There are times when I find it really easy to skip meals, particularly breakfast.
If I’m in the flow with my writing or having a lazy morning in bed at the weekend, it’s all too easy for me to ignore my belly’s need for food.
Hours will go by and I’ll suddenly realise that I’m ravenous, and before I know it, I’m shovelling a pile of hot cross buns smothered in butter and jam down my gob instead of the sweet potato fries and poached eggs I had lined up.
And that, ladies, royally screws me for most of the day, because skipping a meal and then loading up on refined carbs means that my blood sugar levels can be as up and down as a whore’s drawers.
It’s a dangerous game to play.
PMS, low libido, painful periods, fertility issues and miscarriages can all be related to a blood sugar imbalance.
Not to mention mood swings, irritability (ever been accused of being hangry?), anxiety, depression, brain fog, poor concentration, insomnia, storing fat around the middle, craving foods (such as sweet stuff and carbs), drowsiness during the day, difficulty losing weight, feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint, and feeling weak or nauseous.
That’s quite a list, right?
But those refined carbs are so delicious.
But when you enjoy those refined carbs (bread, pasta, biscuits etc), your body converts them into glucose and your blood sugar level skyrockets. Some of the glucose is used in cell replication, but when there’s an excess of it, it gets converted into glycogen and stored in your liver, ready to be used the next time you go to yoga … or when your blood sugar level plummets.
When you skip or skimp on a meal, the glycogen which has been stored in your liver gets hauled out and converted back into glucose, bringing your blood sugar back up to an adequate level.
This clever process ensures that your brain, heart and tissues all have the energy they need to do their respective jobs.
Now, I know it sounds like a smart system, and it is, but the problem is that if you’re skipping meals all the time, your liver is kept busy with converting glycogen, and has less energy to eliminate oestrogen and toxins from your system.
Why is eliminating oestrogen important?
Because in order to ovulate and conceive, your body needs a very specific ratio of progesterone to oestrogen. Poor blood sugar levels, along with adrenal fatigue (that’s you, Mrs. Running On Adrenalin) and sluggish digestion, can lead to an insufficient relative concentration of progesterone. When the ratio is thrown out of whack, ovulation can become irregular and PMS can worsen. Not to mention that lower levels of progesterone increase your risk of miscarriage.
Are you getting how important this is?
I sure as hell hope so, because unstable blood sugar is the most important underlying cause of hormonal issues.
What you can do:
When you wake up, your blood sugar is already low, so eat your breakfast within 45 minutes of waking.
Ladies, this is more important than your make up.
You’re going to struggle to make it through the day if you don’t prioritise eating breakfast. It’s a particularly important meal for you PCOS ladies as research shows that getting your calories in the morning lowers insulin resistance by 56% and reduces testosterone levels by 50%.
Eat regularly and often.
You don’t want to go longer than 2.5 – 3 hours between meals. You’re probably doing a quick calculation in your head and thinking, “so, breakfast at 7.30am, lunch at 10.30am and dinner at 1.30pm … how the hell does that work?” Try something like this:
- 7.30am – breakfast
- 10.30am – snack
- 1pm – lunch
- 3.30pm – snack
- 7 / 7.30pm – dinner (I’d say 6.30pm but I’m betting that’s not feasible for a lot of you)
Worried about gaining weight?
I know it might seem like a lot, particularly if you’re concerned about gaining weight, but if you allow your blood sugar level to dip, you’re more likely to make bad food choices. I call this the Snickers Slump because, guess what, that’s what I grab when I’m struggling (terrible because not only is it a bad choice because it sends my blood sugar sky-high, it also means evil Nestle are profiting from my desperation).
Snacks that won’t see you piling on the pounds / soaring on a sugar high / collapsing from carbs:
Sliced apple dipped in nut butter (top tip, store your nut butter upside down so the oil doesn’t float on top).
2 shot glasses of
tequilaalmonds (protein and calcium double whammy).
An avocado to stop you getting cranky. Honestly, that spice mix is a saviour.
A quinoa muffin or a frittata (keep an eye on my Facebook and Instagram for the recipe). Make these on a Sunday and they’ll last you the week. Quick to make, a great source of protein and the recipe is easily adjustable depending on what you have in the fridge.
When you finish eating a meal or snack, set a timer on your phone to go off in two hours time, that way when the alarm goes off, you know you’ve got half an hour to sort out your next meal. This is something I’ve started doing and have been recommending to my clients. If you’re a little slow on picking up on your body’s hunger cues, it’s super helpful to have an alarm remind you.
Plan your meals.
Plan what time you’re going to eat in advance, decide what you’re going to have and make sure you have the ingredients you need if you’re cooking. Have some healthy emergency snacks to hand, and plan what you can do if it all goes to pot. Visualise the whole process so that you’re not leaving room for a Snickers Slump.
Need some inspiration in the kitchen?
You can see what I’m eating over on Facebook and Instagram. Make sure you tag me in any of your creations, I’d love to see what you’re getting up to as well.
Want some help sorting out your hormones?
Hormonal issues can get in the way of every aspect of your life. If they’re getting you down and you want to make a change, get in touch and let me know what’s going on.