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Thursday
Feb192015

8 Ways You Rob Yourself of Energy Every Day

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! The sad fact is, most of us go through too many days exhausted and burned out. We're unable to get through an afternoon without some sort of artificial boost and even then feel drained by evening when we want to enjoy our family and personal time.

If you feel like your energy tank could use a boost, consider that some of your daily habits might be robbing your energy stores dry! Check out these top eight energy robbers I see in my clients and learn 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. You may find you won't need the pick-me-up after a full glass! Drink at least the recommended 64 ounces of water each day. For optimal intake and energy, however, shoot for half your body weight in ounces.

Protein Deficiency

Among protein’s greatest benefits is its ability to support stable blood sugar levels and, in turn, consistent 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 than 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 waistlines as well as the rollercoaster impact it can have on our energy. Although soda and sweets are obvious sources to avoid, do check every label when grocery shopping for less obvious sources of sugar: your favorite yogurt, coffee creamers, dressings, and condiments. Use sugar alcohols or stevia to sweeten foods if needed.

Negativity

If you’re like most people, you have a gossipy coworker, friend or family member who emotionally drags you down every time you interact with him/her. Consider for a moment that these negative conversations waste your precious energy, not to mention peace of mind. Know who these people are in your life and know when to redirect those conversations back into positive territory (or walk away if need be). Everyone is free to have a bad day, but when your scheduled lunch break becomes a daily downward spiral in 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 effect! Your body perceives caffeine as a stressor, and if your adrenal system (your stress responder) 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 two cups of coffee total each day. If you just enjoy the taste of a cup of coffee, consider switching to decaf or “half-caf.”

Too Much Seat Time

It's sobering to think how sedentary our lives have become. We sit all throughout the day at work, maybe getting up to go to an occasional meeting - where we will sit some more. We likewise end our days at home usually sitting while 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 fit in some steps several times throughout the entire day. Schedule this time in your calendar, and stick to it. Take your phone calls while standing or even while taking some laps around the office.

Screen Time Overload

Between the day's work and evening entertainment, most of my clients average at least 10 hours of screen time each day. That many hours every day can easily leave anyone in a brain fog. While you might not be able to avoid the screen during your work day, take time away from desk when you can (including a full lunch hour) and even frequent visual breaks when you simply look away from the computer for a few seconds. At home, add up the evening/weekend hours you spend watching television or using your tablet/computer, and make a goal to scale back. Make a list of what you could do with that extra time!   

Inadequate (or Poor Quality) Sleep

This always sounds like a big “duh,” but I can’t tell you how many of my clients still believe they don’t “need” the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. They’ve made a life out of avoiding the requirement. Their bodies nonetheless suffer 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 hormonal balance and energy throughout the entire day. Start by picking a consistent bedtime 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.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Would you like additional tips for how you can better manage your energy each day or personal support in making positive changes? Talk with one of our dietitians or weight loss coaches today! 

In health, Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

 

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