The Importance of Balance Blood Sugar Levels

  • Afternoon energy slumps
  • 3 pm sugar cravings
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Being “hangry”
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Shakes, sweats or dizzy spells (especially after a hard exercise session or a long period without food)

All of these can be symptoms of low blood sugar levels and a majority of these lead us to reach for something sweet or carbohydrate-based to give us more energy or to make us feel more alert.

Blood glucose levels change throughout the day. After eating, these glucose levels rise and then settle down after about an hour. They are at their lowest point before the first meal of the day. Keeping these levels as stable as possible is important for both health and weight loss.

Keep your blood sugar levels stable by including a protein (e.g. chicken, fish, eggs, natural yoghurt, cottage cheese etc) and/or fat (e.g. avocado, oil, nuts or seeds, cheese etc) at every meal.

If you have any questions about this, do not hesitate to message us using the messenger on your profile.

Set yourself up to succeed and make sure you are prepared for the week ahead!

Variety is the spice of life. We want to help you get more creative with food. Having the same thing every day may be easy, to begin with, but long-term, it can lead to binge eating, being put-off certain foods, and deficiencies in key vitamins and/or minerals – all of which will prevent you reaching your goals, and we definitely don’t want that! Use all of your options on your plan and get creative. We have ideas on our Facebook page and blogs with recipes – just adjust the amounts to suit your plan.

At check-ins, please do let us know the foods you can’t eat any more and any you feel you want to add in. We will do our best to accommodate. Remember you are doing this to get a result, so you may have to sacrifice some of these foods short-term but long-term (in the maintenance phase) we will reintroduce them.

Lastly, let us know this information at check-ins, NOT between. We need time to see each change and how it affects your individual body to your goals and progress.

EATING HEALTHY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE

Here are some great suggestions to help you eat as healthy as possible on a budget ($$)

  1. Choose seasonal and local produce – not only will you support local farmers, but you will also save money! Of course plums will cost the earth in Winter – think about where are they coming from!
  2. Grow your own – a bag of spinach at $4 verse a punnet of spinach for $1.50.
  3. Plan – this will help you reduce wasted food. For example – no more rotten veg in the back of the fridge that you’ve forgotten about. Everything has a purpose.
  4. Cook once, eat twice – make more than you need, so that you can freeze some for another meal or take the leftovers for lunch the next day. This will also minimise waste and save time.
  5. Shop around the outside of the supermarket – supermarkets are designed to get you to spend as much money as possible (think about everything that you need to walk past to grab some milk). The outside of the supermarket has the essentials – veggies, fruit, dairy, nuts and meat.
  6. Go for the frozen veggies – cheaper, just as nutritious and super convenient!
  7. Buy in bulk and freeze!

DIETARY FATS AND LOW FAT PRODUCTS

Should we eat DIETARY FATS? Will they make us fat? Are ‘lite’ products better?

It is simple! We should eat naturally occurring fats, as these are good for us and essential to get from food because our bodies cannot produce them. We should avoid processed fats or fats that provide no nutritional health benefit whatsoever.

What do we mean?

Monounsaturated – These include olive oil, avocado oil and nuts. These fats are great for cholesterol, skin, nails etc.

Polyunsaturated – These include both omegas 3 & 6. Omega 6 (processed oils – rice bran, soybean, canola, sunflower etc) are oils that come from grains and require heat and chemical solvents for extraction. This processing causes damage to their structure which promotes inflammation in the body. They are used in most packaged or commercial baking products because they are so cheap. Omega 3 (oily fish and walnuts) are fats that reduce inflammation in the body and help protect against some diseases. A balance of these fats is important for health.

Saturated – This includes butter, lard and coconut based products. These types of fats carry different health benefits when eaten in moderation.

Trans fat – Found in takeaways and margarine. Trans fats are artificial fats created by food manufacturers as a cheap way to replace butter. The processing (hydrogenation) results a molecular change and causes the fats to bind more tightly together.

It is also important to use fats correctly. Saturated fats are great for cooking at high temperatures. Sunflower oil might be ok cold as a dressing on a salad, but once it is heated it becomes incredibly damaged.

USE

  • Avocado oil
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Coconut oil

AVOID

  • Canola oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Margarine (of any kind!)
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Rice bran
  • Corn or soy based oils

TIPS FOR EATING OUT

Eating out can be tough. We find there are three main paths that people go down when faced with going out for dinner:

  1. They think ‘Screw it! I am going to eat whatever I want and as much as I can’
  2. They’ll skip meals, do more exercise and feel guilty for eating something that wasn’t on their nutrition plan.
  3. Those who make a good choice and then get back on track the next day.

Which one are you?

Here are out tips for eating out:

  1. Ensure you are well-hydrated and have had enough food leading up to your meal. You will never make a good decision if you are starving and experiencing cravings!
  2. Make a choice rather than overindulging in everything. Have an entrée and a main, or a main and a dessert. Even with the 80:20 rule (i.e. 80% being a ‘sensible’ choice) it means that you’re less likely to go excessive if filling yourself up on 80% of cleaner and sensible choices
  3. Don’t feel guilty or feel like you need to cut things or increase your exercise the next day to make up for it. Simply enjoy the evening and then get back on track the very next meal

ALCOHOL

Maybe you are wondering why you shouldn’t drink alcohol on the JCN programme?

Alcohol provides empty calories – meaning that it is something that gives us NO nutritional value. A glass of beer or wine gives you around 200 calories which is going to take you between 20-30 minutes of running to burn off. It is the same as eating 2-3 slices of bread. Not only does it provide your body with calories that you don’t need, but it also has other effects on your body:

  • It damages the intestines, making you more susceptible to food intolerances, inflammation and digestive troubles
  • It loads the liver; meaning that the body’s glucose production is inhibited while alcohol is being metabolised (i.e. no longer in fat loss).
  • It stimulates plaque formation which contributes to heart disease
  • It can result in your muscles becoming insulin resistant which is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes
  • The link between breast cancer and alcohol is undeniable

Alcohol is something that should only be used for special occasions and ONLY when your goal is to maintain your weight.

Large alcohol intake (binge drinking) will spike cortisol (the stress hormone). This will signal fat storage and PREVENT lipolysis (fat loss) as well as reduce protein synthesis (muscle building and retention). These effects can last up to two weeks AFTER a big night out, so you are likely to store fat and lose muscle (even if sticking to your JCN plan and exercise regime perfectly) two weeks post-drinking.

COFFEE

COFFEE! Who loves it as much as we do?

Caffeine is one of the most widely-consumed drugs in the world. It is addictive, and for many people, when consumed in excess, has negative effects on the body.

  • It is a stimulant which can make you feel awake and alert, but it can also make you feel tired.
  • It promotes the production of adrenaline which can effect sleep, mood, anxiety and physiological stress responses.
  • For some people, coffee has a laxative effect and can cause bloating and digestive upset

Most people would benefit from reducing the amount of caffeine that they consume. If you are someone who feels like caffeine is something that you definitely couldn’t give up, then more likely than not, you are one of those people who would benefit. We challenge you to go one month with no caffeine – this includes coffee, black tea, coke, energy drinks and chocolate.

Take note of how you feel – any changes in energy, sleep, mood or premenstrual symptoms. We all have a different tolerance to caffeine so it is important to listen to your body and find your limits.

HYDRATION

Let’s look at hydration – why it is important and how much you should be drinking.

Water is the basis of all life. Around 60% of your body is made of water and it is therefore essential that we are hydrated so that we feel great and function optimally.

Why?

  • Water transports nutrients around the body
  • Promotes optimal digestion
  • Aids joints
  • Allows detoxication (key when you are trying to get your body to burn body fat!)
  • Regulates temperature

How much?

Science tells us that the amount of water that you need to drink is determined based on your weight. Multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.03L to calculate how much you should be drinking.

e.g. 80kgs x 0.03L = 2.4L water minimum daily.

You should also replace what you lose during exercise and should add an additional two cups onto this for every caffeinated beverage that you consume.

Caffeine-free herbal teas & sparkling water can count towards your daily intake.

One of the best ways to increase your fluid is to start the day right. Upon waking, consume a glass on water with lemon. This will also aid your detoxification pathways.

What happens if I don’t drink all of my water?

Without adequate water, you will be unable to filter toxins released during fat loss or provide the adequate amount of water to prime protein-synthesis (muscle building). Simply put – if you’re not drinking enough water you could sabotaging your fat loss or muscle building goals.