You are now entering your forth week with the NutriSense program. Here is what I hope you have started to learn and explore so far:
- Which types, portions, and combinations of foods trigger abnormal glucose responses for you.
- Successful alternatives to some of your trouble foods (which result in more controlled glucose responses).
- The effect that non-food influencers have on your glucose (such as sleep, stress, and physical activity).
- The benefit of having accountability from both your coaches and your glucose data. Having real time feedback and personalized coaching can make it easier and more motivating to stay on track with your goals. It is easier to say no to that piece of cake when you know how your glucose will be affected.
The biggest non-food glucose influencer for this user is STRESS!
This picture is a normal day for the customer:
This second picture is a day with similar food and exercise, but high levels of stress. Their average, fasting, and post-prandial glucose levels are all higher due to the stress. This is a helpful reminder of the real toll stress can take on the body and the importance of managing stress.
What to focus on for months two and beyond:
- Honing in on dietary changes that can realistically become a part of your long term lifestyle and routine. Now is the time to learn what an optimal eating pattern looks like for you.
- Focus on implementing the most important behavior changes that have been discussed with your health coaches (such as incorporating daily physical activity or meditation).
For example - From my own exploration, I have made these permanent changes to my lifestyle:
- Carbohydrate Timing - Carbohydrates affect my glucose more negatively as the day progresses and insulin sensitivity is reduced. When I chose less carbs at dinner and more at breakfast, I improved my glucose responses to those foods, limiting spikes.
- Meal Timing - I have found that snacking between meals throughout the day prevents my glucose from fully returning to baseline, leading to higher overall fasting levels. To improve my values (while staying full and satisfied throughout the day), I have benefited from larger, less frequent meals high in low carbohydrate vegetables.
- Portion Control and Healthy Alternatives - Kombucha, potatoes, and popcorn are some of my “trouble foods,” which I used to consume often but which lead to large glucose spikes. I have found ways to incorporate these foods in a mindful way, by reducing my portion sizes and/or always pairing them with a lean protein. Instead of a serving of popcorn, I choose a half serving and pair it with roasted almonds. Instead of a bottle of kombucha, I have found that having ¼ of a bottle mixed with carbonated water keeps me in the green range. As for potatoes, no matter the portion size, my glucose spike is difficult to curb. I have mostly substituted them with roasted cauliflower or parsnips, which produce a much more favorable glucose response.
Whether your areas of focus are similar or completely different, we hope you have identified ways to optimize your diet and become more confident in implementing these strategies. Perhaps you respond well to potatoes, but oatmeal consistently gives you spikes above your threshold. The beauty of personalized nutrition is that there is no one right way to eat, but there is a better way for you to eat.
Nutrition is a huge part of health, but there are so many other factors to consider. Is stress unmanaged in your life? Do you have a consistent exercise and movement routine? Is sleep neglected in your lifestyle? Stepping back and looking at the whole picture is vital to truly understand your body. This week, make yourself a priority. Whether it’s mindfulness meditation, improvements in your sleep hygiene and nighttime routine, or improvements in your exercise consistency, these factors can make a profound difference to your overall health. Utilize your coaches for suggestions applicable to your lifestyle and to keep you accountable.