Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Are You One of the Millions of Americans Who Think It’s “normal” to Get Irritable, Shaky, and Weak If You Miss a Meal?

By Jamie Koonce @charcuterielove

Are you one of the millions of Americans who think it’s “normal” to get irritable, shaky, and weak if you miss a meal?Do you experience unpleasant symptoms if you are unable to eat a meal or snack every 2 – 4 hours?  If you are like millions of other Americans who suffer from dysglycemia, pre-diabetes, or even undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, you probably experience some of these symptoms if you miss a meal or snack:

  • Extreme hunger
  • Cravings for sweets
  • Nausea
  • Trembling
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Numbness or tingling of the fingertips or lips

These are all symptoms that occur when your blood sugar has dropped below 70 mg/dL.  If your blood sugar drops even lower — to about 55 mg/dL, you might experience some of these symptoms:

  • Headaches, Blurry Vision, Dizziness
  • Irritability, Anxiety, Restlessness, Anger
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Weakness, Fatigue, Drowsiness

If you reach for a quick source of sugar (candy, fruit, juice, sports drinks, etc.), your blood sugar will then spike up over 100 mg/dL, and your hypoglycemia symptoms will be temporarily relieved.  But just another 4 hours later, you’ll need quick fuel again to keep your body going.  It’s an endless cycle that many are trapped in, believing this is a completely “normal” way for a human to live!

This constant cycle of going “up” and “down” on the roller coaster of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia may be common, but it’s NOT normal — and it’s certainly not healthy.  But the good news is that you can get off that roller coaster and start experiencing the freedom and the vast health & anti-aging benefits of blood sugar stabilization — just by repairing your metabolism.

Ideally, your blood sugar should stay within the range of 70 mg/dL – 99 mg/dL for optimum energy, vitality, disease prevention, and longevity.  Frequently going below or above this range will not only decrease your quality of life, it will also shorten your lifespan and cause you to age at a faster rate.  And if you are struggling with excess body fat, going outside this optimal range will also make it virtually impossible to reach your ideal body composition.

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above when you miss your scheduled meal or snack, the first step in healing these symptoms is to actually test your blood glucose and find out what is really going on.  It’s likely that your blood glucose is elevating too high after your meals, causing a condition known as reactive hypoglycemia (blood sugar that gets too low in response to the excessively high blood sugar).  It’s such a common condition that most people who have it think that it’s normal.

If you’re healthy, you should be able to go 16 – 24 hours without food with absolutely no problem!  Being able to do so not only makes it not easier to enjoy your life, do your job without needing a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack break, travel without needing to rely on airport food, attend parties without having to scarf up unhealthy items, and complete an entire workout without needing a sports drink or candy bar in your gym bag, but it can also prevent chronic disease and extend your lifespan.

As an example to help explain what a healthy glycemic response to a meal, moderate physical activity, sleep, and a 20 hour fast might be, I have included my blood glucose readings for yesterday and today.  I felt happy, energized, and comfortable during the 20 hours in which no food was consumed.  My blood glucose stayed well above 70 mg/dL because my body was able to efficiently draw on glycogen for energy.

Date: 11/2/11

Lunch at 2 PM: beef carpaccio, pastured egg, grass-fed butter, Celtic sea salt, and BOSS (Big Ole’ Spicy Salad)

Postprandial blood glucose at 4:00 PM: 84 mg/dL

Post-yoga blood glucose at 9:00 PM: 94 mg/dL (blood glucose spike caused by glycogen + human growth hormone release in response to moderate – vigorous physical activity)

Date: 11/3/11

Morning fasting blood glucose at 8:00 AM: 87 mg/dL (blood glucose spike caused by cortisol + human growth hormone release in response to sleep and early morning circadian rhythm in response to sunlight)

Mid-morning fasting blood glucose at 10:00 AM: 82 mg/dL

Breakfast at 10 AM: wheatgrass juice, grass-fed beef liverwurst, grass-fed butter, Celtic sea salt, and BOSS

Postprandial blood glucose at 12 Noon: 84 mg/dL

If you are currently on the blood sugar roller coaster, the good news is that it only takes a couple of weeks (for most people) to normalize blood sugars and get off that roller coaster for good.  No more mood swings, excessive hunger, jitteryness, or weakness!  The key to achieving ultimate freedom from the snack cycle and sugar cravings is to train your body to efficiently utilize glycogen stores and fatty acids for fuel instead of having to rely on sugars for energy.

This is something that health coaching can help you achieve.  It’s not just for people who are seriously ill.  It’s for people just like you.

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