Do you constantly feel exhausted and drained? Do you wake up tired, struggle through the day, and count the hours until you can crawl in bed at night?
I know the feeling VERY well. I struggled with fatigue for years and it was HARD! I lacked focus with my work and the energy to fully enjoy my life. I was just “getting by.”
At the time, I thought what I was feeling was “normal” and just the side effect of being busy. But I eventually learned that I could be busy and STILL have plenty of energy.
YOU can Control Your Energy Levels
Believe it or not, your energy levels are within your control. While you may think you’re destined to live with fatigue forever and that it’s just part of who you are – this is NOT the case.
There are likely some key ways that you’re unknowingly sabotaging your energy. I saw this with myself and I see it with most of my clients.
While in the short term it might be a bit of a bummer to learn, you’re getting in your own way, in the long term, this is great news! It means your problems are fixable, and who doesn’t want to hear that?
In today’s post, I’m going to teach you how you may be unintentionally causing your low energy, and how to fit it!
Without further ado, here are five mistakes that are keeping you tired.
1. Using Caffeine as an Energy Boost
Trust me, I know exactly what it’s like to wake up in the morning just craving that coffee, eyes glued shut until you have the cup o’ joe in your hands. Just ask my husband … I was grumpy and unable to function until I had my coffee. I’d feel better once I got my morning jolt, but then my energy levels consistently crashed in the afternoon.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was actually addicted to caffeine, and my body relied on it for a boost. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get through the day without it.
Here’s why… When we drink caffeine, our brain tells our pituitary gland to release adrenaline and cortisol. These are stress hormones that put our body into the same state it would be in if we were trying to flee an attacking tiger. See, when your body gets a dose of caffeine, it acts as though it’s in danger. Once this heightened feeling passes, your hormone-induced alertness dips drastically, causing the caffeine "crash" that results in wanting more.
If you want to have good, stable energy all day long, you may want to wean yourself off caffeine.
2. Skipping a Meal
Forgoing a meal is tempting, isn’t it? Just cutting breakfast or lunch means you’ll eat so many fewer calories, perhaps losing some excess weight want to be rid of. Or you might just be so busy that you don’t feel like you have time to prep a meal and eat.
Unfortunately, when you don’t eat healthy foods packed with fiber, protein and fat, your body can’t regulate energy in the same way. These foods keep your blood sugar stable, pump out reliable, steady energy, and keep you feeling full. Without them, your blood sugar crashes, killing your energy and making you reach for sweet treats and caffeine. This in turn results in even more crashing, and so the cycle continues.
Make sure you keep your body nourished throughout the day so that you don’t end up crashing and reaching for food that is less than ideal.
3. Failing to Eat Enough Protein
When I’m meeting with new clients, and we’re digging into what they’re eating, one mistake I often notice is that they’re eating meals without any protein.
Ever find yourself grabbing a salad for lunch in an attempt to be healthy, but you leave out the protein? If so, you’re not doing your body any favors. Protein is broken down slowly in the body, helping fuel your body with stable energy and blood sugar levels.
I’m not suggesting you avoid salads – I’m a huge fan! Just be sure to add some protein to them. This can be in the form of hard boiled eggs, beans, or meat such as chicken, turkey, fish, or beef.
4. Not Getting Enough Fat
If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, you might try to avoid fat like the plague. I know I did for years. I reached for fat free salad dressing and low-fat treats thinking I was doing what was best for my body.
But research has proven again and again that not only does fat not make you fat, it’s essential for many bodily processes, such as cell growth, nutrient absorption and hormone production. Like protein, fat is broken down very slowly by your body, so it provides the slow, steady energy you’re craving.
When you don’t get enough fat, your energy levels plummet. Trying to respond to this with caffeine and sugar only makes things worse. If you try to eat “low fat” only to find you’re always picking up a sweet treat in the afternoon, you’re working against yourself.
Instead, rely on the healthy fats, like those found in nuts and seeds, to recharge your engines and keep them burning all day long.
4. Going to Sleep After 10 p.m.
Do you wake up in the morning to your alarm, desperately wishing you could hit snooze about 10 times? I know that feeling well, and so do most of my clients.
They find that even though they exercise, eat well and get 8 hours, they never seem to feel truly rested. The answer may be simpler than you think: change your sleep schedule. See, your body sleeps differently at different times of the night, and it’s the hours of shuteye before midnight that are most rejuvenating. Here’s why: Your sleep is composed of 90-minute sleep cycles, some of which are deep sleep cycles and some of which are rapid eye movement (REM) cycles. REM cycles are important too, but they’re not as rejuvenating as deep sleep. Deep sleep cycles happen earlier in the evening. That means if you go to sleep later, even if you get 8 hours, you get less truly restorative sleep. Whenever possible, go to bed by 10 p.m., or even earlier, and you’ll likely notice the difference within days.
DISCLAIMER: The information presented is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.