This should only take a minute.
Imagine you are a hotel owner. And your hotel is beautiful and amazingly intricate. Maybe like this one, only way nicer.
Your hotel has an entire staff of stewards who are really, really good at what they do; they’ve got customer service down to an art form. Each guest is greeted upon arrival, and a steward accompanies him/her to an ornate room, unlocks the door for the guest, then leaves them alone to enjoy their time at the hotel.
Your guests are very adventurous people. They check in, they have fun, they leave, more guests arrive… It is a constant train of efficient, wonderful activity. You think, “This is so wonderfully symbiotic! Beautiful hotel, active and pleasant guests, steady business, well-paid and happy staff…” Things are, in short, good.
But then, as you may have guessed, things begin to go awry.
Two particular events throw a major wrench in your hotel business. First, you as an owner really slack off on keeping up with local events. Whereas you used to negotiate all kinds of vacation packages for your guests, and promote local activities, you do not now, and as a result your employees have little to recommend to guests. So, the guests begin to simply stay in their rooms. Secondly, a whole slew of buses begins pulling up to your grand entrance and unloading passenger after passenger. And they’re not ideal guests. They still pay, but they don’t do anything really helpful in your hotel, or in the town. They don’t get out much, they just sit around, and you honestly cannot comfortably accommodate them all. Your staff is complaining because when they escort one of these guests to a room, most of the time the room is still full because the previous occupants aren’t leaving. All of your hotel’s hallways are backed up with these silly guests just milling around; they try to press their backs up against the walls to allow the staff to get through, but it’s a tight fit. They just stand out there using all the towels and linens that are meant for your “good” guests. Stewards are running around like crazy trying desperately to house all these people. Eventually some of the guests are allowed to stay in unattractive temporary housing units that are brought in and placed on the fringes of the hotel, but it’s still utter chaos.
What was at one point a really great hotel is now on it’s way to squalor and decay. If you don’t change something, and quickly, your hotel is going to have to close.
That ridiculous story is about glucose (sugar) and insulin.
Did you like it? Are you awake?
Can I explain it? You don’t want me to, do you? But I’m going to!
The hotel is a human!! A person, a body. And a person is a beautiful thing. The more I learn about the human body, the more I am blown away by its intricacies, by the hands that crafted such a thing. And our bodies have this organ called a pancreas. Here’s a pic. Obviously, it’s not something most of us would want a model of lying out on a coffee table, but we definitely want a healthy pancreas tucked away in our abdomen. We could probably spare a kidney, an appendix, some tonsils…but not a pancreas. Our pancreas produces insulin. In the story, insulin is played by the bellhops/stewards. When we eat, much of what we take in is broken down into glucose (the guests), and insulin escorts that glucose to rooms (cells) and let’s the glucose–literally and figuratively–go to town. That is, glucose becomes energy. We choose, as the owners of our hotels, to do tasks that get those guests out and about, and then we make room for more. If we don’t have tasks for that glucose to do, though, it just stays in our cells. And then we eat more, and so more glucose arrives, and it will either become situated in “unattractive temporary housing units” (fat cells), or congregate in our hallways (bloodstream), wreaking all sorts of havoc. And our hotels (bodies) begin to fall to pieces. Our bad cholesterol (blood sludge) is high, so we think we need cholesterol-lowering medication. We become more prone to infection. We lose muscle. Our energy levels drop. (And what do we do when our energy levels drop? We eat more sugar! For that fleeting energy rush!). Sometimes we experience nerve damage or vision loss.
But you know what the great news is? We can get that glucose up and out of our cells. And those dreaded buses of unhelpful guests? We can stop them from coming. Because in order to burn glucose, we just need to move. And to stop the extra glucose from coming in, we can pick and choose what we allow into our bodies. We just have to be much more mindful of what we eat.
Best thing you can do to begin taking back your grand hotel? Swap TV time with walking time. Start small, then walk more and more. Say “hey” to some neighbors you’ve never spoke to. Make your dog the happiest dog in the world. Get cute walking shoes and look at them a lot. Push that monstrosity of a stroller. Walk until you’re just to tired to worry anymore tonight. Walk so you can tell your Facebook peeps you just walked. Walk and talk. Walk and jam. Walk and pray. Walk and complain. Just walk. Today, tomorrow, and most every day.
Best thing you can do to cut the glucose? Stop drinking soda and juice. The sugar rush it gives you is short-lived and only makes you want more sugar. Learn to love unsweetened tea and its gentle caffeine lift. Take a good multivitamin with B vitamins in those afternoon slump hours (I have a friend who takes Emergen-C when she’s pooped. B vitamins and C. Why not?) Consider the possibility that you are dehydrated and reach for water (we droop just like a flower, and perk back up when hydrated, too). I think one of the biggest lies plaguing our country right now is not that soda is good for us (c’mon, we all know it’s not), but that it isn’t bad for us. People in soda ads are happy and skinny and not on dialysis. And they’re also not tired. I hope someday that drinking soda is categorized with bloodletting. Another thing you can do to cut the glucose? Ask yourself: “Did this food I’m thinking about putting in my belly used to be either batter or dough?” If the answer is “yes,” try your absolute hardest to find something else to eat.
And that’s all I got for now.
Just a stupid story and a few suggestions.
Happy Monday to ya!