Where Does Your Energy Go?


Are midday yawns a part of your day? Do you need a caffeinated beverage (or two) to get you through your day?  One of the most popular goals people cite for lifestyle change is more energy!  Most of us go through too many days burned out, unable to get through without some sort of artificial boost. We feel completely capped by the time we get home to begin our non-work lives or just play with our kids. If you feel like your energy tank could use a boost, consider that some of your daily habits might be robbing your energy dry!  Below I’ve listed the top eight energy robbers I see in my clients and what you can do to keep your energy going strong.

Dehydration

It doesn’t get more basic than this. Did you know that dehydration is the number one cause of fatigue?  Instead of grabbing that cup of coffee first thing in the morning, try going for a glass of water instead.  Go for at least the recommended 64 ounces of water each day, but for optimal intake and energy, shoot for half your body weight in ounces.

Protein Deficiency

One of protein’s greatest benefits is supporting blood sugar levels, and in turn, our energy. If mid-morning hits and you already feel like you could take a nap, reassess what you had for breakfast. Most of us aren’t getting enough protein at our first meal. My clients are often surprised to learn that a breakfast of eggs, bacon and fruit keeps their energy higher and more consistent throughout the full morning unlike their typical oatmeal or cereal routine. Strive for at least 20-25 grams of protein at every meal to keep your energy stable throughout the entire day.

Sugar High

Speaking of diet…We know the negative effects sugar can have on our health and waistline as well as the rollercoaster impact it can have on our energy. Although pop and sweets are obvious sources to avoid, do check every label when grocery shopping for less obvious sources of sugar: your favorite yoghurts, coffee creamers, dressings, and condiments. Use sugar alcohols or stevia to sweeten foods if needed.

Negativity

If you’re like most people, you have that gossipy coworker, friend or family member who just drags you down every time you interact with them. Consider that those negative conversations can drag you down as well—wasting your precious energy not to mention peace of mind. Know who these people are in your life and know when to redirect those conversations into a positive realm. Everyone is free to have a bad day, but when your scheduled lunch break becomes a daily downward spiral to your overall mood and energy, it’s time to take a break and eat lunch elsewhere.

Excess Caffeine

Although many of us look to caffeine as a daily solution for fatigue, the convenience can come back to bite us—especially if we overdo. Unlike natural energy, caffeine’s artificial boost eventually dissipates. What goes up must come down. We’re much better off cultivating stable, natural energy with good lifestyle choices and adequate rest. Furthermore, as many of us have likely experienced, overconsumption can have the opposite affect!  Your body perceives caffeine as a stressor, and if your adrenal system (your stress responders) is already feeling overloaded, the caffeine can send your energy into a nose dive. Be mindful of your caffeine sensitivity, which may appear to change as you clean up your diet, change medication dosages, or make other lifestyle alterations. A general rule of thumb is to keep your intake to about 200-400mg per day. This is equal to about 2 cups of coffee total each day. If you just enjoy the taste of a cup of coffee, consider switching to decaf or “half-caf.”

Sitting too much

We are a sedentary society!  We sit all throughout the day at work, maybe getting up to go to a meeting, where we will sit some more. We end our day at home usually sitting and watching the television, using the computer, or reading. This level of sedentary behavior will absolutely have a negative impact on our overall energy for the day. Make a point to get some steps in several times throughout the entire day. Schedule this time in your calendar, and stick to it. Take your phone calls while standing or even making some laps around the office.

Screen Time Overload

Most of my clients average at least 10 hours of screen time. That many hours every day can leave easily leave anyone in a brain fog.  You might not be able to avoid the screen during your work day, but do try to take a break from looking at it as often as you can. Add up the hours of television or ipad/computer time you do at home, and make a goal to shorten it. Imagine what you could do with that extra time!   

Not enough sleep

This always sounds like a big “duh,” but I can’t tell you how many of my clients still believe that they don’t “need” the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. They’ve made a life out of avoiding the requirement. The body nonetheless suffers for it. Just because you shoot out of bed after a mere 5 or 6 hours, you still need the recommended amount of sleep to support your hormones and energy throughout the entire day. Start by picking a consistent bed time for every night and stick to it. Set your alarm to tell you when you should be getting in bed! If you need help falling or staying asleep, consider melatonin or another natural sleep support.
How many of these sound familiar to you? Do you have more to add? What would you consider your energy robbers, and what have you done to diminish their impact on your healthy lifestyle? Thanks for reading, everyone!
Written by Anika DeCoster – Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss