If you are struggling to feel on top of things as you have an ongoing low mood, it can be exceedingly difficult to eat for health and happiness. All you are going to want to do is reach for a sugar fix, some endorphin loving chocolate or some comfort fries. (“Eating for Success”)
Fatigue can cause us also to eat foods that our bodies do not love – no matter how much our brain and stomach tells us we really need it. (“Eating for Success”) Until we are eating a good range of healthy food, we cannot really trust our brains and bodies to tell us what to eat. “They have this huge cocktail of chemicals running around playing havoc with our cravings.” (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”)
If you do suffer from depression, are chronically tired or think you are prone to SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder, where you feel more depressed in winter) there are several things you can do.
It is more common for woman to struggle with the effects of these, though that may also be because men are less likely to report any incidence of depression.
“If you are always tired, then you are more likely to eat instant foods that do little for your body.” (“Eating for Success”) If you have substantial amounts of stress in your life, it can make you feel tired. Tiredness can lead to weight gain which in turn makes you more depressed once more.
In the winter months we can be even more susceptible to it. We need daylight, and more accurately sunlight to keep our vitamin D levels at a satisfactory level and help us with our levels of hormones melatonin and serotonin which help us feel good. When you do not have enough of these in your body you will tend to feel down, tired, grumpy, and irritable.
Because when we do not have enough serotonin, we start to crave carbohydrates and buttery, creamy foods. It is hard to drum up a craving for salads and fruit when our brains are wreaking havoc with our bodies during these phases. (“Eating for Success”)
However, we need energy to get through life. Even if spending the day sleeping in bed may feel like bliss to you right now, it is not going to turn your life around in any shape. (“Eating for Success”) We need to eat just as we need to breathe.
“We all have the same number of hours in our day.” (“Rethinking What Really Matters: The Four Most Important …”) To get the jobs that need doing done, we need to find more energy to do them. Managing your energy will help you to become fitter, more energetic, feel good about yourself, look better and (if you need it to) lose weight. (“Eating for Success”)
Finding more energy
So, if you want more energy you need to fix the foods you eat. However, there are a few other factors in the energy hunt we need to look at. (“Eating for Success”)
- Sort out your thoughts.
If your day is just a mesh of unhappy thoughts, piles of stress, anger, and worry, you are not letting your body and mind focus on other things. Start the day right with some positive thinking. Before you get up every morning, be thankful for up to ten things in your life right now. (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”) This is your list, so make it things you are thankful for, not things you feel you SHOULD be thankful for (so a new laptop might just come before a partner!) Do the same thing at night before bed so you have started and ended the day with thankfulness.
- Get breathing
Many of us do not breathe deeply enough. Oxygen is the most important nutrient our body needs. If you are not breathing, well you are not alive. If you can learn how to deep breathe, you will be able to reduce your body’s response to stress and can cure all manner of ills from insomnia to headaches and sore backs. (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”) That tightness across your chest will be positively affected too. It also can lower high blood pressure and give your body a bigger shot of endorphins that make you feel good.
“Instead of taking rapid, shallow breathe, spend time everyday focusing on your breath, taking in a long, slow breath, holding it for a moment, then expelling the air slowly.” (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”)
Ok, we have mentioned too much sleep is not great, but too little can play havoc with your insides too. Get a routine in place and put a bedtime in place. This is not about hitting the sheets as soon as it gets dark and having no life but getting in bed around two hours before midnight is a good estimate. Our bodies often sleep better before midnight. Getting up most mornings around the same time helps too. (“Eating for Success”) Give yourself one morning off a week if you love sleeping in, but our bodies thrive on routine.
So, we all know we are meant to drink two liters of water a day, but are you? “If you feel like you are retaining water, or bloating, you often try to drink less to stop the bloat.” (“Eating for Success”) In fact, the more water you drink, the more it flushes out your system. Nothing makes you more tired than not drinking enough. Next time you go to reach for that coffee to pep you up, try a glass or two of water instead.
Many people think they are hungry when they are thirsty. (“7 Weird Reasons You Might Be Hungry, Other Than Actually …”) We need at least two liters a day, more during summer and during activity. Our bodies will get the water anyway it can, so if you are not putting good water through your body, your body will tell you to eat so it can get water that way. (“Eating for Success”)
“Water not only keeps everything moving, but it carries all that oxygen we are breathing to our cells, along with the nutrients from the food we eat.” (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”)
If you are a big caffeine drinker, try to cut it down to a more manageable level. Coffee does not count in your water intake – in fact if you are drinking a lot of it; you need to counteract it with more water as caffeine has a diuretic effect on the body. (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”) It is also a stimulant and can affect your body’s natural cycle.
- Reduce your fat stores
“Our body stores the excess energy we consume as fat.” (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”) It does this because it is so efficient. But carrying too much fat slows us down and reduces our energy levels. (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”) If you are carrying too much fat however the last thing you need is a diet.
Diets often promise fast results but set us on a further path of constant exhaustion. If you need to decrease your fat stores, change your energy intake slowly and incrementally, and look at a long term, rather than a short-term solution. (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”)
- Fuel Up
Food is our body’s petrol. We need to use it at the right time of day to see the most benefit. (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”) Start your day as you mean to go on. “That old line your mother used to throw out as you rush out the door in the morning is true.” (“Eating for Success”) Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.
Starting the day with a couple of pieces of bread smeared with jam, or a bowl of sugar masquerading as cereal is not the best way to begin the day if you want energy. (Neither is throwing back a coffee and hoping to catch something later.) (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”)
Instead go for the old-fashioned breakfasts of oatmeal/porridge with some stewed fruit, a poached egg (or two) on toast – but make the toast a wholegrain type, or a smoothie made with fresh fruit and protein powder. If you struggle to get ready in the morning, consider preparing a takeaway breakfast prepared then night before (such as a bread roll and a boiled egg) and an apple and you will do simply fine. (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”)
- Remember to Eat
“When you are busy, or stressed, or trying to lose weight or any combination of the three it is so easy to skip meal or two.” (“Eating for Success”) But this is the worst you can do if you want to keep on top of things. Skipping meals plays havoc with your blood sugar levels and it makes that bar of chocolate so much harder to resist when the midafternoon lag ops around. (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”)
The best results come from the best planning. Plan a morning and afternoon snack you can use to pep you up between meals, without spiking your blood sugar levels. (“Eating for Success”) This could be a few nuts and an apple, or a few crackers with some hummus. Keep it natural, and not meal sized. This is all about snacks.
- Keep Moving
The more we move, the more energy we must move more. It feels weird, and certainly the first few times you start to move it does not feel that way. “Try to get your heart rate going around twenty minutes a day with some good cardio.” (“Eating for Success”) You do not need to stick to the same sort of exercise. It can be anything.
Try walking, swimming, dancing, cycling. If you, do it in the morning, you are likely to have more energy for the rest of the day. It takes around three weeks to see any noticeable change, so try to persevere for at least that long before you decide it is a waste of time.
See it as a wee investment in you thinking clearer and happier. You cannot be successful if all you feel is glum! Get out, take a walk, and enjoy yourself. If after doing all of this you find you are still tried, obtain a hormone kit to evaluate whether you are low in hormones that affect your sleep. Melatonin which is our sleep hormone can be affected by stress and by our age. “If you do have a deficiency, you can then take a supplement to augment it.” (“Eating for Success – Trans4mind”)
Best Wishes, Coyalita
See Tomorrow: “You Are One Big Hormone”
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