Do you feel tired all the time? Do you rely on coffee or other caffeinated beverages to lift the constant brain fog that clouds your judgement? Do you grab 'pick-me-ups' throughout the day just to make it through all the meetings at work and tackle your chores at home?
Many of the adults who come to see me for weight loss or to improve their health numbers (ie. blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc) complain about the fact that they are tired from the time the alarm goes off in the morning until they finally get the opportunity to collapse on the coach or in bed at night.
Some of them work too much. Others don't sleep enough. Some have medical issues. But one thing that all of them have in common is that they don't nourish their body in a way that increases their energy level, sharpens their focus, and improves their performance and wellbeing.
We often don't nourish our body in a way that increases our energy level, sharpens our focus, and improves our performance and wellbeing.
In this article, I am going to walk you through a detailed step-by-step process to help you avoid meal habits that undermine your energy and make it hard to get things done.
I will also show you how you can include more energy-promoting foods and beverages into your diet on a regular basis.
Read further and:
- Find out how to get more nutrients into your diet for better performance.
- Learn to level out your blood sugar levels so you can feel more energized.
- Know which foods and beverages will make you crash; so you can avoid them.
Are you ready to see your energy and productivity take off?
Let's go then! Allon-Z!
Step 1: Provide Your Body With More Nutrients
A nutrient is any substance that is essential for your body to function optimally. And you need a wide array of them for peak performance day in, day out.
Use the tips below to get more nutrients into your daily diet.
TIP 1: Regularly eat a wide variety of whole foods.
The best way to get the nutrients we need is to eat mostly whole foods - that is, foods that have not been processed - rather than highly processed foods.
And, since no single food can provide all the nutrients required, we need to eat a wide variety of whole foods.
To integrate whole foods into your diet, start slowly. With each meal, replace a processed food with a whole food. Small changes to your diet will add up over time!
Not sure what to pick up at the store? Keep things simple!
- Choose products that resemble what they would look like in nature (produce, beans, eggs…);
- Avoid foods that have a long list of ingredients on the label;
- Avoid foods that contain ingredients you aren’t familiar with.
If you feel overwhelmed already, remember that you don't have to do this alone. I offer a FREE 20-minute Discovery Consultation to anyone who is truly committed to implementing healthier habits into their daily life for the long term. Feel free to request an appointment. If I feel that I might be able to help you, I will be happy to meet with you over zoom at no charge and with no commitment from either side what-so-ever.
TIP 2: Drink enough water each day
Water is extremely important. All of our cells – including our brain cells – need water to function properly.
When we are even slightly dehydrated, we experience symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and/or headaches. This has a tremendous impact on concentration and decision making.
And beware! You may be tempted to grab a sugary drink, hoping to hydrate and reenergize – but you’ll likely only experience a quick sugar crash.
No one really agrees on how much water we need. But a long-standing general recommendation has been 64 oz per day (8 cups or between 1.5 and 2 liters) a day.
However, this could be too much or not enough depending on several factors: your activity at work, your exercise habits, your climate, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and even your age.
Keep in mind that one-size-fits-all health advice rarely works for everyone. So be mindful of your needs. If 8 cups or between 1.5 and 2 liters a day works, great. But if it leaves you dehydrated or is too much, adjust.
The best way to know whether you are drinking the right amount or not is to look at your urine. For most people, it should not be dark yellow, but it also shouldn't be completely clear. A light yellow urine usually indicates good hydration.
TIP 3: Get the iron and vitamins you need
If you often find yourself feeling tired or lacking energy and focus, an iron or vitamin deficiency could be to blame.
A deficiency in iron, vitamin B12, and/or vitamin D could be causing you to feel tired, weak, and lacking energy.
It never hurts to get your blood checked. Your doctor might even recommend supplements so that you can get your mojo back.
Supplements are not always required. Another option is to tweak your diet.
- Iron: can be found in animal liver and kidney, fish and shellfish, poultry, lean red meat, beans and lentils, seeds, nuts, and dark leafy greens.
- Vitamin B12: can be found in animal liver and kidney, fish and shellfish, beef, milk, and dairy.
- Vitamin D: can be found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or sardines.
Remember: what you put into your body has a direct impact on how well you are able to perform throughout the day.
When your body is nourished properly, you accomplish more with less effort, which increases productivity and satisfaction from life.
Giving your body the nutrients it needs helps you feel less tired, more energized, and better able to focus.
Now, there is another key element if you want to maintain good energy levels throughout the day.
Step 2: Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
Your body and brain receive energy through the bloodstream in the form of blood sugar – but that energy is short-lived.
If you don’t maintain steady blood sugar throughout the day, your energy decreases.
Use the following 3 tips to level out your blood sugar and maximize your productivity.
TIP 4: Be sure to time your meals
You eat a meal. Then, your body needs time to transform it into blood sugar.
Eventually, that blood sugar becomes energy for your mind and body.
But, after a while, there is no more energy to be drawn from the blood sugar. So your mind and body start to run on empty.
When that happens, you experience a slump. Your blood sugar is low, so you struggle to concentrate and your productivity is shot.
To avoid this, try eating meals at regular times to ensure consistent energy and brain power throughout the day.
Feeling tired, jittery, or unable to focus at work?
- Consider when you last ate.
- Going forward, avoid letting that much time pass between meals.
- If needed, plan a healthy snack between meals so your blood sugar doesn’t drop.
TIP 5: Have breakfast each day
It’s not called “the most important meal of the day” for nothing!
Overnight, your body has taken a break from eating, which means you are waking up with low blood sugar – and, consequently, low energy.
You need to refill your energy tank.
Just as you wouldn’t go on a road trip without first putting gas in your car, you don’t want to start your day without the fuel you need for optimal performance.
Aim for a balanced, nutritious breakfast that provides lean protein, healthy starch, and plenty of vegetables or fruits:
- Scrambled eggs with sautéed spinach and roasted sweet potatoes.
- Greek yogurt with fresh berries and unsweetened muesli.
- Banana oat pancakes with a cup of freshly cut fruits.
- Overnight oats with an orange and a hard-boiled egg.
TIP 6: Eat balanced meals
To keep our blood sugar (and, therefore, energy) stable throughout the day, we need balanced meals and snacks.
This means consuming a combination of macronutrients - unprocessed carbohydrates, lean protein, and a small amount of healthy fat.
Each of these are processed into blood sugar at different speeds. Carbs are processed fastest, protein requires more time, and fats even more.
By balancing them in our meals, we can ensure steady blood sugar energy for longer amounts of time. Since blood sugar is the sole source of energy for the brain, this means better Good for productivity, and focus and smarter decisions at work and in life.!
Make sure to include a good amount of vegetables and lean protein in your diet:
To keep things simple:
- Aim for 50% of each meal to be vegetables or fruits
- Make sure every snack contains a vegetable or fruit AND a protein.
Stable blood sugar levels are key to maintaining high energy throughout the day. Not just physical energy, but also brain power for deep thinking and good decision making.
For better performance and productivity, make sure regular, balanced meals are a part of your daily life!
If you feel confused as to what a balanced meal truly is and how you can make that kind of change in your busy life, don't get discouraged. The key is to take it in strides and create small successes for yourself. Look at what Josh had to say about the work we did together:
Step 3: Don't Eat in a Way That Makes You Crash
Our goal is to keep our energy levels high so we can feel productive and sharp all day.
This means we need to avoid foods that will make our blood sugar spike and then crash.
The following tips can help.
TIP 7: Eat smaller meals to keep your energy high.
Food turns into blood sugar, which our bodies need for energy.
But, when we eat a big meal, we experience a massive influx of blood sugar, which overwhelms the body, causing us to feel tired and crash.
To stabilize your blood sugar levels – and level out your energy – aim for smaller, more frequent meals.
- Feel sleepy after lunch? Try cutting your portions in half. You can reheat the second half the next day.
- Low energy between meals? Plan healthy snacks to avoid overeating at meal time.
- Not sure what to have for snacks? A handful of nuts, an apple with nut butter, yogurt with berries, vegetables with hummus, a little cheese with grapes.
- Avoid energy bars, they are loaded with sugar and additives.
TIP 8: Avoid processed carbs and added sugar.
Processed carbs include sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of bran, fiber, and nutrients. Think baked goods, pasta, white rice, flour, fruit juice…
They cause our blood sugar levels to spike quickly – and our energy levels to crash just as fast.
Not ideal for maintaining focus and productivity in your day.
- Keep processed carbs to a minimum
- When you want something sweet, choose foods with natural sugars.
- Fresh fruits like pineapple, apples, or grapes are delicious and will even give you a little boost of energy!
TIP 9: Avoid fatty foods, they will make you feel tired.
Ever noticed that you keep yawning after a heavy greasy lunch? Fatty foods make us feel sluggish and unable to concentrate. cause the brain to release serotonin and tryptophan, sometimes called “the sleepy hormones.”
Deep-fried food, fast food, and low-quality meals may taste delicious and/or be convenient to eat.
But, they’ll also rob you of the energy and focus you need to stay productive throughout the day.
Do you normally eat fast food on your lunch break? Try bringing your lunch instead!
- Set aside a portion of your dinner before eating it and reheat it the next day at lunch.
- If it’s not quite enough, add a side salad, a piece of fruit, or some cottage cheese or yogurt for dessert.
You will feel energized and save money at the same time!
Remember: your body runs on what you feed it.
Your body runs on what you feed it.
Some foods and beverages will cause you to crash while others will naturally increase your energy and brain power throughout the day.
To stay productive and sharp, avoid the former and prioritize the latter!
So, what's the takeaway?
To perform at your best each and every day, avoid meal habits that undermine your energy and make it hard to get things done.
Include more energy-promoting foods and beverages into your diet and watch your productivity take off!
If you are not sure where to start and find it hard to figure out what needs to concretely change in the way your feed your body and mind, I suggest that you take a look at my Nutrition and Lifestyle Audit. It's a stand-alone service that helps you determine why your healthy intentions are not sustaining, how your eating habits are impacting your wellness goals, and how you can create a customized plan for you to finally succeed.
NOTE: Please, do not rely on this article as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making decisions that pertain to your health or diet.