“I’m going to give this a try. If it doesn’t help, at least it won’t hurt.” If you’ve been with me for very long, you probably know it’s not unusual for me to experiment on myself when it comes to healthy habits. You may also know I always talk about making small changes that you can sustain over time. But do those small changes really make any difference?
Well, let me share my latest experiment – and experience – with you. At the beginning of November, I saw a segment on Good Morning America with the author of Glucose Revolution, Jessie Inchauspé. She was talking about some of her “hacks” for balancing your blood sugar. I decided to give her book a read.
While I don’t agree with everything she talks about, I did think a couple of her “hacks” might have merit.
Her first “hack” is to “eat foods in the right order.” The idea is that eating foods in a certain order can reduce both glucose and insulin spikes. According to Inchauspe, the right order is “fiber first, protein and fat second, starches and sugars last.”
Now of course the first thing I did was to research whether there was any evidence to back this up. She had quoted a study out of Cornell University, but I needed to see it for myself. As we talked about in Why Is It So Hard to Get Healthy, there’s a lot of junk science out there and you can’t believe everything you read. I found the article, and though the study was very small, it was promising.
One of my rules of experimenting on myself is that I will only try something if I have a pretty much 100% certainty that it can’t hurt me. “Changing the order in which I eat my food won’t hurt me, and it might help, so I’ll give it a try.” I also decided on one more small change at the same time – I would only have sugar (1 teaspoon) in my first cup of coffee of the day most of the time.
I say most of the time, because I did plan to make exceptions for a few peppermint mochas when we were out.
Now my experiments on myself are pretty loosy-goosy, so they don’t really qualify as something that would be repeatable for anyone else. They are also most definitely NOT scientific. My main point here is to let you know what those two very tiny changes did for me.
My Small Changes
The “Food Order” Hack
I started by trying to eat in the order recommended, but I just can’t enjoy my food if I have to eat only one thing until I eat it all then move to the next thing. So I changed it to work for me — I eat at least half of my fibrous vegetables first, then some of my protein, before I eat any of the starchy carbs, but after that I eat in the order I like.
What I’ve found in eating this way is that since I eat some fiber first, I fill up more quickly – which generally results in me eating less than I did previously. I can’t speak to what my glucose or insulin is doing, but I do know I don’t get hungry again as quickly after eating as I used to.
The “No Sugar After My First Cup of Coffee” Plan
I love my coffee, especially that first cup when I wake up in the morning. I decided I would go ahead and keep that first cup exactly the same as I always drink it, with a teaspoon of sugar. Any subsequent cups, though, wouldn’t contain any sugar.
I know myself, and I know I won’t stick to something that makes me feel deprived. That meant I needed to find a substitute for the mochas I love so much. I decided to just switch to a regular latte (no flavor or sweetener) except for a very occasional peppermint mocha. It was Christmas, after all!
What I found was that I haven’t even missed the sugar, and substituting the lattes so I still got that richness when I had coffee out ensured I haven’t felt deprived at all.
Those were the only two changes I made to my routine — no dieting, no extra exercise, no nothing — and I’ve lost six pounds since the beginning of November. I think that’s a pretty good result from such a painless change.
I’m also less hungry between meals for the most part. I don’t wear a continuous glucose monitor, so of course I don’t know if it has impacted my glucose or insulin, but I suspect it has.
Again, this little experiment of mine is not necessarily repeatable for anyone else. Each person is unique and will react to things differently. The point is that small changes really can make a difference.
You Don’t Have to Make Huge Changes to Be Successful in Your Wellness Efforts
Now my little experiment was just one example of how very small changes can, over time, add up to bigger changes. And the good news is, just making some small adjustments to what you’re already doing can add up to big results in whichever wellness dimension you’re working on.
As we talked about in our last post, we don’t need a “new us.” We don’t need to change everything about ourselves. In fact, having that “all or nothing” mentality can keep us from being successful when it comes to our health and wellness efforts.
Making small changes that we can build on can help us become our healthiest selves for the rest of our lives. Because the changes are small, they’re something we can sustain. We don’t have to depend on motivation to keep us going, and it’s easier to make those small things into habits that serve us well in the long run.
Have you found that trying to change too many things at once has delayed your progress?Have you ever made small changes that had big results? Please share!
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Glucose Revolution, 2022; Jessie Inchauspé; Simon & Schuster; New York, NY