It’s 3pm. You are at your desk at work. You can hardly keep your eyes open. The day seems like it’s barely dripping by.
Ahh dripping…visuals of coffee are conjured. Coffee… Yes. That will give me energy. Coffee… Ooh and maybe there’s still a donut left in the break room that the sales guy dropped off at 10am. Oh wait… Maybe there’s still a piece (or two) of cake with that pink frosting left over from Marge’s birthday party break at 1! Yes, that’s it by golly. I’ll have coffee, a donut and cake…. Then I’ll be awake… Then I can make it through the rest of my day.
Sound familiar? This is a story I hear over and over again confessed from clients, usually accompanied by much embarrassment. The loss of control, as though a demon takes over, at 3pm EVERY day. EVERY day it seems that people all over get “the afternoon slump,” where they have no energy and turn to sugar and refined carbs, unconsciously to boost their energy through a boost in blood sugar.
So there it is… Balance your blood sugar before 3pm so that you don’t unconsciously crave sugars to boost it when it’s low. That’s it. But how, you might ask…
If there ever was a magic bullet for how to balance your blood sugar it would be this… Eat breakfast that contains healthy protein and fat within an hour of waking. Simple huh? Yeah, I hear you–the frustrated groans, the agitated “hurumphs” and the scowling (yes, even scowling can be noisy). No, really hear me out. And besides, just so you know, if giving you advice that you don’t want to hear frustrates you that bad, you probably have low blood sugar right now and need to take my advice to heart ASAP! Just sayin.
Yes, I get it. I hear it from clients all the time: “I can’t eat breakfast, I’m not hungry in the morning” or “The idea of eating in the morning makes me nauseous,” or “I don’t have time for that.” Well, those answers give me even more insight, so check it.
Not hungry in the AM?
If you aren’t hungry or are even nauseous in the morning when trying to eat, than you definitely have blood sugar problems and are riding the “blood sugar roller coaster.” Your blood sugar is extremely low in the morning and if you don’t eat but continue to raise your energy and metabolism level, your blood sugar will spike extremely high when you finally decide to nourish yourself.
And if you checked out my post about why balancing blood sugar is critical for overcoming alcohol or drug abuse than you know that every time our blood sugar spikes really high after a low, our body has to release insulin which results in a cataclysmic drop in our blood sugar again. Hence the afternoon lows, when you might crave coffee, a nap, a soda, a cigarette, refined carbohydrates, sugar, alcohol or other drugs because your body is trying to raise back up your blood sugar. The problem is that it’s too late, you started it on this roller coaster ride in the morning by not eating breakfast, so every time you increase your blood sugar, your body will compensate by lowering it too much and you will compensate in turn by raising it too much by reaching for what you shouldn’t and the cycle continues.
Quick and Easy Breakfast for the Time Crunched
So, what’s a person to do… I know it sucks, but suck it up and eat something for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be much, but it needs to be something to even out your blood sugar first thing in the morning. Avoid sweets and refined carbohydrates (aka donuts, bagels, sugary cereal, etc.)–the so called “breakfasts of champions.” Instead go for some healthy protein and fat. Even a small handful of nuts or seeds will do it. Start here and soon you will find that you are becoming less nauseated in the morning and soon after that, you will find that you are starting to be hungry in the morning. Imagine that? It will depend on the person and how long you have been on the “roller coaster” before that happens, but it will, so be patient and eat your nuts.
Within just days of doing this, I had a client who told me that she stopped hearing ravenous voices that told her to eat refined carbohydrates and sugar–yes, actual voices. With the quieting of these voices, she was finally able to lose the weight that she has been trying to lose, since she finally could nourish herself instead of giving in to her low blood sugar cravings and those ravenous, demanding voices.
For those of you that think you don’t have time, you are wrong! You don’t have time to not eat breakfast. With the afternoon “sugar comas” and the problems with concentration that accompany really low and really high blood sugar, you are not being productive and not fulfilling all of your possibilities for the day. Plus, really… Are you honestly telling me that you don’t have time to eat a handful of nuts or seeds first thing in the morning? Come on, you know you’re being silly (or maybe you like those little mind-controlling afternoon voices)! Or package up some leftover from dinner to eat for breakfast. You can even hard boil some eggs the night before. For more, quick and easy breakfast ideas.
6/26/20 UPDATE – OH OKAY… ONE MORE NOTE: Okay, so now that I’ve got you all excited about eating breakfast, I also want to say that this is supportive for blood sugar imbalance when tending toward reactive hypoglycemia (aka you get “hangry”). I’m also a fan of Intermittent Fasting (IF) which may include skipping breakfast or dinner depending on how you do it. I don’t recommend IF for people in the throws of reactive hypoglycemia and instead recommend getting blood sugar under control first with eating more protein and fats, reducing the carbohydrate load, and starting with eating more often until blood sugar starts balancing (including eating breakfast) before trying IF. That said, of course, as with everything, do check with your medical provider first!