Body & Mind

Nutrition
Nutrition

Learn how your body and mind are connected and find easy ways to keep both in good shape.

Image for Trying to avoid feeling tired at work? Our tips on staying awake

Trying to avoid feeling tired at work? Our tips on staying awake

‘Fess up. At some point in your adult life, you probably feared falling asleep at work, imagined what it would be like to have a job where you could take a nap, or simply felt too tired to focus. For one reason or another, some days, you simply feel tired and must find ways to avoid falling asleep at your desk. Those factors might make you think about reaching for a sugary pick-me-up or another cup of coffee or tea. It's time to break the cycle of a quick sugar fix followed by extreme highs and lows in your glucose levels or relying too heavily on caffeine. These short-term solutions won’t give you the sustained energy you’re looking for. You can experience better energy at work through not only what you eat but also how you manage your lifestyle. Read our tips below on how you can avoid feeling tired at work. Why staying awake at work can be difficult There could be a few reasons why you’re dragging during the day. Here are some potential causes of why you feel sleepy at your desk: Poor sleep: How well you sleep (quality) matters in addition to how much you sleep. Even if you think you got a full eight hours, if you have a condition like sleep apnoea or woke up repeatedly through the night, it can leave you feeling tired the next day. Also, eating a carb-heavy meal close to bed can negatively affect your sleep and subsequent energy levels the next day. (1) Allow a few hours between your last meal and when you plan to fall asleep. . Not getting enough sleep: If you didn’t get into bed at a time that allowed you to get the NHS’s recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, it could be why you’re falling asleep at your desk. Your breakfast wasn’t satisfying. You may have skipped a morning meal, which can leave you feeling zapped of energy. Or your breakfast could have been lacking enough protein to keep you satiated or had too much sugar or simple carbs. When you eat primarily simple carbs with little to no protein in the morning, such as buttered toast with marmalade or a bowl of cereal, this often causes a glucose spike. This can lead to a crash, which leaves you feeling sluggish and hungry soon after. You’re not properly hydrated. Lethargy is a common sign of dehydration. Without enough fluids, blood volume shrinks and your heart has to work harder to pump oxygen-saturated blood all over the body. (2) You likely won’t notice that it’s working harder, but that additional effort makes you feel sluggish and tired. You’re stressed. Both acute (short-term) and chronic (ongoing) stress can cause you to feel tired throughout the day and interfere with a good night’s sleep, perpetuating the problem. Sure, worries alone can cause you to toss and turn, which could impact sleep and make you feel tired. But mental fatigue can cause feelings of overwhelm which leave you feeling drained and unmotivated throughout the day. It’s different from physical fatigue which is usually gone once you’ve gotten rest. Stress sends your body into flight-or-fight mode which ramps up your heart rate, can cause faster breathing, result in a rush of energy, and increase muscle tension due to a rush of the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol stops surging, you’re more likely to feel tired and depleted. Stress can also lead to a glucose spike, and a subsequent crash can drain your energy. (3) Practical tips: Staying awake at work Avoiding falling asleep at work is crucial for job performance and overall safety. Plus, maintaining steady energy throughout the day can benefit your health and well-being. Here’s how to stay awake at work: Start the day with a balanced meal: Individuals following a low-glycaemic diet have reported feeling significantly less fatigue than those following a high-glycaemic diet. (4). Choosing a high protein, low glycaemic breakfast will start your day off on the right foot for steady energy. Opt for something with at least 30 grams of protein and some healthy fats and fibre, such as an egg omelette with veggies and a side of lean sausage, Greek yoghurt with berries, or a whey protein shake. If you’re reading this after eating an unbalanced breakfast, you can still turn things around. A smart lunch choice can help improve your energy levels and mood so you don’t get sleepy and grumpy around your colleagues in the afternoon. (4) Try a tuna and avocado wrap, grilled chicken salad with an oil-based dressing, a buffalo chicken salad sandwich, or a salmon and veggie bowl to keep you full, steady your glucose, and give you energy. Snack wisely: It’s important to keep some healthy snacks on hand so you won’t be tempted to grab a sugary, carb-heavy convenience snack when the need to nosh hits during an energy slump. Try eating about a handful of pistachios (40 grams), a hardboiled egg with raw vegetables, oats with almond butter, a scoop of high-quality protein powder, or some full-fat Greek yoghurt. Manage your stress: Unmanaged stress can cause glucose spikes and crashes. If you’re feeling stressed at work, take a short break (block off some time on your calendar if you can) to sip some chamomile tea, do some stretches, or call a friend. Deep breathing exercises might also help relieve stress and boost energy. (5) Retool your environment: Exposure to sunlight in the morning can kick-start your circadian rhythm, helping you feel more awake and energised. (6) On days when it’s challenging to get natural sunlight, find ways to set up your workspace to avoid falling asleep at desk. You might want to try using a light therapy lamp or light box to help you feel more awake and help with mood on cloudy days. Ensuring your office is well-lit and has good air circulation and isn’t too warm or too cold can ward off feelings of sleepiness at work. Bring in the green: Surrounding your workspace with a little bit of nature such as nice-smelling fresh-cut flowers or living indoor plants can help perk you up. (7) Get regular exercise: Routine physical activity helps support steady glucose (and steady energy) by improving insulin sensitivity. (8) The NHS recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week (30 minutes, five days a week) or racking up 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise each week (25 minutes, three days a week). Going for a 10-minute walk on your work break can help keep glucose steady and energy levels high by stimulating circulation of fresh oxygenated blood and nutrients to your muscles and brain —all of which will help you avoid falling asleep at work. Stay hydrated: When the body is dehydrated, you’re likely to feel tired. To stay properly hydrated, plan to drink about three litres of water each day. You can also opt for other no- or low-sugar beverages that are hydrating, such as sparkling water and caffeine-free herbal tea. A good rule of thumb is to get at least half of your daily hydration from plain water. Establish good sleep patterns: Getting seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep sets you up for having more energy the next day so you are more likely to exercise, make better food choices, and can concentrate better. (9) Practice good sleep hygiene tips like turning lights low, stopping screen time one to two hours before bed, and taking a warm bath or shower to wind down. Good sleep also helps your body regulate glucose. (10) A final note from Lingo To feel more awake during the day and decrease your risk of falling asleep at work, manage energy levels through a balanced diet that keeps glucose levels steady. It’s also important to try to get regular exercise and increase your movement throughout the day to feel energised. Finally, start a proper sleep hygiene routine to help you wind down for bed and prioritise getting around eight hours of sleep a night.

 
Image for Boosting your energy levels with glucose management

Boosting your energy levels with glucose management

Do you often find yourself feeling low on energy, even if you’ve gotten enough sleep the night before? There could be several reasons why you feel sluggish, and you are probably looking for ways to get an energy boost. If you want to improve your energy, start by investigating your diet. What you eat has a direct impact on your energy levels. Especially if you are eating simple carbohydrates that spike your blood glucose. During an energy slump, it can be tempting to reach for a sugary snack for an energy boost since simple carbohydrates can provide quick energy. While it will give you a very short-lived burst of increased energy due to a fast rise in your blood glucose levels, the spike will not last long, and may leave you feeling drained of energy after your blood glucose levels dip again. What you want is sustained energy and balanced glucose. For this you should fuel yourself with a balanced meal with enough protein, healthy fats, and fibre to keep you full for at least three hours. If you find yourself getting hungry or experiencing cravings soon after eating, you might want to assess your previous meal — it’s likely you didn’t eat enough or your macronutrients weren’t balanced for sustained energy and steady glucose. Feeling tired right now? Try these steps When you’re feeling tired or sluggish, you’re probably looking for a quick way to boost your energy levels. One surefire way to get an energy pick-me-up is to engage in a quick burst of physical activity. Bonus points if you do this outside in natural sunlight. These “exercise snacks,” such as climbing stairs, going for a brisk walk, or jumping jacks and air squats for about a few minutes at a time give you an energy boost by getting your heart rate up, which brings fresh blood and oxygen to your cells. These short, yet highly effective sessions have been shown to reduce the negative impact of sitting on cardiometabolic health. (1) If you spend most of your day in front of screens, taking a screen break may also give you some energy. Take a few minutes away from all screens and engage your mind with another activity like journaling or just let yourself daydream and get lost in your thoughts. (2) Another way to take an energising break? Try breathing exercises. These may help you feel more awake and alert. For a quick energy boost, stand up and take a deep breath while simultaneously raising your arms over your head slowly. Exhale as you lower your arms, working through this three times. (3) Finally, watch a funny video or joke around with a friend. The act of laughing can give you energy because it increases heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption, helping you feel more alert. Additionally, laughing can help reduce stress hormones, which may have the additional benefit of helping to maintain steady glucose. (4) Adding these small actions into your day can help you feel more energetic if you start to feel tired, especially if you got a full night’s sleep the night before. If lack of sleep is the source of your energy slump, you could try to take a quick nap of less than 30 minutes (5) and should focus on getting a full 7-9 hours each night. 8 tips for better daily energy levels Looking for ways to improve energy levels? Maintaining stable energy levels is possible with these eight tips. Tip #1: Stay hydrated. A common sign of dehydration is low energy levels, also known as lethargy or sleepiness. Take frequent breaks to get up and refill a reuseable water bottle frequently throughout your day. A glass of water can perk up your energy levels and contribute to hydration in between meals. Tip #2: Get your body moving. Research shows adults who regularly engage in moderate-intensity exercise have meaningful improvements in fatigue, energy levels, and feelings of vitality. (6) According to the NHS Physical Activity Guidelines, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. This can be easily achieved with 30 minutes of a moderate-intensity activity like tennis or brisk walking five days a week, or 25 minutes of a higher-intensity activity, like HIIT, three days a week. Additionally, adults should also do two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity. (7) Tip #3: Eat a protein-packed breakfast Energy slumps can happen after a sugary or high-carbohydrate breakfast like toast with jam or cereal. For sustained energy and balanced glucose, it’s a good idea to choose a protein-packed breakfast with at least 25-30 grams of protein to steady glucose levels and set the day up for success. Adding in fibre and fats can also help you feel full and give you more sustained energy. (8) For a more protein-packed breakfast, consider eating eggs, beans, protein powder, or unsweetened Greek yoghurt. Tip #4: Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is an obvious cause of feeling tired. Not getting adequate sleep also impacts glucose levels and has been found to lead to insulin resistance after just one night of sleep deprivation (less than 7 hours of sleep). (9) Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep, according to the NHS. If you are having trouble achieving quality sleep, check out our tips for getting better sleep. Additionally, short naps less than 30 minutes have been shown to boost energy and can be a quick way to give your body a refresh when you are feeling sluggish. (5) Tip #5: Don’t skip meals. Whether you’re busy with work or tend to skip meals out of habit, it might be making you more tired. Skipping meals can cause low blood glucose levels followed by spikes when you finally fuel your body, which causes your energy levels to rollercoaster. However, it’s important to listen to your body; some people find success with intermittent fasting (IF) where they eat within an 8- or 10-hour window and often skip breakfast. Just be sure to break your fast with a meal that's high in protein and healthy fats for stable glucose and energy levels. Tip #6: Limit alcohol. Alcohol has sedative properties that can make you tired. Additionally, it has been found to disrupt your sleep cycles and decrease sleep quality. (10) Alcohol is also linked to an increased risk of insomnia, which increases daytime sleepiness. Plus, some types of alcoholic drinks like sugary cocktails and high-carb beers can spike your glucose, which can leave you feeling sluggish after. Tip #7: Avoid overeating. Indulging in a large meal (one that is especially high in carbohydrates) can spike your blood sugar, which may lead to a crash and cause you to feel tired. Besides impacting energy levels, overeating has also been shown to lead to an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. (11) Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues to make sure you are eating enough to be satiated and have balanced energy levels, but not eating too much to leave you feeling tired. Tip #8: Reduce stress. Stress, especially chronic stress, can zap your body of energy. An increase in the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol can cause dysfunction and disruptions in energy availability in the body, leaving you feeling drained. (12) Engaging in stress-reducing activities like meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises can help. (3) A final note from Lingo One key way to stop feeling tired and increase your energy levels is by managing your blood glucose levels, especially if lack of sleep isn’t the culprit. Experiencing blood sugar spikes and crashes can lead to increased fatigue. To boost your energy naturally, maintain a balanced diet, get in regular exercise, stay properly hydrated, and prioritize sleep. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards creating habits that will give you more sustained energy. Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

 
Image for Why do you get so tired after eating?

Why do you get so tired after eating?

Feeling sleepy after eating has a scientific name: postprandial somnolence, better known as a food coma. (1) One cause of getting tired post-meal is sudden changes in glucose as your body works to digest your food. Your glucose may be higher or lower after you eat, depending on a number of factors, which can cause after-meal drowsiness. Below, we explain what’s going on in your body and how you can avoid that tired feeling after eating. What are the causes of tiredness after eating? To understand why you may feel tired after eating, let’s break down the process of food digestion. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. This glucose is absorbed from your gut into the bloodstream, where it can be shuttled into your cells (with the help of insulin) and metabolised for energy. (2) This is the normal process every time you eat carbohydrates, and the rise in concentration of glucose in your blood depends on the amount and type of carbohydrate you’ve consumed. If the carbohydrates you eat result in a large glucose spike, you may feel tired soon after. The sleepiness is partially due to an increase in compounds called cytokines that are released after eating foods that are high in carbohydrates (1), making you feel tired. If this sounds familiar, the first thing to check is your diet. Meals consisting of typical “Western” diet foods (think foods high in carbohydrates and fat, like processed meat, fast food, and soft drinks) have been shown to cause sleepiness after eating. (1) Certain drinks are also linked to tiredness. Alcohol causes sleepiness due to its effect on neurotransmitters in the brain. (3) You may also feel sleepy after imbibing because alcohol blocks the liver from making new glucose, making you more susceptible to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Normally, the liver makes glucose between meals and as you sleep. Alcohol disrupts this process. (4) There may also be other causes of sleepiness after eating, including skipping breakfast. While you may wake up not feeling hungry for that first meal, skipping breakfast and waiting a few hours to eat lunch may make you feel sleepier because your body’s blood flow has to work harder to digest it later in the day. (6) Other causes of sleepiness after eating include already being sleep deprived and having low blood pressure (called postprandial hypotension). (6) Specific nutrients in food like tryptophan (an essential amino acid) (7) and foods that increase melatonin production (a hormone that helps regulate the circadian rhythm) may also make you feel sleepier after eating. (8) Tips for avoiding tiredness after eating Trying to avoid feeling sleepy after eating? Here are a few things to keep in mind: Foods to eat and avoid : The same study that found Western diets led to sleepiness after meals found that diets rich in vegetables and healthy fats (like olive oil and dairy) resulted in less post-meal sleepiness. (1) Additional foods to consume to avoid feeling tired after eating include fruits, whole grains, and lean protein. Go for a walk after eating: Rather than lying down on the couch after you eat, get your body moving. Taking a walk after a meal improves glucose metabolism, preventing you from feeling tired. (9) Avoid eating too late: Timing your meals is important for promoting quality sleep when you do need it. Aim to have your last meal two to three hours before bed for optimal sleep. (10) Stay hydrated: Hydration is essential for all metabolic processes, including using glucose. You may notice higher glucose levels when you’re dehydrated as the blood becomes more concentrated. (11) To avoid it, you should aim to drink 2.7 litres daily (for women), 3.7 litres daily (for men). (12) Are there any ways to track my body’s glucose response to food?  Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes.   A final note from Lingo Sleepiness after eating is a common phenomenon known as postprandial somnolence. One of the main causes of getting tired after eating is due to the types of foods you choose to eat. Eating large amounts of carbohydrates causes glucose to spike and create an inflammatory response. Instead, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fat can help you avoid feeling tired after eating. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes.   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

 
Image for Balanced meals lead to better sleep

Balanced meals lead to better sleep

You know that high-sugar snacks and meals impact your glucose, but did you know that these same choices and an unsteady plate also impact your sleep? Alternatively, meals that prioritise protein and fats with just a modest amount of complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, beans, and legumes) can help you sleep better. (1) And better sleep promotes better glucose management. In individuals with impaired glucose metabolism, the research points to a clear relationship between poor sleep leading to poor glucose management and poor glucose management leading to impaired sleep. (2) But with some simple changes, you can avoid the cycle. Eat a balanced lunch by filling ½ your plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with proteins, and ¼ with complex carbohydrates. Vegetable soup with a chicken-salad sandwich on wholemeal bread would be a great choice. As you track your glucose, notice how changing the sources and amounts of carbohydrates impacts you. And if your glucose is high, fill up on chicken salad and soup, skipping the bread. Focus on the protein For your evening meal, increase the protein proportion and reduce the complex carbohydrates. An evening meal that’s high in protein and healthy fats with a modest portion of complex carbs like whole grains, beans, and legumes can steady your glucose and improve your sleep quality. (1) Tonight, try one of these delicious ideas: A salad starter and a main dish of salmon, mixed vegetables and lentils An omelette with ham and mushrooms plus a side salad with avocado and seeds Grilled chicken breast with quinoa, roasted peppers, courgettes, and tomatoes

 
Image for Say no to nightcaps for better glucose and sleep

Say no to nightcaps for better glucose and sleep

A drink in the evening after a long day might make you feel relaxed, but behind the scenes, the effects vary between individuals and don’t typically result in a good night’s rest. Even a small amount of alcohol can reduce your sleep quality. (1) Alcohol dehydrates your body, and many drinks contain carbohydrates. Both these factors make it harder for your body to stabilise your glucose. The carbohydrates in the drink can spike your glucose, leading to a rapid drop in energy levels. This can cause restless and disrupted sleep, which means you’ll feel less refreshed the next day. Increased glucose can also cause more frequent urination during the night, which can further disrupt your sleep. Good sleep helps glucose control Better sleep means less cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body during the night. And lower cortisol helps your body stay steady while you sleep. Sleep is vital to recharging your mind and body. A healthier combination If you do have alcohol in the evening, have some unsalted nuts and water with your beverage. The protein and healthy fats in the nuts support steady glucose, and the water works to keep you hydrated.

 
Image for How to sleep better: Tips for falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest

How to sleep better: Tips for falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest

It's no secret that a good night's sleep is vital for your overall health and wellbeing. The impact of sleep extends beyond simply feeling refreshed; our shuteye influences our energy levels, physical health, mood, and daily activities. Although there is no one-size-fits-all advice, there are things you can do to help improve your sleep. And, since everyone has different biological factors and lifestyles, it’s best to try a few different strategies Although it’s a common misconception that getting more hours of sleep per night means you’re getting better sleep, that’s not always the case. The quality of sleep is paramount, and your habits throughout the day and in the evenings can have a major impact on the quality of sleep you’ll get. You may have heard of the term “sleep hygiene.” This term was coined in the early 1970s and is used to refer to a sleep routine or sleep habits that are conducive to promoting good quality sleep and daytime alertness (1). This guide is intended to empower you to try several different sleep hygiene methods to improve your sleep naturally as you build healthier routines and habits that work for you. Why getting a good night’s sleep is important Sleep can make a huge difference to your overall health and wellbeing, making it one of the most important things to optimise in any health journey. Think about a time when you were sleep deprived – it's likely you didn’t feel like exercising, didn’t make the healthiest food choices, and had trouble concentrating and staying focused. Effects of lack of sleep When you don’t get enough quality sleep, it can disrupt your body’s ability to regulate glucose and increase your chance of glucose spikes and dips (2).  Dysregulated glucose can lead to fluctuations in mood and energy (3), cravings for starchy foods, and an increased risk of overeating (4). These foods then further disrupt your glucose. And so, the cycle continues. Poor sleep can also result in a reduced ability to fend off illness (5). While these are the short-term effects of sleep deprivation, a lack of sleep can also have a long-term impact on your health and wellbeing. Long-term consequences of sleep disruption in otherwise healthy individuals include hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease, weight-related issues, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer (10, 11). Poor sleep has also been tied to an increased risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease (12). 8 ways to improve your sleep Here are our tips to set yourself up for a successful night of sleep. 1. Wind down your caffeine intake Your meal or snack choices can have a significant impact on your sleep. You might be aware that you should avoid stimulants such as coffee, some teas, and dark chocolate before bed as the caffeine can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Everyone metabolises caffeine differently. One person may be fine with their third coffee later in the day, while another may not be OK with even one coffee in the morning. To ensure a peaceful night’s rest, try cutting out caffeine at least six hours before bed and switching to decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas in the afternoon and evening. 2. Learn how different meal choices affect you Your meal choices throughout the day, and particularly around dinner time, can lead to dysregulated glucose beyond typical glucose spikes. This can make it harder to fall asleep and also disturb sleep quality (5, 6). Prioritise protein, fats, and fibrous vegetables as you reduce the amount of carbs on your plate. This helps to maintain steady glucose levels. Personalised coaching, such as that provided through Lingo, can help guide you towards making better meal choices, help motivate you, and help keep you on track with this crucial element of your sleep health. 3. Create a relaxing sleep environment Make your bedroom a calm, comfortable space that promotes restful sleep. Consider things like comfortable bedding, blackout curtains or an eye mask, or a white noise machine to help create your perfect sleep environment. These seemingly small touches can make a big difference. Avoid unnecessary clutter, as this can create a chaotic environment, which is not conducive to relaxation. Try to avoid working in your bedroom, as your brain starts associating the space with productivity and stress rather than relaxation and rest. 4. Limit screens before bed The blue light emitted by screens can suppress production of the sleep hormone melatonin and interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. So, it’s best to avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bed, or switch to audio-only content like podcasts (but make sure the topic is relaxing!). If you’re used to replying to emails or studying in the evening, this might require setting a hard deadline. If your schedule doesn't allow for that much time between screen and sleep, consider installing a blue light filter for your screen and/or investing in blue light-blocking glasses. An additional issue with screens is that the content you’re viewing can be very stimulating, thereby increasing brain activity even if you feel relaxed and comforted at the time. Try to avoid watching TV and movies, playing video games, and scrolling through social media right before bed. Instead, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or listen to music or a podcast. 5. Avoid alcohol later in your day It’s a common misconception that alcohol helps you sleep. However, while alcohol might help you fall asleep quicker, imbibing leads to a more restless and disrupted sleep, creating a greater likelihood of waking up during the night. Alcohol before bed can drive a reduction in REM sleep, the phase of sleep that is crucial for dreaming, memory consolidation, and emotional regulation. Look to replace your evening cocktail or glass of wine with one of the following: Herbal teas: chamomile, valerian root, and lemon balm are all known for their natural calming properties. Golden milk (turmeric latte): blend milk with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and a touch of honey for a comforting drink with anti-inflammatory properties. 6. Practice relaxation techniques While prioritising sleep is important all the time, it’s essential when you’re feeling overwhelmed. When you’re overly stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, also known as the “fight or flight” hormone. Too much cortisol can not only affect your glucose, but also disrupt your sleep patterns. High cortisol levels have been linked to insomnia, waking up during the night, and less sleep time overall (8). Although it may be hard to get the quality sleep you need when you’re stressed, take time to relax and wind down before bed. You’ll feel better the next day. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help to ease your mind and reduce your stress levels before bed. A simple breath technique involves inhaling slowly for a count of four and exhaling smoothly for a count of four. 7. Write down your thoughts If you feel anxious or worried about the next day, take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts or worries on a notepad next to your bed. You may even find it useful to write down your top three priorities for the next day. This can help you clear your mind and unwind. It can also be comforting to make note of three things you are grateful for. This practice can help shift your stress and help you feel ready for sleep. 8. Follow a bedtime routine (sleep hygiene) A consistent bedtime routine can signal to your body that it's time to wind down and get ready for sleep. This can include things like taking a warm bath, reading a book, or some light stretching. It’s also a good idea to wake up around the same time every day and get exposure to natural sunlight within the first couple hours of waking up to set your circadian rhythm. Use these tips as inspiration to create a regular routine that can significantly improve your sleep quality. Even making one or two adjustments can have a positive impact on both your sleep and your glucose. A final note from Lingo Quality sleep is paramount for overall health and wellbeing. The relationship between sleep and glucose is powerful, and when disrupted, has a wide array of health consequences. It’s beneficial to work towards better sleep to support your mood, energy, immune health, and more (10). Achieving better sleep requires a personalised approach, and Lingo is here to support you at every step.

 
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Simple solutions to manage hunger

When working to maintain a healthy lifestyle, sometimes hunger can be hard to curb.  But with the right planning, you'll be in the driver's seat and back in control. Plan ahead One of the best ways to manage your hunger is to plan ahead. This means having high-protein, high-fibre snacks and meals readily available to combat hunger when it comes. When you are hungry and your glucose is low, you are more likely to want sugary, high-carb foods. Balance Your Meals For dinner, build the perfect glucose-friendly plate. What does that look like? It’s simple maths: a quarter protein, a quarter carbohydrate (whole grains or starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, beetroot and squash), and half non-starchy vegetables (like spinach, broccoli, asparagus and tomatoes). Make enough to have healthy leftovers the next day. Drink plenty of water Sometimes, when you feel hungry, you might just be thirsty. Drinking water can help you reduce your urge to snack on unhealthy foods. As a starting point, try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. If you want to add some flavour to your water, you can infuse it with fruit or herbs, like lemon or mint. (1) Take Time Out  Check in with yourself and ask, “is this hunger or something else?”. In other words, are you stressed, bored, frustrated, or tired? If your hunger is tied to low energy levels and a dip in glucose, follow the Fundamentals and refuel. If your hunger is actually something else, try to change things up. Get up and go on a walk, read a book, or listen to some music until the feelings pass. This gives you space to think more clearly and make better decisions about your food choices.

 
Image for Why you’re always feeling hungry: 9 reasons from a nutritionist

Why you’re always feeling hungry: 9 reasons from a nutritionist

Sometimes, it can feel difficult to interpret why you feel hungry all the time, especially if hunger strikes soon after you’ve eaten. This can be particularly frustrating when you’re making a conscious effort to choose healthier foods or manage your weight. If this all sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone There are many possible reasons that could be causing you to have an increased appetite or seemingly insatiable hunger. What you eat and drink may be the main culprit because of the effect they have on your glucose. Although stress, sleep, exercise, and other lifestyle factors can also contribute to feeling hungry more often. Types of hunger Physical hunger is straightforward: hunger cues arise, and when you eat, the feeling resolves. Hunger is commonly signalled by a growling stomach, but may also feel like low energy, inability to focus, light-headedness, or dizziness. This type of hunger is initiated by a physiological need for energy, which increases the hormone ghrelin in the bloodstream, a messenger that signals you feel hungry and need to eat. In simple terms, your body is nearing “E” and the light switches on to notify you to refuel. But humans are complex and live in dynamic environments where you may not “feel” hungry or realise that your body is signalling hunger and needs food. Likewise, you eat for reasons other than physical hunger. Hedonic hunger, on the other hand, is the term used for hunger without a caloric need. (1) This may arise from habits, boredom, or your environment. This is often the reason for feeling hungry frequently. Connection between glucose and hunger Glucose and hunger are tightly intertwined. When glucose levels dip, this is one of the main reasons for true physical hunger. However, a glucose spike, followed by a drop, can cue the same feeling of hunger when you don’t need the calories. Meals or snacks that are carb-heavy or sugar-laden can rapidly raise your glucose levels in your blood, followed by a large surge in insulin, which often causes a huge glucose crash. Rapid glucose swings (or low glucose) may leave you experiencing the tell-tale signs of a crash: fatigue, irritability, and, you guessed it, hunger — even after eating a big meal. 9 reasons why you feel hungry all the time 1. You're not eating enough If your goal is to lose weight, don’t slash your calorie intake too low, or undereat during weekdays to then overeat on weekends during planned “cheat days.” If you’re experimenting with ways to steady your glucose, you may be tempted to cut out carbs and sugar, but decreasing calories too far without consuming enough healthy fats and protein can not only leave you feeling hungry, but also hinder your progress. While you might experience hunger when eating in an intentional calorie deficit, you may need to experiment with your meals and snacks to find what keeps you satisfied while staying on track. Gradual weight loss is feasible through a small calorie reduction of 20%, or around 500 calories a day, although this will depend on the person. Make sure you fill up with protein, healthy fats, and fibrous vegetables to help with satiety. 2. You're active Working out increases your need for energy. Certain types of exercise like higher-intensity workouts or harder efforts can blunt your appetite for a short period of time immediately afterwards, but then come back with a vengeance. This is simply your muscles asking for more fuel. If you exercise regularly, you may notice that you need to eat more at meals or eat more frequently than others around you who aren’t as active, and this is normal. To ensure you're recovering and refueling after workouts, consume a balance of protein, fats, complex carbs, and rehydrate with fluids. 3. You're missing the mark on protein Protein is satiating, meaning you’ll feel more satisfied for longer after eating more of this important macronutrient. If you feel hungry soon after meals, crave sweets in the afternoon, or need dessert after dinner, you may not be eating enough protein. Prioritise protein with all meals and snacks, aiming for at least 30 grams of protein at meals and at least 15 grams of protein at snacks, up to a daily goal of 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight. This would be 105-140 grams of protein daily for a 70 kg individual. In the morning, break the fast with 30 grams of protein at your first meal, and observe if your hunger stays at bay (and steadies your glucose). 4. You're not getting enough sleep Research shows that people eat more following periods of sleeping less. (2) Staying up late may result in snacking to try to stay awake, and short sleep durations of less than 6 hours can leave you feeling hungrier than if you got enough shuteye. Inadequate sleep has been shown to alter the appetite regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. (3) 5. You're fearing fat Like protein, fat is extremely satiating. There is no need to fear healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butters, and plant oils such as olive and coconut oil (refined vegetable oils like those in high-calorie snack foods should be limited). Adding healthy fats to your diet will keep you fuller for longer, help to steady glucose, and curb hunger. Mix almond butter into morning oatmeal, dress a salad with olive oil and lemon juice, snack on olives and cheese, or add mixed nuts and seeds to Greek yoghurt. 6. You're forgetting fibre Fibre is filling because it slows digestion, causing food to remain in your stomach for longer. Since fibre isn’t digested but is passed through your GI tract, it fills you up for fewer calories and delays the rise in glucose from your meal. Low-fibre carbohydrates (such as candies, cakes, biscuits, chips, pretzels, desserts) are typically high in simple sugars, which causes rapid rises in glucose. Not getting enough fibre or eating lower fibre foods that are high in sugars and cause a crash could be why you feel hungry. Some fibre-rich foods include raspberries, almonds, avocado, chia seeds, and beans. 7. You're stressed out Stress causes a rise in the stress hormone cortisol, which elevates glucose. This can leave you feeling hungry and reaching for sugary and high-carb comfort foods. While these foods may resolve physical hunger, it doesn’t curb feeling stressed. Sure, you may feel happy after eating certain foods, but this can be short-lived as it’s just appeasing the reward centres in your brain, especially if you reach for ultra-processed foods with a lot of sugar and carbs. (4) Plus, eating sugar-laden processed foods spikes your glucose, leading to a crash and perpetuating the cravings for more high-carb comfort foods. Instead, plan for three stress-reducing tactics you can implement when you’re stressed out and craving comfort food. For example, breathing exercises, taking a 10-minute walk outside, or writing down five things you’re grateful for. 8. Your environment isn't helpful The power of suggestion is strong. Studies show you eat more of what is in front of you, which can either help or hinder your nutrition. (5) How is your environment set up? Try clearing your kitchen countertops of snacks and treats and leave only a fruit bowl. In your fridge and cupboards, make the healthy choice the easy choice by placing cut vegetables, nuts and seeds, low-sugar yoghurt, lean jerky, and other healthy foods front and centre. 9. Your menstrual cycle Women of reproductive age may notice differences in hunger levels throughout their normal menstrual cycle. Specifically, in the luteal phase (second half of cycle around days 14-28), hormones are naturally higher, which can influence hunger and cravings for sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods. (6) Females of perimenopausal age may also notice differences in appetite regulation, due to changing levels of estrogen. (7) Prioritise protein and fill up on healthy fats to work with your physiology instead of against it. Managing feeling hungry all the time If you feel like you’re hungry all the time, check the above list and see if any of the reasons apply to you. The best way to satisfy hunger is to eat, and different meals and snacks will have a unique impact on your hunger. It’s best to test out several different food combos to see which choices curb your hunger the best and leave you truly satisfied and satiated. A balanced approach that combines plenty of vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats will keep you fuller and steady your glucose. Devices like the Lingo biosensor can also help you assess your feelings of hunger and make the best choices for your unique physiology. Lingo is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that connects to your smartphone and pairs with a coaching app to help you establish healthy habits. Lingo gives you a window into your glucose responses to the foods you eat and can help you make the best choices for not only your hunger, but also your overall metabolic health with real time coaching. A final note from Lingo Decoding your feelings of hunger isn’t always so straightforward and requires understanding your body's cues, assessing your lifestyle habits, and recognising the impact your choices have. Even if you’re building healthier habits or trying to lose weight, you don’t need to remain hungry. Instead, focus on eating enough protein, fibre, and healthy fats, managing stress, and building additional healthy habits that work for you. Systems like Lingo, which use a continuous glucose monitor, can also give you a window into your glucose levels to help you understand why you might be experiencing frequent hunger.

 
Image for How exercise can flatten your glucose curve

How exercise can flatten your glucose curve

Fitting things into a busy day is difficult. So, don’t worry if you haven’t had time to get a full workout in, as there are plenty of ways to incorporate shorter, time-friendly exercises throughout your hectic day. When you exercise, your body uses glucose for energy. This helps keep you steady, particularly after meals, and helps maintain your muscle and aerobic capacity. (1) Movement like yoga may also help reduce stress, which could further impact your glucose. (2) Make a goal to exercise after each meal this week. Consistency is important. Just 15-20 minutes of light walking each day can have a positive impact on your health. If it gets your body moving, it doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do. Whether you walk the dog, take a dance class, or get on the treadmill – any activity is good. If you can’t find time to exercise, try to fit in some smaller activities throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Park your car farther away. If you’re taking public transport, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Little changes can make a big difference.

 
Image for 10 marathon tips from a performance nutritionist

10 marathon tips from a performance nutritionist

Running a marathon is a feat that less than 1% of people attempt in their lifetime. Whether your goal is just to make it across the finish line or put up a new personal best, we’ve got some tips to help you. The average marathon runner crosses the finish line between 4:30 and 5:00 hours, but the body can only store around 90 minutes of carbohydrates to fuel hard-working muscles. Whilst running, your body burns a mixture of fats and carbohydrates with pace and fitness influencing the exact blend of fuel. And, because marathons are a longer duration, some protein will be oxidised, too. You can put in work during training to train your body to burn fat at higher intensities (become more fit and spare glycogen), but to finish strong, you need to implement a fuelling plan. Prepare your gut by practising this plan, including both nutrition and hydration, well ahead of time to increase the chances of a successful race. 10 tips from a performance nutritionist Don’t break the cardinal rule of sports nutrition: never try anything new on race day As a runner, you may also be an adventurous foodie, but race week is not a time to try all the food samples at the race expo nor new foods you encounter while exploring the city hosting the race. Likewise, race day is not the time to try out a new breakfast or anything new on-course in terms of your nutrition or hydration. Instead, stick to foods that worked well and provided steady energy and gut comfort during training. Ideally, going into the race, you should know how your body will respond to your tried-and-true pre-run meal as well as any fuel you plan to take during the race. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can be used in training to help you avoid dips in energy and instead add enough fuel to make high performance a reality. Check on course nutrition Water is provided at many points along the course, and most races also provide sports drinks, electrolyte beverages, and carbohydrate-rich gels. Research what products your race will provide and if you plan on utilising on-course products, make sure you try them first during your long training runs to see if they work for you. A CGM like Lingo can be used to assess how nutrition products are impacting your energy during your run and if you need to add more or less to maintain glucose (energy) levels and pace. Remember to have a backup plan if the on-course products don’t work for you or are not available (or you run past them by accident). Practice your hydration plan The buildup to spring races often calls for training in cooler weather, so as race day approaches, be sure to keep an eye on the forecast. You can’t control what the weather will be, but you can be prepared to dial up or down your fluids and electrolytes. A 2018 study on London Marathon runners found a ~3% detriment to finish time for every 5 °C increase in temperature above 12 °C. (1) This means in warmer temps, you may be on course for longer. Bring a bottle and plan to refill on course, the few extra seconds it will take are worth it. Drink early and often while being cautious not to overhydrate. Replace the electrolytes you are losing in sweat by relying on electrolyte powders (like Abbott’s Pedialyte Sport Powder Packs) during training and racing, simply adding to your water bottle. Set alerts on your watch or phone every 15-20 minutes to take a few sips. Drinking to thirst may work for some, and others may need to rely on programmed drinking. Train your gut Muscles powering your run typically rely on glucose. Trained individuals that consume carbohydrates in their daily diet can store around 90 minutes of fuel before needing to eat or drink during a run. But you’ll want to start replacing burnt fuel well before you hit the 90-minute mark. Practice fuelling during training runs by consuming 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (some athletes need more and can work up to 90+ grams per hour). (2) Experiment with nutrition and hydration products that you like, can tolerate, and can carry. CGM data can be useful to see how products steady or spike your glucose and if your glucose increases to a level where you are able to maintain pace and performance. Alternatively, if you’re used to fasted training or strictly follow a ketogenic diet and are more metabolically flexible, generalised carbohydrate recommendations may far surpass your needs and tolerance. When adding in fuel, you may opt for a product with slow-release carbohydrates or even sources of fat when needed. Again, CGMs can help guide you providing insights that connect energy levels and performance with glucose trends. Strength train to get fast and avoid injury Running a marathon means training will consist of mostly, well, running. But no training plan is complete without strength training, which can help make you a faster runner and reduce risk of injuries. (3) Additionally, strength training promotes metabolic adaptations in skeletal muscle, (4) helping to improve how efficiently your body uses glucose and fats for fuel. Not only is this advantageous to your running performance, but healthy skeletal muscle is also at the foundation of optimising metabolic health. (5) Rest and recovery Arguably the most difficult part of a training plan is allowing your body to rest so that it can become stronger. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and runners may need more. (6) Sleep ensures physical restoration and also supports optimal metabolic function during the day. (7) Recovery nutrition timing In addition to sleep, nutrient timing plays a critical role in recovery. Within an hour (preferably sooner) of finishing a workout or race, be sure to prioritise refuelling and rehydration. Replace fluid losses by drinking water and electrolytes (mixed into water or from salty foods and potassium from fruits and vegetables) and replenish energy stores with a snack or small meal that includes high-quality carbohydrates (berries and low-sugar granola to accompany Greek yoghurt, or whole grain pancakes to accompany eggs). Last but not least, be sure to prioritise protein. This hard-working nutrient helps keep glucose steady as you recover and is critical for stopping muscle breakdown and jumpstarting muscle repair and growth. Be sure to add in at least 30 grams of protein soon after your sweat session is complete. Dress rehearsal At least one long run during your training should be a full dress rehearsal, beginning the evening before the long run with a dinner that mimics what you’ll be eating before the race. Practice this tried-and-true dinner, allowing plenty of time (2-3 hours) to digest before falling asleep. Eating increases glucose, metabolic rate, heart rate, and body temp, but the opposite scenario needs to be happening to slide into quality sleep. The morning of the long run, wake up and eat the same foods, quantities, and timing that you plan to implement on race day. Because your glucose will rise and then fall following your meal, avoid consuming foods in the 30-90 minutes before setting out. You can either back up the clock and fuel early before the race or fuel as you run, utilising sports drinks, gels, and whatever fuel source you prefer. After fuelling, begin your run at race start time and test planned nutrition and hydration. Skip the night-before pasta dinner – unless it’s just to socialise You’ll need to top off your dinner place with carbohydrates to complement your pre-race carb load, but it’s best to stick to familiar foods at this important meal. Restaurant food portions can be much larger than you’re used to, sending your glucose spiking and disrupting an important night of sleep. Pre-race “carb loading” has merit, and you can simplify this process by continuing to eat your typical balanced meals the week (days) leading up to your race, making sure there’s high-quality carbs at every meal and snack. While your training tapers, these nutrients that would have been used to fuel your runs will be stored instead. Recovery nutrition at the finish line You’ve strategically fuelled across training and throughout the entire race, but just as you cross the finish line, you’ve got one more stop before the celebration begins. Take a moment for nutritional recovery. Your body is primed to utilise nutrients during the post-race window so take advantage of increased blood flow to muscles. Pack a protein shake in your drop bag at the finish line or ask your supportive fan crew to bring one along. Replenish, recover, and rehydrate with protein and fluids at the finish, then make your way to enjoy a celebratory meal. Bonus tip: Trust your training and HAVE FUN! A final note from Lingo The right nutrition is arguably one of the most important tools in your marathon training kit. And with Lingo, you can peek behind the curtain and know if the fuel you’re using is the right choice for you and your performance goals. Experiment with different sources of energy and lean on Lingo to learn if your nutrition plan is keeping your glucose steady and adequate to fuel your performance. Map out what works; the types, amounts, and timing of nutrients and fluids taken during your run and in the recovery hours. Soon, you’ll have mapped out a failsafe plan for race day.

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Image for 18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

With the start of a new year around the corner, many people gear up to set their New Year’s resolutions. Not surprisingly, “lose weight” and “get in shape” tend to be at the top of people’s lists each year; a poll from Forbes in October 2023 (1) found that 48% of respondents reported “improved fitness” as their resolution, and 34% reported “lose weight.” While improving your health is an admirable goal to tackle, putting New Year’s resolutions in these vague terms often doesn’t set you up for success. Getting in shape, losing weight, prioritising your health, improving your wellness — these all require a multi-pronged approach that involves setting habits, lifestyle changes, and being consistent. The decision to improve your well-being is the first step, but it’s important to take any New Year’s resolution and put it into the context of goal setting. To achieve your goals, it’s a good idea to map out the actions you’ll need to take. Instead of just promising yourself that you’ll improve your health and well-being in 2024, plan to take concrete steps in the right direction. Below, we’ve outlined some New Year’s resolutions that will benefit your overall well-being as well as tangible tips you can incorporate. Remember: progress is better than perfection, and establishing gradual habits and being consistent will help you achieve your goals. New Year's Resolution Ideas for Wellness and Well-being 1. Move more Whether you are an avid exerciser or just starting to think about getting more activity in your day, setting a goal to move more can be a great way to improve your health (2). Since many adults have desk jobs, they often spend most of their day sitting and not moving much, even if they are regular exercisers. In fact, it’s the movement that you do outside of a formal workout that really adds up to benefit your overall health. (3,4) Finding time to move throughout the day may also help lift your mood and can help keep your glucose steady, which is key for metabolic health and long-term well-being. (5) Studies have shown that even short breaks taken throughout the day to stand up or go on a brief walk can help to keep glucose steady, especially following meals (6). Action ideas: Set a timer on your phone to stand up for at least 5 minutes every hour. Take short, 5-minute walking breaks between meetings. Plan a 10–20-minute walk after lunch. Walk with your partner, family, or friend after dinner — or take the dog for a solo stroll. Take some of your meetings on the phone while walking (outdoors or on a treadmill). Aim to increase your step count by 2,000 – 3,000 per day (7) 2. Choose more whole foods As life gets busy, it can be easy to grab convenience processed foods that are pre-packaged and shelf stable. However, these ultra-processed foods can negatively impact our health and well-being. Not only are they low in nutrients, but they are designed to be highly palatable so that you’ll eat more of them. (8) These processed foods are high in sugar, calories, and other additives that make it tough to stop eating them and recognise our fullness cues, which leads to glucose spikes that affect our mood, energy, and sleep (9). Setting a goal to reduce the amount of ultraprocessed foods you eat can be a great way to prioritise your health for the New Year. Think of ultraprocessed foods as those found in boxes and bags, often have a long shelf life, and usually made with a lot of ingredients, including unfamiliar additives. Some examples are breakfast cereals, pretzels, crisps, sodas, instant noodles, oven pizzas, ready meals, and packaged desserts. Action ideas: Make a grocery list before heading to the store and stick to foods on the perimeter (most ultra-processed foods are found in the centre aisles). Plan a day of the week to meal prep so you always have quick options on hand. Batch cook proteins, vegetables, and whole grains ahead of time to quickly throw together meals. Swap refined grains for whole grains: buy whole-grain bread over white and add items like quinoa and rolled-oats to your diet. Try a new vegetable each week: Find a recipe and try something new to add more variety to your meals. Once you find something you like, you can add it to your regular routine. 3. Reduce stress While setting a goal to “reduce stress” may seem vague, studies have shown that increased stress can impact the way we eat, setting us up for other metabolic and health-related issues. (10) Chronic stress also negatively impacts your well-being in other ways such as interfering with sleep, concentration, and mental health. (11-13) Finding small ways to reduce stress can have a big impact on your overall well-being and may even help keep your glucose steady, which can have a huge impact on things like energy, mood, and cravings. (8) While you can’t erase all stress from your life and there are some things beyond your control, taking some time to unwind and destress each day can lead to major improvements. (14) Action ideas: Set aside 10 minutes to meditate. Look for guided meditations online or with an app. If meditating isn’t for you, try breathing exercises. Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing exercises specifically improve cortisol levels and people report less stress. (15) Spend 20-30 minutes outdoors. Research shows that spending 2 hours weekly in nature (city greenspaces count, too) can improve stress levels. (16) Whether you go for a walk, bike ride, or just sit in the sun (with SPF!), tune in to your environment and appreciate your surroundings. Try a yoga practice, whether a flow at home or a class in a studio. Cultivate gratitude. Each day, write down a few things that you are grateful for. Studies show that people who practice gratitude feel happier and have stronger relationships. (17) 4. Improve sleep quality Sleep is a crucial aspect to our health and well-being, yet it’s the one thing many people sacrifice if they are busy or overwhelmed. It has been shown that getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night is related to a wide range of health complications such diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression, and obesity. (18) Setting a goal to prioritise sleep can be a great way to improve your physical and mental health and has also been shown to be a major factor in glucose stability. (19) Although achieving quality sleep may be easier said than done, you can set yourself up for a restful night with these tips. Action Ideas: Set a reminder on your phone a couple hours before bedtime to start winding down: turn down lights, avoid screens, and take a bath or read a book to help prepare your body for sleep. Finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to give your food time to digest before you lay down. Limit alcohol before bed and swap for a calming beverage like herbal teas or golden milk. Set a bedtime to allow 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and crawl into bed earlier to fall asleep earlier. (20) Check out our guide to sleep better for more ideas. A final note from Lingo As we approach 2024, it’s a perfect time to reflect and set goals for the year to come. Envisioning your future self is a great way to identify the areas you want to focus on. While going into the new year with optimism is a great starting point, it is also important to identify the actions you will take to make that future self a reality. Even though you don’t have to announce your goals to the world, it’s important to have something to keep you personally accountable for what you set out to achieve. Tracking your progress can be a great way to do this, and Lingo’s biosensor can help you track your glucose patterns and encourage healthy choices towards improving your metabolic health and overall well-being.

 
Image for Why is losing weight after 40 harder? Advice from a Lingo Dietitian

Why is losing weight after 40 harder? Advice from a Lingo Dietitian

Why is it that after about age 40, it seems those extra pounds start creeping on and it’s harder to shed extra weight? In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons it may be harder to maintain a healthy weight after 40 and effective strategies to either maintain your weight or lose weight and improve body composition. How hormones impact your weight As we get older, for both men and women, hormones levels such as testosterone and oestrogen gradually start to shift. For women, this tends to be more of a dramatic shift. Many women report that it can be hard to not only lose weight but maintain the weight they stayed at for years. This change in body composition and weight is typically associated with menopause when there is a dramatic shift in hormones. However, menopause does not happen overnight. It is typically a gradual shift from perimenopause, which is when women first start to see irregularity in their menstrual cycles and may experience other symptoms such as sleep disturbances, to menopause, which is 12 months after a women’s last period (1). Weight loss or even weight maintenance can feel harder during these years, which is typically around age 40 to 55 and lasts on average around 7 years, but can last as long as 14 years for some women. (2,3) A change in hormones does not just happen to women as they age, but for men as well. While the side effects may not be as dramatic, the gradual decrease in testosterone can also make it more challenging for men to maintain muscle or lose weight. (3,4) Why you may struggle to lose weight One impact of the shift in hormones as you age is a natural decline in lean body mass (aka muscle). It has been shown that the ageing body needs more stimulus to maintain and build muscle than it does at a younger age. (5) What does this mean? There are two main components to building and maintaining muscle: Using the muscle (e.g. strength training) Eating enough protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Does the chicken come before the egg? As people get older, they tend to be less active. Is this decrease in activity because of muscle loss? Or is the muscle loss because we decreased activity? Likely both. Hormone shifts can contribute to the loss of lean mass, and the decrease in activity also creates less stimuli for the body to maintain the muscle it has, much less build any new muscle. The way our body metabolises protein can change also as we get older. Studies have shown that muscle protein synthesis (MPS), or how much protein our body needs to stimulate muscle growth, increases as we age. (6) To put it simply, you need more protein to stimulate muscle growth than you did when you were 20. Because of these changes, not only does it seem like it’s harder to maintain or lose weight, but you also may notice that your overall body composition is changing. If nothing is done to mitigate this, you can start to lose muscle mass while putting on fat mass. On top of the physiological changes that happen with age, many adults over 40 may experience lifestyle shifts that can impact weight management. Taking care of children, a stressful job, or other life changes can impact things like sleep, eating habits and activity compared to when you were younger. Studies show that poor sleep can impact your metabolic health and promote weight gain. (7) Additionally, chronic stress can impact weight management by disrupting the body’s hunger and fullness signals and a change in eating habits that induce weight gain. (8,9) So we've covered the major reasons why your weight may change as you get older, or why it may be harder to lose weight after 40, but what can you actually do about it? The good news is, there are several strategies that you can use to effectively lose weight no matter if you are in your 40s, 50s, or older. Tips to manage weight after 40 Prioritise protein Eating enough high-quality protein is one of the most important things you can focus on as you get older. Protein will help you maintain lean muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest than fat, meaning you can eat more and maintain your weight. It also helps to keep you full, meaning you are less likely to crave the carb-heavy, sugary, and calorie-rich foods that make weight management harder. Remember that you’ll need more protein for it to trigger all these beneficial effects. Aim for 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight daily, with at least 30 g per meal to maximise muscle protein synthesis. Some high-quality protein sources include salmon, shrimp, chicken, beef, eggs, whey protein powder, cottage cheese, and tofu. Strength train In combination with eating enough protein, strength training is the other major contributor to maintaining and/or losing weight as you age. Lean muscle mass requires more calories to maintain than fat, meaning you can eat more calories (especially calories from protein) and still maintain your weight. Strength training helps your body use the protein you eat more effectively (5) and can also help preserve metabolic health by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood pressure. Stabilise glucose Eating nutrient dense foods that promote stable glucose will help to ensure you are curbing the glucose spikes and crashes that can stimulate hunger and cravings throughout the day. Using your Lingo CGM can help to identify the foods that help you minimise glucose spikes and maintain your energy throughout the day. Check out more information on how to avoid glucose spikes here. Try time restricted eating Sleep and stress can impact your circadian alignment, which may increase your risk for weight gain and metabolic consequences with age. One way to combat this is a type of intermittent fasting called Time Restricted Eating (TRE). TRE means restricting your food intake to specific periods of the day to synchronize your body's internal clock with your external environment. Set a specific time frame, usually lasting about 8-12 hours, in which you will only eat within that period. For example, you may eat breakfast at 9-10 a.m. and dinner around 5-7 p.m. with lunch and/or snacks in between, but limit any other food outside of that window, especially 2-3 hours before bed. TRE has been found to help with weight loss and improve metabolic health such as improved insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. (10, 11) Cut out or decrease alcohol intake When trying to lose weight, alcohol ends up being empty calories that your body must burn before it can metabolise fat or carbs. What does this mean? You may end up storing the food you are eating because your body can’t store alcohol and puts fat and carb metabolism on the back burner. Additionally, depending on the type of alcohol you consume, it can impact your glucose by increasing or decreasing it, which subjects you to the effects of the glucose roller coaster. This can impact hunger, fullness, and your ability to maintain stable glucose. Lastly, alcohol may lower your inhibitions making it harder to choose glucose-friendly food choices. (16) When trying to lose weight, it may be best to limit or cut out alcohol altogether. Limit ultra-processed foods and focus on whole foods Along with stabilising your glucose, focusing on whole foods and limiting ultra-processed foods can help you manage your weight as you get older. It has been shown that people eat an average of 500 more calories per day when the food is highly processed vs. minimally processed. (12) Not only are you missing out on important nutrients when you eat highly processed food, but this can lead to weight gain in as little as two weeks when compared to eating a diet of unprocessed foods. (12) Focusing on food quality is one of the best things you can do. (13) Keep your ultra-processed food consumption to a minimum, and aim for your diet to consist of primarily whole foods such as: - Fresh or frozen meat and seafood - Vegetables, especially non-starchy veggies and leafy greens - Unprocessed carbohydrates such as beans, legumes, and whole grains - Dairy like milk, yoghurt, and cheese - Healthy plant-based fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds Get quality sleep Poor sleep can impact not only weight, but also your glucose, metabolic health and overall mood and energy. (14) The NHS recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Having trouble getting quality sleep? Check out our tips for improving sleep and getting a good night’s rest. Manage stress Finding ways to relieve stress can not only help you manage your weight but can also lead to other benefits like reduced blood pressure and more steady glucose. (15) Identify ways you can destress, which may be different for everyone. Find something that works for you: breathing exercises, yoga, walking in nature, journaling, practising gratitude, or taking a warm bath or shower are all things you can implement to reduce daily stress. A final note from Lingo While getting older means your hormones and lifestyle may change, you can still work with them to reach your body composition goals. By focusing on the foods you eat, working to maintain and/or build muscle, and looking at your overall lifestyle including sleep and stress, you can still lose weight in your 40s and beyond.

8 minutes 
Image for Why is losing weight after 40 harder? Advice from a Lingo Dietitian

Why is losing weight after 40 harder? Advice from a Lingo Dietitian

Why is it that after about age 40, it seems those extra pounds start creeping on and it’s harder to shed extra weight? In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons it may be harder to maintain a healthy weight after 40 and effective strategies to either maintain your weight or lose weight and improve body composition. How hormones impact your weight As we get older, for both men and women, hormones levels such as testosterone and oestrogen gradually start to shift. For women, this tends to be more of a dramatic shift. Many women report that it can be hard to not only lose weight but maintain the weight they stayed at for years. This change in body composition and weight is typically associated with menopause when there is a dramatic shift in hormones. However, menopause does not happen overnight. It is typically a gradual shift from perimenopause, which is when women first start to see irregularity in their menstrual cycles and may experience other symptoms such as sleep disturbances, to menopause, which is 12 months after a women’s last period (1). Weight loss or even weight maintenance can feel harder during these years, which is typically around age 40 to 55 and lasts on average around 7 years, but can last as long as 14 years for some women. (2,3) A change in hormones does not just happen to women as they age, but for men as well. While the side effects may not be as dramatic, the gradual decrease in testosterone can also make it more challenging for men to maintain muscle or lose weight. (3,4) Why you may struggle to lose weight One impact of the shift in hormones as you age is a natural decline in lean body mass (aka muscle). It has been shown that the ageing body needs more stimulus to maintain and build muscle than it does at a younger age. (5) What does this mean? There are two main components to building and maintaining muscle: Using the muscle (e.g. strength training) Eating enough protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Does the chicken come before the egg? As people get older, they tend to be less active. Is this decrease in activity because of muscle loss? Or is the muscle loss because we decreased activity? Likely both. Hormone shifts can contribute to the loss of lean mass, and the decrease in activity also creates less stimuli for the body to maintain the muscle it has, much less build any new muscle. The way our body metabolises protein can change also as we get older. Studies have shown that muscle protein synthesis (MPS), or how much protein our body needs to stimulate muscle growth, increases as we age. (6) To put it simply, you need more protein to stimulate muscle growth than you did when you were 20. Because of these changes, not only does it seem like it’s harder to maintain or lose weight, but you also may notice that your overall body composition is changing. If nothing is done to mitigate this, you can start to lose muscle mass while putting on fat mass. On top of the physiological changes that happen with age, many adults over 40 may experience lifestyle shifts that can impact weight management. Taking care of children, a stressful job, or other life changes can impact things like sleep, eating habits and activity compared to when you were younger. Studies show that poor sleep can impact your metabolic health and promote weight gain. (7) Additionally, chronic stress can impact weight management by disrupting the body’s hunger and fullness signals and a change in eating habits that induce weight gain. (8,9) So we've covered the major reasons why your weight may change as you get older, or why it may be harder to lose weight after 40, but what can you actually do about it? The good news is, there are several strategies that you can use to effectively lose weight no matter if you are in your 40s, 50s, or older. Tips to manage weight after 40 Prioritise protein Eating enough high-quality protein is one of the most important things you can focus on as you get older. Protein will help you maintain lean muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest than fat, meaning you can eat more and maintain your weight. It also helps to keep you full, meaning you are less likely to crave the carb-heavy, sugary, and calorie-rich foods that make weight management harder. Remember that you’ll need more protein for it to trigger all these beneficial effects. Aim for 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight daily, with at least 30 g per meal to maximise muscle protein synthesis. Some high-quality protein sources include salmon, shrimp, chicken, beef, eggs, whey protein powder, cottage cheese, and tofu. Strength train In combination with eating enough protein, strength training is the other major contributor to maintaining and/or losing weight as you age. Lean muscle mass requires more calories to maintain than fat, meaning you can eat more calories (especially calories from protein) and still maintain your weight. Strength training helps your body use the protein you eat more effectively (5) and can also help preserve metabolic health by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood pressure. Stabilise glucose Eating nutrient dense foods that promote stable glucose will help to ensure you are curbing the glucose spikes and crashes that can stimulate hunger and cravings throughout the day. Using your Lingo CGM can help to identify the foods that help you minimise glucose spikes and maintain your energy throughout the day. Check out more information on how to avoid glucose spikes here. Try time restricted eating Sleep and stress can impact your circadian alignment, which may increase your risk for weight gain and metabolic consequences with age. One way to combat this is a type of intermittent fasting called Time Restricted Eating (TRE). TRE means restricting your food intake to specific periods of the day to synchronize your body's internal clock with your external environment. Set a specific time frame, usually lasting about 8-12 hours, in which you will only eat within that period. For example, you may eat breakfast at 9-10 a.m. and dinner around 5-7 p.m. with lunch and/or snacks in between, but limit any other food outside of that window, especially 2-3 hours before bed. TRE has been found to help with weight loss and improve metabolic health such as improved insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. (10, 11) Cut out or decrease alcohol intake When trying to lose weight, alcohol ends up being empty calories that your body must burn before it can metabolise fat or carbs. What does this mean? You may end up storing the food you are eating because your body can’t store alcohol and puts fat and carb metabolism on the back burner. Additionally, depending on the type of alcohol you consume, it can impact your glucose by increasing or decreasing it, which subjects you to the effects of the glucose roller coaster. This can impact hunger, fullness, and your ability to maintain stable glucose. Lastly, alcohol may lower your inhibitions making it harder to choose glucose-friendly food choices. (16) When trying to lose weight, it may be best to limit or cut out alcohol altogether. Limit ultra-processed foods and focus on whole foods Along with stabilising your glucose, focusing on whole foods and limiting ultra-processed foods can help you manage your weight as you get older. It has been shown that people eat an average of 500 more calories per day when the food is highly processed vs. minimally processed. (12) Not only are you missing out on important nutrients when you eat highly processed food, but this can lead to weight gain in as little as two weeks when compared to eating a diet of unprocessed foods. (12) Focusing on food quality is one of the best things you can do. (13) Keep your ultra-processed food consumption to a minimum, and aim for your diet to consist of primarily whole foods such as: - Fresh or frozen meat and seafood - Vegetables, especially non-starchy veggies and leafy greens - Unprocessed carbohydrates such as beans, legumes, and whole grains - Dairy like milk, yoghurt, and cheese - Healthy plant-based fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds Get quality sleep Poor sleep can impact not only weight, but also your glucose, metabolic health and overall mood and energy. (14) The NHS recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Having trouble getting quality sleep? Check out our tips for improving sleep and getting a good night’s rest. Manage stress Finding ways to relieve stress can not only help you manage your weight but can also lead to other benefits like reduced blood pressure and more steady glucose. (15) Identify ways you can destress, which may be different for everyone. Find something that works for you: breathing exercises, yoga, walking in nature, journaling, practising gratitude, or taking a warm bath or shower are all things you can implement to reduce daily stress. A final note from Lingo While getting older means your hormones and lifestyle may change, you can still work with them to reach your body composition goals. By focusing on the foods you eat, working to maintain and/or build muscle, and looking at your overall lifestyle including sleep and stress, you can still lose weight in your 40s and beyond.

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Image for Why meal planning matters

Why meal planning matters

When you hear the words meal preparation, you may envision hours in the kitchen on what is supposed to be a relaxing Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t have to be daunting, and meal preparation has been associated with a quality diet. (1) Meal planning and prep can be broken down into a few easily managed categories. Map out a menu. Taking stock of what you have in the cupboards and what’s on sale at the supermarket, plan out meals for the week, paying close attention to the meals that fall in your Focus Area or eating occasions that tend to derail your steady state. Plan your grocery runs. Make a list to ensure you’ll pick up all the ingredients you need to make your meals for the next few days. In the days that follow, you’ll spend less time and potentially less money as you avoid last-minute supermarket runs. Make quick work of your weekday dinner prep by cleaning and chopping base vegetables like lettuces, onions, carrots, and celery ahead of time. You’ll save time throughout the week when these ingredients are ready to be added to your plate or recipe. Any extra that you don’t use throughout the week can be frozen or stored and used later. Pre-portion your snacks. Rather than reaching for the entire bag of almonds when you’re hungry, portion out your snacks. Portioning snacks can save you calories too. If you know your time is tight this week, prepare a meal that can be frozen and then removed from the freezer and put directly in the slow cooker, similar to slow cooker chicken fajitas recipe. Find aspects of meal preparation that you feel most comfortable with and fit your skill level and time constraints. You might make a week’s worth of dinner meals, a few side dishes, or simply stick to portioning out snacks. Whatever investment you make in meal planning will pay off with less hectic, more balanced meals in the days that follow.

 
Image for Mood boosting foods: Try these 10 foods for good mood & energy

Mood boosting foods: Try these 10 foods for good mood & energy

Increasingly, more research is emerging that supports the mental health benefits of eating a healthy diet, specifically low glycaemic index (GI) diets that are rich in vegetables, fibre, protein, and healthy fats. (1) Conversely, high GI diets are linked to increased risk of mental health disorders, depression, and psychological distress. (2) General mood has been shown to be improved on a high protein, low GI diet when compared to a high GI diet, (3) attributed to the superior diet quality of the low GI diet pattern. For example, in a 2019 study, adults following a low GI diet ate more veggies (around 24 grams of fibre per day), nearly 100 grams of protein per day, and 40% of their calories from fats, and had lower scores for depressive symptoms, mood disturbance, and fatigue. (3) What are the common characteristics of these foods? First, they are low glycaemic index, meaning they have a minimal impact on raising glucose after a meal. Additionally, foods in the diets studied were rich in magnesium, B vitamins, and omega-3 fats, which are key nutrients for the nervous system that affects mood. (2) Further, high fibre foods like vegetables support a healthy gut microbiome, which has implications on mood via a connection called the gut-brain axis. (4) 10 mood-boosting foods: 1. Salmon Fatty fish like salmon not only contain high levels of protein (20 grams of protein per 100-gram portion), salmon is also rich in omega-3 fats, which play a role in brain processes related to the origin of anxiety and depression (5) Lingo tip: Did you know you can cook salmon directly from frozen? Try pan-frying, baking, air frying, or grilling filets directly from the freezer. Just rinse under water, then cook. Finish with seasoning. 2. Blueberries Berries are bursting with anthocyanins, a compound that helps the body overcome stress. (6) Blueberries in particular have been shown to help adults make decisions more quickly and accurately, supporting sharp brain function. (7) The same study also found the single serving of wild blueberries improved glucose and insulin responses to a meal. Plus, blueberries have been shown to increase positive mood in young adults. (8) Lingo tip: Keep frozen berries on hand for smoothies. Or add fresh blueberries to a green salad for a sweet flavour burst. 3. Raspberries These brightly pigmented berries contain several essential micronutrients, dietary fibres, and polyphenolic components, specifically ellagitannins and anthocyanins. They are among the highest whole food sources of dietary fibre, providing 6.5 grams of fibre per 100 gram weight. (9) Lingo tip: Add raspberries to Greek yoghurt for a high-protein snack. 4. Walnuts Walnuts have the ability to improve mood. (10) They contain a number of potentially neuroprotective compounds like vitamin E, folate, melatonin, several antioxidative polyphenols and significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Lingo tip: Keep walnuts on hand for an easy snack – in your desk drawer, purse or book bag, or in your car. 5. Coffee Cognitive benefits from coffee are typically attributed to caffeine, but there are many compounds in coffee that likely have a synergistic effect on mood, including the amino acid L-theanine and chlorogenic acids. Benefits are seen around 100 mg caffeine per day, which is the amount of caffeine in 240 mL (about one cup) of brewed coffee (moderation is up to 400 mg per day). (11) Lingo tip: Glucose responses to caffeine vary by individual, and black coffee generally is the most glucose friendly. If you don't take your coffee black coffee, stick to adding in unsweetened milk and limit added sugars. 6-8. Spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts Folate, the B vitamin in these greens, supports the body making the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are all strongly linked to mental health. (1) What’s more, around 90% of your body's serotonin is made in the gut, (12) which is affected by dietary factors like fibre. In fact, high vegetable intakes (>8 portions per day) is associated with higher positive affect, lower negative affect, and greater eudaemonic well-being. (1) Lingo tip: See how many meals you can add greens to: toss a handful of spinach into scrambled eggs at breakfast, dip broccoli in hummus for a filling snack, have a side of roasted brussels sprouts with your dinner. 9. Fermented foods Microbes found in fermented foods, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species, may influence brain health via direct and indirect pathways. (13) Lingo tip: While Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium, the beneficial bacteria amounts vary by brand. Look for kefir, a drinkable style high-protein yoghurt, sauerkraut, or kimchi as other ways to add fermented foods into your day. 10. *Dark* chocolate The mood and cognition-enhancing effects of cocoa and chocolate are linked to its flavanols, methylxanthines, salsolinol, and orosensory properties. (14) Dark chocolate (85% or greater cacao) acts as a prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria of the gut, which may improve negative emotional states via the gut-brain axis. (15) Lingo tip: Combine mixed nuts with mini dark chocolate chips for a sweet treat. A final note from Lingo Mood and well-being are influenced by a variety of factors; diet is just one of them. And eating a low-glycaemic diet and staying steady can contribute to your overall health and well-being. Using a CGM like Lingo is a tool to understand the relationship between your health and glucose. Tracking your food, exercise, and stress in the app can help you visualise the impact these have on your glucose. Mood is another metric to observe as it relates to the big picture of your health.

 
Image for Reducing fatigue and mood swings with Lingo

Reducing fatigue and mood swings with Lingo

Steady glucose. Steady life. When our diets are packed with simple sugars rather than proteins, vegetables, and fats, our glucose tends to quickly rise and crash, again and again. These intense fluctuations take our energy levels and mood on a wild rollercoaster ride. While many different factors affect our mood and energy levels, Lingo empowers you to find balance and embark on your journey to be your healthiest, best self. A good place to start is by looking closely at what happens to your glucose levels roughly one to one and a half hours after eating a high-sugar meal or snack. Watch as your glucose climbs, then crashes. Note how you feel when your glucose falls rapidly. Are you tired and hungry? Irritable or feeling low? Equally, notice what happens to your glucose after you’ve had a balanced meal or even when you’ve had a balanced meal before that sugary scoop of your favorite ice cream. Notice that your mood improves when your glucose stays steadier? You’re not alone. Research has found that individuals who eat a diet that is high in sugar (the same kind known to lead to glucose highs and lows) are more likely to experience mood disturbances and fatigue compared to those who eat a diet with less simple sugars and carbs.(1) Your glucose rollercoaster will be a much smoother ride when you use personalised insights from Lingo to change your habits, manage your meals and snacks, and work towards your best self yet.

 
Image for 18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

With the start of a new year around the corner, many people gear up to set their New Year’s resolutions. Not surprisingly, “lose weight” and “get in shape” tend to be at the top of people’s lists each year; a poll from Forbes in October 2023 (1) found that 48% of respondents reported “improved fitness” as their resolution, and 34% reported “lose weight.” While improving your health is an admirable goal to tackle, putting New Year’s resolutions in these vague terms often doesn’t set you up for success. Getting in shape, losing weight, prioritising your health, improving your wellness — these all require a multi-pronged approach that involves setting habits, lifestyle changes, and being consistent. The decision to improve your well-being is the first step, but it’s important to take any New Year’s resolution and put it into the context of goal setting. To achieve your goals, it’s a good idea to map out the actions you’ll need to take. Instead of just promising yourself that you’ll improve your health and well-being in 2024, plan to take concrete steps in the right direction. Below, we’ve outlined some New Year’s resolutions that will benefit your overall well-being as well as tangible tips you can incorporate. Remember: progress is better than perfection, and establishing gradual habits and being consistent will help you achieve your goals. New Year's Resolution Ideas for Wellness and Well-being 1. Move more Whether you are an avid exerciser or just starting to think about getting more activity in your day, setting a goal to move more can be a great way to improve your health (2). Since many adults have desk jobs, they often spend most of their day sitting and not moving much, even if they are regular exercisers. In fact, it’s the movement that you do outside of a formal workout that really adds up to benefit your overall health. (3,4) Finding time to move throughout the day may also help lift your mood and can help keep your glucose steady, which is key for metabolic health and long-term well-being. (5) Studies have shown that even short breaks taken throughout the day to stand up or go on a brief walk can help to keep glucose steady, especially following meals (6). Action ideas: Set a timer on your phone to stand up for at least 5 minutes every hour. Take short, 5-minute walking breaks between meetings. Plan a 10–20-minute walk after lunch. Walk with your partner, family, or friend after dinner — or take the dog for a solo stroll. Take some of your meetings on the phone while walking (outdoors or on a treadmill). Aim to increase your step count by 2,000 – 3,000 per day (7) 2. Choose more whole foods As life gets busy, it can be easy to grab convenience processed foods that are pre-packaged and shelf stable. However, these ultra-processed foods can negatively impact our health and well-being. Not only are they low in nutrients, but they are designed to be highly palatable so that you’ll eat more of them. (8) These processed foods are high in sugar, calories, and other additives that make it tough to stop eating them and recognise our fullness cues, which leads to glucose spikes that affect our mood, energy, and sleep (9). Setting a goal to reduce the amount of ultraprocessed foods you eat can be a great way to prioritise your health for the New Year. Think of ultraprocessed foods as those found in boxes and bags, often have a long shelf life, and usually made with a lot of ingredients, including unfamiliar additives. Some examples are breakfast cereals, pretzels, crisps, sodas, instant noodles, oven pizzas, ready meals, and packaged desserts. Action ideas: Make a grocery list before heading to the store and stick to foods on the perimeter (most ultra-processed foods are found in the centre aisles). Plan a day of the week to meal prep so you always have quick options on hand. Batch cook proteins, vegetables, and whole grains ahead of time to quickly throw together meals. Swap refined grains for whole grains: buy whole-grain bread over white and add items like quinoa and rolled-oats to your diet. Try a new vegetable each week: Find a recipe and try something new to add more variety to your meals. Once you find something you like, you can add it to your regular routine. 3. Reduce stress While setting a goal to “reduce stress” may seem vague, studies have shown that increased stress can impact the way we eat, setting us up for other metabolic and health-related issues. (10) Chronic stress also negatively impacts your well-being in other ways such as interfering with sleep, concentration, and mental health. (11-13) Finding small ways to reduce stress can have a big impact on your overall well-being and may even help keep your glucose steady, which can have a huge impact on things like energy, mood, and cravings. (8) While you can’t erase all stress from your life and there are some things beyond your control, taking some time to unwind and destress each day can lead to major improvements. (14) Action ideas: Set aside 10 minutes to meditate. Look for guided meditations online or with an app. If meditating isn’t for you, try breathing exercises. Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing exercises specifically improve cortisol levels and people report less stress. (15) Spend 20-30 minutes outdoors. Research shows that spending 2 hours weekly in nature (city greenspaces count, too) can improve stress levels. (16) Whether you go for a walk, bike ride, or just sit in the sun (with SPF!), tune in to your environment and appreciate your surroundings. Try a yoga practice, whether a flow at home or a class in a studio. Cultivate gratitude. Each day, write down a few things that you are grateful for. Studies show that people who practice gratitude feel happier and have stronger relationships. (17) 4. Improve sleep quality Sleep is a crucial aspect to our health and well-being, yet it’s the one thing many people sacrifice if they are busy or overwhelmed. It has been shown that getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night is related to a wide range of health complications such diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression, and obesity. (18) Setting a goal to prioritise sleep can be a great way to improve your physical and mental health and has also been shown to be a major factor in glucose stability. (19) Although achieving quality sleep may be easier said than done, you can set yourself up for a restful night with these tips. Action Ideas: Set a reminder on your phone a couple hours before bedtime to start winding down: turn down lights, avoid screens, and take a bath or read a book to help prepare your body for sleep. Finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to give your food time to digest before you lay down. Limit alcohol before bed and swap for a calming beverage like herbal teas or golden milk. Set a bedtime to allow 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and crawl into bed earlier to fall asleep earlier. (20) Check out our guide to sleep better for more ideas. A final note from Lingo As we approach 2024, it’s a perfect time to reflect and set goals for the year to come. Envisioning your future self is a great way to identify the areas you want to focus on. While going into the new year with optimism is a great starting point, it is also important to identify the actions you will take to make that future self a reality. Even though you don’t have to announce your goals to the world, it’s important to have something to keep you personally accountable for what you set out to achieve. Tracking your progress can be a great way to do this, and Lingo’s biosensor can help you track your glucose patterns and encourage healthy choices towards improving your metabolic health and overall well-being.

 

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