and eventually gets stored as belly fat - even if what you ate is entirely fat free.
The Downside of High Blood Sugars
When your body is unable to control high blood sugars, your pancreas - the organ that releases the insulin available to bring these sugars down - gets tired. Eventually, the insulin your body produces begins to slow and you need supplemental insulin brought in from outside of your body. This is called diabetes.
Whether you're simply dealing with high blood sugars, prediabetes or diabetes, you're much more predisposed to chronic conditions that will affect your body, livelihood and life. Heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess belly fat and obesity are just a few things that commonly happen.
3 Ways to Control High Blood Sugar Levels
Probably the hardest thing for people to understand when it comes to high blood sugar levels is that it's not just sugar that can throw your blood sugar levels off. These tips are one part food and two parts lifestyle. Follow these tips to control your blood sugar levels today!
1 - Eliminate or Reduce Refined Carbohydrates
I'm not just talking about donuts and candy bars, I'm talking about refined carbs that are low in nutrients, like fiber, and elevate your blood sugars like its nobody's business.
Examples of Refined Carbs to Avoid:
- Fruit Juice
- Sweetened/Fruity Yogurts
- Sodas and Energy Drinks
- Energy Bars
- Coffee Drinks
- Yogurt Covered Raisins/Chocolate Covered Almonds
- Tortilla Chips
- Potato Chips
- White Bread
Eat These Carbs Instead:
- Leafy Greens
- Cruciferous Vegetables (Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, etc)
- Brown Rice
- Sprouted Grain Bread (or any whole wheat bread with 3+ grams of fiber)
- Sweet Potatoes
Combine these foods with healthy fats or proteins for a great meal or snack.
Take all the work out of knowing what to eat. Get my 6-Week Apple Shaped Meal Plan today to control your blood sugar levels and lose belly fat while you're at it.
2 - Stress Your Muscles Cells!
Exercise to stress your muscle cells. When you stress your muscles, you open up the muscle cells. When the muscle cells are open, they absorb sugar in your blood. Plenty of research has shown that when you exercise, you have the potential to lower your blood sugar levels by up to 24 hours. Not bad!
Here's a quick bodyweight workout that will stress your muscles out in the best way possible.
25 Jumping Jacks
25 Lunges (each leg)
10 Plyo Jumps*
10 SLOW Mountain Climbers* (each side)
25 Push Ups (on knees if necessary)
25 Floor Tricep Dips* (from floor)
25 Plank Jacks*
Repeat each circuit a total of three (3) times.
*Exercise definitions below.
This jump is similar to a jump squat, but much more explosive.
1) Start with your feet hip-width apart.
2) Squat deeply.
3) Come out of the squat, jump high, lead with your arms.
4) As you come down, land soft, bending knees to absorb the jump.
Slow Mountain Climbers
Exactly like a traditional mountain climber, but taking a five second hold with your knee as close as possible to your elbow.
1) Start down on the ground in a straight-arm plank position, resting on your hands and toes with your back straight.
2) Bring your right knee up and in toward your right elbow.
3) Return your right foot back to the starting position.
4) Repeat on the opposite side by bringing your left knee to your left elbow.
Floor Tricep Dips
Ready for toned arms?
1) Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent.
2) Place your hands flat on the floor beside your hips, fingertips toward your feet.
3) Lift your hips off the ground, putting pressure on your heels.
4) Without letting your hips touch the ground, bend your elbows, then straighten them back out.
5) Continue repeating step four.
1) Start in a straight-arm plank position with your feet close together.
2) Like a horizontal jumping jack, jump your feet out into a wide V position without moving your upper body.
3) Quickly jump your feet back together to the starting position.
3 - Cut Back on Caffeine to Control Blood Sugar Levels
Caffeine naturally elevates your body's cortisol levels. If you're especially sensitive to stress or experiencing a lot of stress in your life at the moment, this is important. Cortisol, when elevated, forces the release of sugar that's been held in your liver. After the sugar has been released into your blood, your blood sugar levels naturally rise.
So even in the absence of drinking anything with calories in it, such as a cup of black coffee, your blood sugar levels will elevate.
Since most people are very attached to caffeine, I usually recommend eliminating caffeine after 9am so your cortisol levels have a chance to come down naturally through the remainder of the day.