You may ask yourself how can diet help you stress less?
When it comes to balancing your hormones it is important that you get sufficient energy and nutrients to provide the body with all it needs.
There are really only 2 ways of dieting:
A ketogenic diet and fasting – using fat as fuel: 70% fat – 25% proteins – 5% carbs, combined with (ideally) 14-16 hours of fasting.
How can you do this?
Skip breakfast, and start your first meal around noon with proteins, fat and greens. You should have a 6-8 hour “eating window”, where you take in all your food. Outside this eating window you can have coffee, tea, water and exogenous ketones. I don’t recommend having caffeine after 2-3 pm.
You primarily get your carbs from leafy greens, and your proteins from organic, grass fed animals and fish. Avocado, olive oil, MCT oil and coconut oil are your primary fat source.
Make sure so get enough sodium, potassium, magnesium and electrolytes in general.
Eating every second hour – using carbs/glucose as fuel:33% fat – 33% proteins – 33% carbs.
Most people will benefit from having small meals 5-6 times per day. Try this for 2-3 weeks.
Have 3 strong meals daily and 3 snack-meals, divided over the first 12 hours you are awake. That will keep your energy flowing, and make you less prone to sugar cravings.
Consider taking a supplement of chromium if you have a lot of cravings.
Fasting for 12 hours from dinner until your breakfast, will give your body time to rest and secure a good night sleep.
That means having NOTHING (but water and tea – no caffeine/sugar) after your dinner.
You should not have any carbs in the morning, but focus on having proteins and fat instead. Have your carbs in the afternoon and evening. This can be really challenging for at lot of people, cause we are used to eating cereals and bread for breakfast. But try it for 2-3 weeks, and see how your energy level changes during the day – and especially in the afternoon.
Fat is key!
The key in both ways of diet is stabilizing your blood sugar. By controlling your blood sugar, you will also control your cortisol, and maintain a calm nervous system.
No matter which way of dieting you choose – you’ll need a lot of healthy fat to be able to produce all your hormones and balance your blood sugar.
If you choose carbs as fuel, you need to balance the carbs with fat (every time you eat), in order to stabilize your blood sugar, otherwise your blood sugar will peak/drop throughout the day, making your mood – and stress unstable. So make sure you have some fat with all your meals, e.g. having some almonds with your fruit and berries, carrots etc.
If your blood sugar gets low and unstable, it will trigger an increased level of cortisol. Cortisol is a dominating hormone, and it can cause the body to go into fight or flight response, increasing the level of insulin and storing fat and fluids in your body, to make sure you have enough nutrients for survival.
This is really a survival response, that will happen, when “there is a shortage of food”, because cortisol can provide glucose by tapping into protein stores in the liver.
This is a mechanism brought on, because food is necessary for your survival. The body is aware of the importance of food, and aware of your ability to collect food, and have time to prepare and eat food will be deprived, when you are fighting or flighting for your life.
This is why you will experience retention of fat and fluids in your body, when you are stressed, and you might be experiencing it being almost impossible for you to lose weight.
Often low/unstable blood sugar is the root cause to symptoms like sleeplessness, insulin resistance, anxiety, edginess and a high blood pressure.
I general you should focus on eating proteins and healthy fat, and cutting out starch, sugar, and fruit like grapes and bananas with a lot of sugar (including dried fruit).
That kind of carbs will have a negative impact on your blood sugar, causing your insulin production to rise. Sugary food is a quick-fix to bring you energy – but it will also bring you fat on your belly, and make you more sensitive to stress. So try to avoid any insulin-boosters, including alcohol.
There are plenty healthy treats, so you don’t have to do without any sweets. Be mindful of your eating choices.