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.
Fatigue Factor #1: You Skipped Breakfast
The first and possibly biggest energy stealer is skipping breakfast. 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!).
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.
Eating a donut or pastry is just about as bad as skipping breakfast entirely, so be smart with your choices.
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.
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.
Fatigue Factor #3: You’re Over-Caffeinating
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 will have a dehydrating impact on the body, making it hard to stay on top of the hydration curve.
In addition to this, while you may get that initial rush of energy from the caffeine, that rush won’t last for long and when it does wear off, you’ll be left feeling more miserable than ever.
Instead, opt for decaf beverage choices. 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 of 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 fuel. A plan vegetable salad simply doesn’t provide enough calories 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.
This will help you stay more energized throughout the afternoon. You should be aiming for no less than 300 calories per meal and 200 calories per snack – minimum if you are woman, adding another 100-200 calories to each of those numbers if you’re a man.
Those who aren’t seeking weight loss will need to eat even more.
Fatigue Factor #5: You’ve Raided The Vending Machine
Another factor that could be driving your fatigue throughout the day is if you’re eating overly processed foods. For instance, if you’ve raided the vending machine and have snacked on pretzels, a granola bar, or a bag of chips, this could be precisely why you’re having troubles.
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. Whole grain crackers with hummus 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 fueling properly, this brings us to the next nutritional problem some people experience, which is a total lack of carbs.
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.
Not just carbohydrates, but B vitamins as well. Eat those carbs. Sure, reduce them if you want to lose weight, but never eliminate them. Avoid taking them lower than 70-100 grams per day.
Fatigue Factor #8: You’re Lacking Dietary Fiber
Finally, the last reason you could be experiencing fatigue is a lack of dietary fiber. While fiber 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.
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