With Christmas and New Years’ festivities just around the corner, many of us are starting to feel the strain of balancing work, family and celebratory responsibilities. Unfortunately, our health rituals are often the first thing to go – here are 3 simple ways to keep your body regulated when time is of the essence.
One of the key elements of a regulated body is homeostasis – this refers to achieving a kind of equilibrium within the body. This entails everything from body temperature management to the stabilisation of blood sugar levels and blood pressure levels. Physiologist Walter Cannon was the first to coin the term back in 1926, and with stress and disease on the rise around the globe, it’s more important than ever to find and maintain your inner equilibrium. Here are our 3 tips to make it happen, even during the hustle and bustle of the festive season.
Exercise is one of the best ways to get your blood flowing, helping to regulate those lymphatic drainage cycles, your hormones and get some of the sunshine vitamin – this promotes your uptake of melatonin, helping you regulate your eating and sleeping cycles too. Plus, it’s beneficial to your mental health, and with an estimated 7% of the globe afflicted by an anxiety disorder, it’s worth adding a few simple rituals to your day to promote the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine. The American Psychological Association revealed that just 5 minutes of exercise can boost our mood - and it doesn’t have to be intense, a simple walk is enough to do the trick. Here are a few other simple activities to jumpstart you physical and mental health:
- Sports like backyard cricket and tennis
Eat whole foods
Fast-release, refined grains like white bread, rice and flour will spike your blood sugars quickly, and this is because they’ve been stripped of those beneficial nutrients that whole grains are known for, resulting in the glucose hitting our bloodstream faster. These foods, though fine in moderation, put you at a higher risk of a blood-sugar spike. These are the signs to look out for:
- Muscle pain
- Increased thirst and urination
- Blurry vision
- Brain fog
Whole grains, on the other hand, are high in fibre, making them slow-release carbohydrates. They help instead of hindering, the management of blood sugar levels, along with curbing cravings and preventing those afternoon energy slumps. Quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and amaranth and all great choices to add to your meal in place of your usual white rice.
We know sugar is one of the lead drivers of increasing obesity rates, with studies showing a direct link between obesity and sugar. Worse still, researchers have found excess fructose can cause leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that tells the brain that we’re full, without it we may still feel hungry even after a full meal. The result? Weight gain, obesity and even diabetes.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t make your own healthy renditions of your favourite comfort foods! They can be tasty, nutritious and comforting – using whole ingredients. If you’d like to see for yourself, check out our variety of eBooks to get recipes for everything from brownies and cheesecakes to pasta bakes and hearty curries. To get you started, we’ve included a comforting recipe that ticks all the boxes.
It’s also worth making sure you’re eating fruits and veggies in their healthy forms – fruit juices are often packed with added sugars, but even without these extras, this beverage is already tough on our liver. This is because the sugar is absorbed much faster without the fibre to slow it down. Regularly drinking fruit juice can increase your risk for obesity, as studies have found a direct link between fructose and the development of obesity. Sugar-laden, ultra-processed foods are some of the biggest contributors to an out-of-whack system, from haywire hormones to high blood sugar levels, this stuff is your barrier to reaching the state of equilibrium.
Get your 8 hours
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to regulating your hormones – from keeping your mood stable to maintaining a healthy appetite and adequate energy levels. While the general recommendation is between 7 and 9 hours, it’s also important that you’re getting quality sleep. This means uninterrupted time in the land of nod, along with access to the right conditions of cool temperatures – just below 20 degrees Celsius is recommended – and darkness. Keeping your stress levels down will also contribute to a better night’s sleep – but, we know, it’s easier said than done. This also ties into our tips around physical activity, as getting exercise every day has been found to improve the sleep cycle, with outdoor exercise being even more helpful to getting some shuteye. The natural light helps regulate your hormone levels, with research finding that early light is most helpful to regulating your sleep cycle. This is believed to be the result of the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the morning, and as sunlight increases serotonin, which helps boost mood and reduce stress, it’s a good time to balance out your cortisol levels. You’ll also want to steer clear of blue light from phone and computer screens a few hours before bed. Blue light wreaks havoc on your circadian rhythm, leading to poor sleep quality and an exhausting day ahead. This is because it decreases your body’s melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. If you’re a pre-sleep scroller, try leaving your phone outside your bedroom so it’s out of sight, out of mind.
If you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and turning our health dreams into a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to JOIN NOW!