Do you often find yourself feeling like you’ve hit a slump and just can’t get out at some point during the day? For some people, this slump comes mid-morning. You’ve had your cup of coffee but yet, you still feel like you haven’t fully woken up yet. For others, it hits mid-afternoon. You could easily just lay your head down on your desk and go in for a nice, long nap…
Whatever the case may be, one factor could be driving your daily fatigue: your diet. If you aren’t eating the right foods – at the right times –throughout the day, it can wreak havoc on your energy levels.
To help you pinpoint where you may be seeing problems, let’s go over 8 important factors to know about that are stealing your energy and how you can fight back and address them, and build new life changing habits.
Fatigue Factor #1: You Skipped Breakfast!
The first and possibly biggest energy stealer is skipping breakfast (break of fast). Yes, it takes time to wake up in the morning and prepare yourself a healthy breakfast but trust me on this one, it’s time well-spent.
If you skip breakfast, you’re literally starting your day running on fumes. How well do you think you’ll last? Come mid-morning, hunger will set in, fatigue will rage on, and you’ll be feeling more miserable than ever.
Remember that breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as easy as eating last night’s leftovers (provided you made a healthy meal of course!), think PCO3-6.
The key thing to remember is that you’ll want to take in a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fats as much as possible, and have a great range, or diversity.
Eating a donut or pastry is just about as bad as skipping breakfast entirely, so be smart with your choices. You are what you eat!
Fatigue Factor #2: You Aren’t Hydrated!
Another factor that can bring on great fatigue is if you aren’t staying hydrated. Even slight amounts of dehydration can amount to high fatigue levels that are tricky, if not impossible, to fight off – unless of course, you get hydrated. Did you know that just 3% dehydration effects your ability to think properly?
Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, if not a little more if it’s an especially hot day or you’re being very active. Keep in mind fruits and veggies will count towards getting you hydrated, so load up on them as well. A even more precise rule is this guys for every 25kg of body weight drink 1 litre of water and for every hour of exercise add 1 more litre of water per day!
Fatigue Factor #3: You’re Over-Caffeinating! This is my Achilles heal!
Speaking of hydration, one thing that you don’t want to do is over-caffeinate. If your idea of getting hydrated means downing three cups of coffee, two energy drinks, and then moving on to soda in the afternoon, you need to rethink this strategy.
While you will still be taking in fluids, the caffeine in that fluid may have a very slight dehydrating impact on the body, making it hard to stay on top of the hydration curve. More than likely its not the dehydration, but the effects on the flight and fight hormones. The caffeine gives you the stimulation however its falls quickly, then you need either more caffeine or chocolate to get the zing. It can then become a vicious circle!
Instead, opt for decaf beverage choices, or other fluid choices such as water, or low calorie herbal teas. You’ll feel much better at the end of the day because of it.
Fatigue Factor #4: You Became A Rabbit During Lunch!
The next nutrition no-no to remember if you are looking to boost your energy level is to avoid eating too light. If over the lunch period you choose to exist on rabbit food – eating nothing but a lettuce salad, it should come as no surprise that you’re feeling a little less than energized.
If you want energy, you need to give your body high performace fuel. A plan vegetable salad simply doesn’t provide enough energy to give you that fuel.
Dress that salad up with some lean protein, healthy fats, and have a piece of fruit on the side for added carbohydrates, fibre, and nutrient dense magic!
This will help you stay more energized throughout the afternoon.
Fatigue Factor #5: You’ve Raided The Vending Machine! OOPPSS!
Another factor that could be driving your fatigue throughout the day is if you’re eating overly processed foods (HI- Human interfered). For instance, if you’ve raided the vending machine and have snacked on pretzels, a chocolate bar, or a bag of chips, this could be precisely why you’re having troubles feeling smashing! Your poisoning yourself!
All of these snack choices will give you a good burst of energy, only to sputter out as the hours pass on.
Instead, choose wholesome food sources. Pumpernickel bread with avocado and salmon or some canned tuna with raw vegetables would be far better options to keep you satisfied. It’s important to plan your meals and snacks ahead of time so that you aren’t left turning to the vending machine in the first place.
Fatigue Factor #6: You’re ‘Saving’ Calories For Later!
The next problem? Saving calories. Some people, especially those who are dieting try and bank calories for the evening period. They try and get by of as few calories as possible during the day only to come home in the evening and nearly binge-eat because they’re so ravenous.
If this is what you’re currently doing, it needs to stop. You should be spreading your calories out over the course of the day evenly. Or, even eating more calories in the morning, tapering them as the day goes on.
It’s important to fuel yourself when you are most active, which for many people, is during the day. Unless you have a very hard workout scheduled for late at night, you simply don’t need all that much fuel to relax at home during the evening.
Fatigue Factor #7: You’re Shunning All Carbs!
Speaking of fuelling properly, this brings us to the next nutritional problem some people experience, which is a total lack of carbs. You are suffering with (CP – Carb phobia)!
While lower carbohydrate diets can definitely help give you an edge on fat loss, they aren’t going to do much for energy.
Remember, your body needs some carbs – especially fruits and vegetables to stay healthy. This should always be your number one priority. If you cut carbs too high, you’ll be lacking nutrients that are designed to provide the body with energy. Did you know this? Carbohydrates are proteins sparing? This means carbohydrates help you maintain the precious muscle tissue you have! And recall: Muscle is where you burn all fats and carbohydrates! Just saying!
Not just carbohydrates, but B vitamins as well. Eat those carbs. Sure, reduce them if you want to lose weight, but never eliminate them.
Fatigue Factor #8: You’re Lacking Dietary Fibre!
Finally, the last reason you could be experiencing fatigue is a lack of dietary fibre. While fibre itself won’t provide you with energy, what it does is slow down the process of digestion, ensuring that the carbohydrates that you do eat are released over a longer period of time.
And that is what will give you longer term energy. This again ties back into eating highly processed forms of carbohydrates. While you may get that initial rush of energy, it will fizzle out shortly due to the rapid digestion time you encounter.
So have a good look over your day. Do you see any of these problems coming into effect?
If you do, take steps immediately to overcome them so that you can start feeling better as you go about your daily life. It will make a difference.
And you will be able to turn those intentions of yours in to habits, that allow you to link your dreams and goals into your new reality!