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I am sure you know someone who can eat whatever they want but never have to worry about their weight? Well what if I told you that I can give you the secret to eating whatever you want and maintain your weight? I sound like a snake oil salesman, don’t I? Macro management is the secret to eating whatever you want, not overeating and keeping your blood sugar well controlled.
When I say “whatever you want” I don’t mean highly processed, highly refined food. Technically using macro management you can eat these sometimes. People who eat whatever they want, tend to eat mostly whole food with occasional treats. You can do it too and Macro Management is the key.
What is Macro Management?
Let’s start with “what is a macro”. These are just the macronutrients in food, protein, carbs and fat. Everything you eat has a mix of all three, or in some cases just two. Eggs are a good example, they only have fat and protein. Some food tracker apps show carbs but the carbs are in the shell. If you’re eating the shell, you’re doing it wrong.
We need all three macros for optimum health. You might have heard that there are no essential carbs. It might be true that no one carb is essential for health but the entire macro of carbs sure is. Carbs stimulate insulin which helps to lower inflammation causing stress hormones. You don’t need to eat 300g of carbs a day, low carb (up to 100g) is ok.
How you eat the carbs is key to long term health and good blood glucose control. This is what Macro Management is all about. Eating highly refined carbs is going to quickly lead to health problems as your body struggles to deal with the junk ingredients like seed oils. Whole food carbs are easily recognisable by your body and you have the right enzymes to digest them. Your body is good at managing these carbs!
Macro Management – macro priority for good blood sugar control
So how do you eat carbs in the right way so they don’t have a negative impact on your blood sugar? This is the easy bit. Eat the carbs last where possible. To give you an example of my breakfast now. I eat 2 boiled eggs (or 1 with a couple of slices of bacon) then I eat a piece of fruit, a slice of rye bread (low glycemic index) or a small glass of fresh orange juice (around 60ml).
Eating protein and fat first drastically slows down how quickly the glucose hits your bloodstream. If you eat carbs on an empty stomach your sugar will quickly spike and then fall again really quickly. This is enough to trigger stress hormones. If you do this enough, you will start to see signs of inflammation in your body. Always have carbs last.
What if the carbs are part of the meal?
You’re invited to a friend’s house and they are serving a pasta dish or a shepherd’s pie. Both have the carbs and protein/fat together. How on earth can you eat the carbs last? Don’t worry, there are a couple of things you can do to slow down the impact of the carbs on your blood glucose.
Eat my Obligatory Salad/ veggie starter
The name Obligatory Salad started as a joke because in Switzerland, where I live, you get a salad as an appetiser in many restaurants. It’s a small bowl of salad with no dressing. You get olive oil and vinegar to add as you like. It’s no coincidence that the Swiss are among the healthiest people on the planet if they eat a salad before every meal. The fibre in the salad slows down how quickly digested the carbs are. That means a slower rise in your blood sugar. Eat a small salad or some vegetables before your meal.
No salad? No problem!
I’ve got you. It’s been proven that the acetic acid in vinegar has a lowering effect on blood sugar. Before you eat a meal that contains carbs, have a tablespoon of vinegar (any vinegar) in a glass of sparkling water. This will help reduce the spike in blood sugar by 20%. This means that you can enjoy the carbs without worrying about the potential negative effects on your blood sugar.
No Salad/No vinegar? Still no problem!
Ok, so you can’t do any of the other blood sugar management techniques? No problem, I still have one last tip for you. Sometimes it will be impossible to have an Obligatory Salad, veggie starter or vinegar before your meal. What can you do? First, don’t worry too much about this happening occasionally. Your body knows what to do and if you are taking care of your Macro Management most of the time, it’s no big deal to have a non-managed meal once in a while.
If you still want to do something to minimise the blood sugar spike then after the meal go for a 10 minute brisk walk. Using the large muscles in your legs will lower blood sugar as your body uses the sugar to fuel the exercise. If you can’t walk after the meal, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom and do a few squats! Ok that last one is a bit of a joke although it does work. You don’t need to fear the occasional higher blood sugar spike. It’s natural and your body knows what to do. If you practice Macro Management most of the time, you’ll be ok.
How can I eat whatever I want and maintain my weight? Macro Management!
With Macro Management! I am not kidding, this works for weight management. This is because you are avoiding high blood sugar that leads to crashes. These crashes spike stress hormones and make you crave carbs like crazy. If you are constantly craving carbs, it’s not that you need to cut them out completely. You just need to practice Macro Management.
Macro Management will also stop you from feeling hungry and overeating. Eating carbs first will spike blood sugar and insulin. When your blood sugar crashes you not only crave carbs, you also feel really hungry. Like “eat all the things” hungry as your body struggles to maintain a level blood sugar number. When this happens you crave food that is really easy to digest. These foods just happen to be the highly processed, highly refined ones. Macro Management helps stop this wild blood sugar ride so you don’t get over hungry which inevitably leads to overeating.
Without the big blood sugar dips, you are easily able to manage portion sizes. The signals from your body become clearer and you will know when to stop eating. It’s like somebody flicking a switch. I spoke before about carb addiction but I was wrong. Carb addiction is your body screaming for nutrition and fuel. By making sure you are eating a well balanced diet with good, whole food carbs, you stop craving anything. This makes it easier to eat what you want because you will only want to feed your body whole foods and permanently avoid the blood sugar driven hunger/restriction/binge roller coaster.