Turn Your Insulin into Jillian Michaels (Part 2): Manage Your Blood Sugar

sara gottfried warrior poseA few weeks ago I wrote about how to test your blood sugar. Measuring your blood sugar, especially your fasting blood sugar, gives you valuable insight into your insulin resistance and your overall health. If, like most of us, your blood sugar is a little high (the optimal range is less than 87 mg/dL ), then it’s time to start addressing the root cause. You’ve taken an important first step when it comes to managing your weight, cortisol, and insulin sensitivity…

But it’s time to take the next step.

Now it’s time to actively change your diet, your exercise habits and your supplement strategy. Here’s how:

Cortisol Control

Cortisol regulates your blood sugar, your immune function and your blood pressure. The problem is, most of us don’t regulate our cortisol. Cortisol works by releasing a quick burst of glucose into your system. This is important when you need to wake up in the morning or, say, run away from a tiger, but it’s not very helpful when it comes to an busy job or financial worries. Chronically-high cortisol leads to chronically-high blood sugar. Here are some of my favorite ways to keep cortisol at healthy levels:

  • Take fish oil

  • Cut down on caffeine

  • Chanting and deep breathing (great for an in-the-car relaxation session!)

  • Reduce alcohol to 2-3 servings per week

  • Eat dark chocolate (Doctor’s orders)

  • Add Vitamin B5 or Vitamin C to your daily routine

Excellent Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to lower your blood sugar and increase your insulin sensitivity. What most people don’t know is that certain types of high-impact exercise (like running) actually increase cortisol, and as a result, blood sugar. The following are some of my favorite ways to burn some calories and beat blood sugar.

  • Yoga

  • Pilates

  • Power walking (just add girlfriends for an added boost of oxytocin)

  • Burst or interval training

Fabulous Food

Diet may be the most obvious – and the most effective – way you can positively affect your blood sugar levels. You have to eat to live, but choosing your foods based on your body’s needs can help you live a lot longer. Below are the best ways to adjust your diet in a way that keeps your blood sugar low and steady.

  • Don’t drink your calories: commercial juices and coffee shop drinks are serious sugar bombs.

  • Cut out sugar wherever possible, including artificial sweeteners.

  • Add fiber. Not only will fiber keep you fuller longer, but it will also help flush toxins out of your body.

  • Become a whole foodist. Adding lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet doesn’t just add vitamins and minerals – it keeps your carbohydrate count low and your fiber high.

Low Sugar Habits = High Quality Life

Regularly measuring your blood sugar as well as following the guidelines above will help you keep your glucose levels steady as well as maintain your insulin sensitivity. Eating the SAD (Standard American Diet), exercising every now and then, and suffering chronic stress can lead to hard-to-lose belly fat, low energy and even Type 2 diabetes. Managing your blood sugar and you’ll be rocking your mission into your golden years and beyond.

Dr Sara GottfriedSara Gottfried, M.D.

Sara Gottfried, M.D. teaches women how to balance their hormones naturally so they can rock their mission. She is a Harvard-educated physician, speaker and New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure (Simon & Schuster, 2013). She is board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is regularly featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Redbook, O Magazine, and Yoga Journal, and TV including The Ricki Lake Show and 20/20. Known for effortlessly blending the seriousness of women’s health with playfulness and humor, Dr. Sara’s mission is to help women lose weight, feel great and vital from their cells to their soul.