Stress and emotional eating had me running to the kitchen to binge.
My late night eating habit left me binging on cakes, ice cream, cereal, or leftover pizza.
Or all of them at once.
With every pound I gained and with every stomach pain I winced through, I knew that I had a big problem. I thought it was just related to the emotional stress that was penetrating every moment of every day. It wasn’t until years later that I realized it wasn’t just the emotional stress that triggered me, rather a combination of that, the so-called healthy foods that I was eating throughout the day, and the fad diets ruling my world at that time. I have since significantly healed myself through dietary and lifestyle changes, but looking back with what I know now, it all made sense.
High Protein, High Fat Diets
Popular high-fat and high-protein diets are all the rage right now. First it was Atkins and now it is Keto. I am sure that there were some others sprinkled in between.
There is good reason that these diets gained so much popularity. Even though a balance of your macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) are important, protein is proving to be the top dog when it comes to weight-loss and helping to stave off health issues such as imbalanced hormones and Type 2 Diabetes.
Studies have linked high-protein diets to play a significant role in weight-loss and overall body fat loss. It all starts in your brain, in particular, your hypothalamus. A higher protein intake increases levels of your appetite-reducing hormones, GLP-1, peptide YY, and cholecystokinin. At the same time, it reduces your level of your hunger-increasing hormone, ghrelin. Your hunger starts to fade and you automatically start to lose weight because you are consuming fewer calories.
In a perfect non-craving, sugary world, this would be the end of this article. Just eat more protein, I would say as I signed off….
But, it is not!
You are also contending with potential spiking blood sugar levels, leaving you crave more carbs and sugar. And, your days are continually plagued with foods that contain unhealthy fats that could damage your body and your heart.
What Have I Learned
The quality of your foods and how you time out what you eat makes a radical difference. This will depend on your activity levels and when you go to bed. And it all starts with your first meal of the day….
Getting the proper nutrition on your first meal of breaking your nightly fast will set you up for much bigger results during the rest of your day. A solid first meal (breakfast or whenever you are breaking your fast) helps to create satiety, balances your hormones, and creates less spiking of your blood sugar throughout the day. Not only is this perfect for anyone with blood sugar issues (i.e., diabetics and pre-diabetics), but it also is a solid recipe for weight-loss. Let’s break each of them down.
High-protein meals are highly satiating. They lead to reducing hunger and appetite (remember those hormones above) much more than their lower-protein meal counterparts. Not only do they fill you up and reduce your hunger, causing less calorie intake, but they also help to reduce cravings and late night snacking!
Remember when I said that quality matters? You bet it does. Here are a few ideas of high-quality proteins to fuel your first meals:
- Grass fed beef
- Wild game
- Free range chicken
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Soaked Quinoa
- Soaked Legumes
Balanced Hormones Through Better Food Choices
Balancing out those hormones first thing helps you to make better food choices later in the day, almost like your willpower woke up and said, “Hey, let’s do this.” Protein and healthy fats in your first meal not only works to balance those appetite and hunger hormones, but these also fill you up. If you feel fuller as a result of eating a well-balanced first meal, you are more likely to make healthier food choices throughout the day.
When you consume high-protein sources, you also take in other nutrients like iron, vitamin C, calcium and fiber, depending upon what type of protein source you eat. On the other hand, when you consume large amounts of processed foods, especially sugar, you deplete nutrients like magnesium.
Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease
When we break our daily night fast with healthy fats and quality proteins for breakfast, we are setting ourselves up for blood sugar balance, sustained energy between meals without fatigue and cravings, eliminating the blood sugar roller-coaster and mood swings, and providing long-lasting satiation.
If your blood sugar is constantly being taxed, insulin resistance could occur. Insulin is needed to help your body use glucose to provide energy for basic activities. Insulin resistance is associated with increased risk for diabetes, a chronic condition that can lead to serious complications and is associated with heart disease and high blood pressure.
With a high protein, high fat morning meal, you are also helping to fuel your metabolism. That means more calories are being burned throughout the day!
What are some high-quality healthy fats to help balance blood sugar and increase your HDL cholesterol (your good cholesterol)?
- Avocado or avocado oil
- Olives or olive oil
- Egg yolks
- Grass fed butter and ghee
- Coconut oil
- Nuts and seeds, especially walnuts
- Wild Caught fish
- Coconut Milk
Want some quick breakfast (first meal) options that are easy for on the go? Click here. And, make sure to sign up for a free smoothie recipe guide below to get 5 Delicious smoothies that will help to balance your hormones!
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