Bring me FI-YAH FI-YAH
We all know that having no energy means that we can't do anything...
Our social plans get cancelled, we don’t exercise, we feel complacent and lazy and nobody wants that. Trust me! I know! I've been so exhausted I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow! Which is why I've put together this article to share with you my tips on eating for energy and preventing burning out in the busy lives we lead.
So first things first - how tired are you? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest, 10 being the highest - where would you put your energy? If you’ve said 5 or less or simply want more energy then here are my 6 steps to doing so:
- Balance blood sugar
The first thing I always address is making sure that blood glucose is kept on an even level throughout the day. Fluctuating blood glucose leads to energy slumps which is what you want to avoid if you are already tired. So eating regularly is key. Every 3-4 hours is recommended. And no skipping meals as it leads to bad food choices later which is likely to lead to sugar cravings and overeating.
2) Avoid caffeine
Contrary to popular belief and the health benefits of caffeine, for people with energy issues it’s a double edge sword. Why? Because it wreaks havoc with your blood sugar levels and affects your body’s natural energy source. Yes it gives you a boost but it’s only temporary and it’s superficial energy. In the long run it just makes you more tired. EVERY patient I’ve seen who has cut out caffeine have noticed dramatic improvements to their baseline energy levels. So consider swapping your coffees and teas for caffeine free alternatives such as peppermint, ginger, lemon tea etc.
3) Deflect Stress
This means getting good at dealing with stress and not letting it affect you. Easier said than done. I know. But too much stress overworks the adrenal glands and eventually will make you exhausted (aka burnout) I always say that stress is going to happy but how we respond to is a choice. It’s always a good idea to start putting things into perspective by asking yourself these three questions:
- Is it the end of the world?
- Will it change in time?
- Is there someone worse off than me?
Try this. It’s a practise thing though ;-)
Getting enough sleep for good energy is an obvious tip but honestly no one sleeps these days!! WHY!? It’s sooooooo important. Most patients I see get an average of 5 hours a night. 5!? How do they expect to function on that!? Your body is not a machine. We need to rest and sleep. We need a minimum of 8 hours per night. And the hours of sleep you get between 10pm and midnight are the most boosting! So please don’t skimp on sleep. It’s absolutely vital for healthy energy maintenance.
5) Cut back on aggressive exercise
A common misconception is that people who are tired all the time tend to think that by doing more exercise it will give them more energy. WRONG! Well not totally but here’s the caveat: If you are tired all the tired and have issues with low energy chances are you actually need to rest and BANK as much energy as possible. Your body is like a bank account. You have to deposit as much energy as you can. So aggressive exercise such as HIIT classes, running and boxing can tax the adrenal glands and stress response which is not what you want if you are on the way to burnout!! Nooooo. This is a common mistake my clients make. So look at your exercise regimen and cut back on the aggressive exercise and start to introduce more calming and restorative activities such as yoga, pilates and walking in nature! (Im not a hippy I promise and trust me I used to be a gym freak but now Im totally converted)
6) Take effective supplements
This is a minefield and I could write a book on this but supplementing certain vitamins, minerals and herbs can be a game changer if you’re struggling with low energy. But which ones should you take!? Here are my top 3 energy nutrients:
- B vitamins - literally fundamental in producing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) your body’s energy source.
- Protein powder - most people do not eat enough protein to maintain energy and support growth, repair, recovery AND the manufacture of all the hormones.
- Siberian ginseng - this is an adaptogenic herb which helps to support the adrenal glands at times of stress.
Please be advised that you do get what you pay for when it comes to supplements so purchasing them from reputable companies that care about your health is a worth while investment.