What I hear: “I just don’t have the energy. There are NOT enough hours in the day. I didn’t have the time so I just grabbed a granola bar.” What I am thinking: Ummmm…for breakfast? AFTER your workout? Yikes! If you want more energy, girl do you have a lot to learn.
First of all…
Let me just say right from the start that although I am a Registered Dietitian, certified personal trainer and the gal in charge of the fabulous meal plans at Super Healthy Kids…I am not the food police. I will not throw information at you thinking that I am THE goddess of all things healthy and fit. But, when you come to me, complaining, and asking what to do…well, expect an earful. With that, feel free to read on and do not hesitate to ask away in the comments section.
Stop the starvation diets:
Food is absolutely amazing and the healing effects alone should be reason to eat well. But we are talking about energy today. The first thing to think about is how much food we are actually getting. When you are on a starvation diet of some type, your body is not fueled and will not have the calories needed to simply function. After 4-5 hours of no food intake you are like a car signaling EMPTY. Your blood sugar will go crazy and send you in a whirl wind of dips in energy, feelings of weakness and possibly crankiness. (That’s me when I am hungry!)
In a pinch for time? Always have high fiber snacks on hand such as plain popcorn or homemade granola bars.
Start off by “breaking” your overnight fast:
Have you heard some experts say that breakfast should be held off until 11:00AM or even noon? (Essentially, thats skipping breakfast altogether). Well, honestly, I am not a fan of this advice. YES! Our kids need to fuel up before heading off to school. And YES! If you have put in a workout first thing in the morning you had better fuel up before heading off to work. Another instance is pregnancy. There is so much energy going toward the growth of the baby, you DO need to eat a nutrient-dense breakfast to start the day. Although I have not completely researched the topic, I know that the topic of skipping breakfast, is a fairly new one. The fact that breakfast is a great way to boost metabolism, break the fast and get your energy pumping, has been around much longer. This is what I had been taught and I always stick with this for myself, my family and clients.
Think of it this way: Are you drained of energy by lunchtime? Are you reaching for that candy on your neighbors desk or pouring that second and third cup of coffee before lunch? Well, try eating a good breakfast for the next few days and see how you feel.
Choose more foods with magnesium:
Peanut butter, bright leafy greens and whole grains will provide you with this amazing electrolyte. We need magnesium for energy production, fatty acid synthesis and breakdown (Did you say you also wanted to shed some excess fat?) blood glucose regulation (Remember, a whacked out blood sugar balance is not good for natural energy) and many other important reactions within a healthy body. Even when our schedules are NOT full of activity we can lag in energy just by being low in magnesium, we can quickly run out of steam.
Try putting individual servings of almonds into ziplock baggies. When you need a snack, you will have them all set and not be tempted to eat TOO many. BONUS: Almonds provide us with magnesium + B-vitamins which is also needed for energy production.
Hydrate to be energized:
Ah, yes, the good ‘ol advice to “drink 8 glasses of water” is going to be offered yet again. But it’s TRUE! We are 2/3 water and that water helps to regulate body temperature, digestion + aids in…? Yup! Energy production. Being even the slightest dehydrated will cause fatigue and give you brain fog…not something we busy moms need.
Bored with water? That’s ok because you CAN have other sources of water…as long as it’s sugar and artificial color free. Fruits and veggies are loaded with water as well so stock up on cucumbers, celery and citrus. My favorite water-like beverage is LaCroix. The only downside is that it makes me burp so I avoid it if I am going to be speaking with anyone.
You could be anemic:
Although there are other health conditions that could easily cause a lack in energy, anemia is the first that comes to mind for me. At one time, my gynecologist prescribed me a birth control with iron for the simple fact that I was low, as per a blood test. So your first step in this instance is to get tested. Your doctor will advise as to whether or not a prescribed or over-the-counter supplement is needed. Your next step is to take a look at your diet. Yes, once again, food is thy best medicine.
Start eating foods rich in iron such as spinach (remember Popeye?), edamame, lean cuts of beef and tofu. In addition, you will want to pair these foods up with those rich in vitamin C such as other greens, citrus and melons. This will help with the absorption of the iron in food.
“Let Food be Thy Medicine…and Medicine Be Food.” Hippocrates
Let’s sum it up:
The calories from food are energy. When those calories are nutrient dense, the body gets moving on producing all things great that are required for sustained energy production. So avoid the energy drinks, sugar laden breakfast items, and coffee abuse. Instead, eat real food + get plenty of rest when needed.