Feeling tired during the day? If you’re getting adequate sleep and still have a low energy level, it could be your diet. Food is your body’s primary source of energy, and making the wrong dietary choices can leave you feeling like a car that’s low on gas. Make sure you’re not making these five energy-sapping dietary mistakes.
Dietary Mistakes: Eating and Drinking Too Many Sugary Foods and Beverages
That soft drink you’re sipping may give you a brief pick-me-up, but it’s only a temporary lift. Foods that are high in simple sugars raise blood sugar levels quickly and drop them just as rapidly. That leaves you feeling tired and drained of energy. You need carbohydrates for fuel, but fiber-rich carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are better choices since fiber keeps blood sugar levels stable. Skip the cookies, doughnuts, cakes, and candy and bite into snacks that contain a combination of protein and healthy carbs. An apple with string cheese, a serving of cottage cheese with fruit, or half of a turkey sandwich will keep your blood sugars on even keel and keep your energy level up.
Dietary Mistakes: Not Eating Enough
Some people don’t eat enough carbs or get enough total calories, usually because they’re trying to lose weight. So they end up tired from not eating. This makes them less active, and they burn fewer calories. Plus, the lack of carbs sends their energy levels plummeting. Another problem some people have is not eating often enough. Two small snacks – one at mid-morning and one at mid-afternoon – help to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent energy crashes. Choose snacks that are high in protein and healthy carbs.
Dietary Mistakes: Drinking Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine from coffee can temporarily boost your energy level, but the effects are usually short-lived. Plus, your brain adapts to the caffeine you feed it, and you need more of it to get the same energy boost. When you stop drinking coffee, you’ll likely feel fatigued due to caffeine withdrawal. Lighten up on the caffeine, but do it gradually. Going cold turkey when you’re used to drinking several cups a day can cause you to feel tired. Don’t forget that caffeine is also in soft drinks and tea as well. If you enjoy the taste of tea and coffee, substitute decaf for a portion of the coffee and tea you currently drink.
Dietary Mistakes: Not Beginning the Day with a Healthy Breakfast
If you’re waking up and heading to work on an empty stomach, you’re setting yourself up for an energy crash. After an overnight fast, glycogen stores are depleted, and you need food to refuel. Some people skip breakfast to conserve calories, but they’re usually so famished by lunch that they overeat. Begin the day with a combination of protein and healthy carbs. A bowl of oatmeal with a hard-boiled egg or a whole-grain breakfast burrito with egg or cottage cheese and fruit are all good ways to start the morning.
Dietary Mistakes: Not Drinking Enough Water
Mild dehydration can cause you to feel tired and listless. Heading to the office in the morning without drinking liquids can reduce your energy level. After seven hours of sleep, your body needs hydration. Start the morning by drinking at least two glasses of fluid. Then carry a stainless steel water bottle with you to work to sip on throughout the day. Keep refilling it until it’s time to leave.
The Bottom Line?
If you’re feeling tired and motivated, take a closer look at what you’re eating and drinking – or not eating and drinking. It could be part of the problem.