Woo hoo! School is finally out, and I had no idea just how much damage stress was doing to my low-carb lifestyle. Up at 4 am, with a 40-mile drive to work, classes full of mostly unmotivated students, a 45-minute drive of stop-and-go traffic to get home, unhappy coworkers, unhappy family members, unhappy me, a transfer to a different school, ugh. I would come home, and even though I don't indulge in sugar anymore, I still found myself turning to the psychological lift that sweet tastes bring. I over-ate sugar alcohols, over-sweetened my coffee, and based on my constant struggle with my weight, "sweet" was kicking my low-carb booty.
Sweet still can trigger insulin, even if it doesn't involve sugar.
And the unused insulin will get tired of looking for something to boss around in the blood stream and quietly retire to the fat cells. In short, weight gain. Now, don't get me wrong; an occasional treat is a beautiful thing. But I'm not talking about an occasional event. I'm talking daily, as a way of dealing with the stress. Then, the added weight causes even more stress, which caused me to eat even more sweetness. What a terrible cycle of psychological damage. "Aaaargh," as my gorgeous sister would say. (Happy birthday, Barb!)
It's not just the sweet tastes that trigger insulin and/or aggravate our weight. Caffeine triggers insulin release. A lack of exercise makes us more dependent on dietary fat instead of burning body fat for energy. Sleep deprivation makes us gain weight. Emotional turbulence, such as stress, makes us release cortisol, a hormone associated with inflammation and weight gain. We stressed-out chicks are doomed!
Or maybe not. Let's add more exercise to our day, even if it's going up stairs or parking farther from the store. Let's do something nice for ourselves, something non-food-related, maybe a new bath product or cologne. Let's look in the mirror once a day and say something nice about ourselves. ("You don't look like such a fat pig today," doesn't count.) And I'm going to limit my sugar-alcohol intake to one day a week, like maybe a home-made low-carb dessert on Sunday. I won't even sneak a spoonful of crystal xylitol out of the pantry when times are bad. But don't ask me to give up my coffee. Waaaah!