It is a feeling just about everyone has experienced, especially around or after the holidays. One minute, your body is amped up and full of energy. The next minute, you feel like you haven’t slept in days. Say hello to the “sugar crash.” Sugar can be an important part of a good diet (as long as it is “good” sugars, like the fructose found in fruits), but too much sugar in general sends your body into hyperdrive.1, 2
So, what can you do to reset when you’ve had too much sugar?
Step Back and Analyze
Do you find yourself constantly trying to recover from a sugar crash? Take a step back, and analyze what you’re putting into your body that may be causing this. Document what you’re eating and drinking. Do you know how much sugar is in each of these items?
If you’re not sure what the sugar contents mean, or how they may impact your blood sugar level, consult a nutritionist or your physician. They can help you better understand sugar’s impact on your body. And the sooner you understand how sugar affects your body, the sooner you can start your reset.
Once you’ve taken stock of your current diet, and you understand where a lot of the sugar is coming from, what’s next? Now you can begin cutting out the bad sugars and replacing them with healthier options.
Consider making a meal plan for your daily meals. Meal plans are great, because they help you create a grocery list. That way, when you get to the supermarket, you have a clear idea of what you need to prepare your healthy meals. Meal plans also help you stay the course, since they provide a clear alternative to sugary snacks or meals. If you’re not sure how to create a meal plan, this guide is a great way to get started.
Also: Don’t skip meals. You might be tempted to do this as a quick way to drop a few pounds – but it might make matters worse. Research suggests that skipping meals for a prolonged period of time may actually contribute to increased Body Mass Index, or BMI.3
Fiber and Protein
When developing your meal plan, make sure you add items that are high in fiber and protein. Consuming foods that are high in fiber, such as broccoli, leave you feeling full. Many foods rich in fiber are also low in calories – another bonus.4 And when you feel full, the temptation to overeat or snack on sweets should vanish!
Eating protein is also essential if you want to avoid slipping back into your old sugar-heavy habits. Studies have shown that a lack of dietary protein increases hunger and the desire to eat.5 Not only does protein leave you feeling full, but it gives you the energy you need to get through the day!6
Move Your Body
When your diet begins to change for the better, your body will still be in recovery mode. During these times when your body is in recovery mode, it is important to get your body moving. Studies show that simply walking for 15 minutes after a meal can significantly improve blood sugar levels.7 Talking a walk after a meal also gets you out of the house – and away from the temptation of dessert or unnecessary second helpings.
It should come as no surprise that water is absolutely essential to life. As you work to reset after eating too much sugar, water plays an important role in your recovery. If your previous eating habits included sugary drinks like soda, try replacing them with water. You’ll be better hydrated, and you’ll cut out all those processed sugars, too.8
If water is “too boring” for you, there are ways to add flavor to your water without adding unnecessary sugars. Adding lemon or cucumber to your water can add a bit of flavor. Lemons are also high in vitamin C, and cucumbers are a good source of potassium.9, 10
You Can Do It!
If you find yourself thinking that your sugar intake is too high, and you are ready to make a change, the good news is that you can do it! By finding the right combination of food intake, exercise, and hydration, you can begin to wean yourself away from the temptation of sugars. Good luck!
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