Most of us have experienced this: a very productive morning finishing projects and we are energetic. Then the clock strikes 2 pm and you hit a wall, you are at your desk at work and dream of pulling the shades down and crawling under the desk and taking a nap as you can hardly keep your eyes open! If you find that you are often left with no energy and wondering how you’ll get through the rest of the day, you may need to take a close look at what you are eating – or not eating. You want to stay away from the doughnuts and weekend beer binges, but tweaking your diet for more energy can still be beneficial. What causes this fatigue? Most of the time, it can be traced to one or more of your daily habits or routines. It is usually a result of physical exertion, poor eating habits, emotional stress, boredom, lack of sleep or weight.
Here are a few simple lifestyle changes that will help you regain your vitality and boost your energy.
- Eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours – This keeps your metabolism up and your energy levels maxed out. Your body burns calories to digest the calories you eat. Eating at longer intervals fails to give your digestion system a good workout
- Be active during the day – At work, rather than emailing or texting walk over to you coworkers desk. Take a flight of stairs rather than the elevator. Get up every hour and walk around
- Eat a good breakfast – Your body has been starving for 8 hours and needs food. Eating a balanced PFC (protein, fat and carbohydrate) breakfast prevents the sugar spike and crash and gives you sustained energy. Watch your carbohydrate intake – one big bagel can have more than 90 grams of carbohydrates – enough to make you fall asleep before you finish it! When you skip breakfast, your body panics because it thinks it’s starving and stores the next meal you eat in its fat reserves
- Have a snack – Not meal time yet? Have a snack to help boost energy levels. Try an ounce of cheese, a handful of nuts, or another high-protein snack to keep alert
- Avoid Sugar – A little sugar may go a long way – in the wrong direction. Consuming some sweets may provide a sugar-high that will only lead to a sugar crash, causing us to become even sleepier
- Stay Hydrated – In order to avoid dehydration and its sleepy side effects, just keep sipping. Drink plenty of water (aim for 11-16 cups of water a day) or sparkling water with lemon
- Exercise Regularly – It is not necessary to hit the gym to get your exercise. Do something you enjoy like tennis, swimming, yoga, Pilates, Zumba, running, cycling or dancing. If you combine fun and fitness you stay motivated and energetic
- Get enough Sleep – Sleep deprivation causes weight gain and makes you tired easily. There are studies that suggest sleep deprivation causes both leptin (satiety hormone) and ghrelin (hunger hormone) to malfunction, leaving you with the feeling of not being full enough or making you feel hungry even when you may not need food.
If you feel tired often, then it’s time to look at your sleep patterns, diet and lifestyle. Try these changes first, and, if you still feel zonked, see your physician.