Eating healthy doesn’t always equal optimal cholesterol levels.

That’s incredibly frustrating!

The conventional medical world recommends statin medications to lower cholesterol when the total cholesterol goes over 200 and the LDL is over 100. 

No conversation about internal and external stress.

Nothing about balancing blood sugar. 

Just the usual on lowering saturated fat and eating more fiber. 

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You can eat super healthy but that doesn’t mean you’re balancing your blood sugar well.  

The connection between elevated cholesterol, weight gain and fatigue has a root in blood sugar balance. 

How you start your day is what dictates your energy level.

It also sets the standard for your blood sugar balance.

I was taught in school that your pancreas bases it’s insulin release off of the first meal of the day. 

I’ve never been able to find data to back up that statement but based on what I’m learning about cholesterol, fatigue and your metabolism I think there’s something there. 

In my podcast interview with dietician Jenn Trepeck, she mentioned how coffee on an empty stomach could mess with blood sugar and subsequently cholesterol. 

She emphasized the need for a protein rich meal in the morning with coffee not after!

She got me thinking about a few things I used to coach patients on when it came to cholesterol which I abandoned for the fasting fad as I saw it working so well. 

Yes, I too fall into seeing things working for folks and think there’s something to it. 

I’m always trying out new things so I can speak to trends honestly with patients.

I fasted for years and it worked for me for a long time. 

So I recommend it and still do depending on the case.

A few years ago I noticed a connection between increased stress, fatigue and weight gain in myself. 

It took using the Lumen device to show me that fasting wasn’t serving me anymore!

How did the Lumen tell me this?

Elevated blood sugar in the morning and mid-day despite not eating since the previous day around 6p.

That’s not normal.

Most blood sugar balanced folks will have blood sugar back to normal in the morning after 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.

What else messes with your blood sugar in the morning when you didn’t eat?

  • Elevated cortisol.
  • Stressful thoughts or a fast paced morning routine to get to work.
  • Drinking caffeine on an empty stomach. 

I didn’t want to believe that my lifestyle was messing with my blood sugar. 

My routine for the last decade plus was working out fasted, followed by sipping on tea while getting ready and not eating till 1-2p in between patient visits. 

Skipping breakfast meal prep was lovely…

…and going down to one meal a day was a common excuse to be lazy too!

For a gal that used to love meal prepping and cooking I had become “too busy”. 

Red flag – stress was hijacking my desire to meal prep and my appetite during the day. 

I wouldn’t be hungry till dinner time and by that time I’d be starving.

Starving = hunting for anything that’s easy to get into my belly fast.

Scoops of peanut butter, handfuls of nuts, chocolate – high fat but not enough protein!

Or somedays I’d get hangry mid-day and snap about something…

…and then the brain fog would set in with the fatigue. 

The little things became big deals. 

All because my blood sugar was tanked and I was shutting down. 

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Over the course of a decade I gained 20 pounds. 

Could I blame it on hormone shifts with peri-menopause, sure.

Is it possible that all my skipping meals messed with cortisol and subsequently impacted my hormones?

Absolutely. 

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The clearer I think on this concept the more I realize how important it is to keep blood sugar in check no matter what style of eating you choose to follow.

If you’re noticing your weight and cholesterol are going up despite eating a healthy diet…

…I encourage you to journal on your food, mood, behavior and whatever else shows up for a month. 

I guarantee it will be eye opening!

The longer you journal the more info you’ll gather on yourself. 

Diet fads come and go.

I believe everyone has an individual eating plan that works for them.

Taking time to discover what’s best for you is crucial. 

Meal timing is just as key as how you start your day and manage your stress.

If you’re waking up early in the morning because you can’t sleep or if hot flashes are showing up at this time, this is a cortisol response. 

It’s not always low estradiol or progesterone that provoke early morning wake ups. 

Poor blood sugar balance can pop off cortisol elevations. 

Putting the cortisol release in check helps keep blood sugar in check.

Here’s how I recommend working on it…

  • As soon as you open your eyes in the morning check your thoughts
  • Work to change your thoughts to be less stress provoking – whether it means changing your routine or prepping the night before
  • Listen to a guided meditation/prayer/soothing music/Abraham Hicks/Joe Dispenza x 5-15 minutes to help you get the energy right for the day
  • Negative stressful thoughts lead to increased cortisol
  • Start your first meal off with at least 25-35 grams of protein
  • Sip on caffeine with meals or after a meal
  • Eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day – no meal skipping
  • If you snack – pair protein or a good fat with a fruit or veggie
  • Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water
  • Plan at least 2 breaks a day to get away from everything for at least 2-5 minutes – this stops the body thinking it’s running marathons daily leading to chronic fatigue
  • Journal each evening on how you feel – mood, energy, looping thoughts
  • Release all the thoughts from the day on paper before bed
  • Each evening set a soothing wind down routine at least 1-2 hours before bed to calm the cortisol

Like anything, changing up your routine takes time and practice. 

It takes about 3 months to fully see change and a lowering of the cortisol as well as weight. 

Eating more food may be quite scary for those of you gaining weight steadily over the years.

Yes, weight might go up as the body works to figure things out at first. 

Keep the body convinced there’s no bear after it.

Fuel it regularly on a schedule. 

Watch the metabolism return, moods stabilize, cholesterol lower and energy increase. 

Hormones will often shift as well, especially in the peri-menopause stages for ladies.

I’m actively working on putting my blood sugar back in check and will update you on my progress so you can see this process in action. 

It’s time to go back to basics when it comes to eating!

The more you learn about yourself and your needs the better you’ll be able to fuel yourself versus stress your body out!

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If you’re open to learning more, my interview with the dietician Jenn Trepeck from Salad with a Side of Fries podcast can be found HERE.  

Here’s to balancing your blood sugar,

Dr. J

Jannine Krause

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