Archive for Monday, October 22, 2012

Go!

As I See Fit: Open mouth, insert food

October 22, 2012

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Recently one of my former clients emailed me asking for some advice and guidance.

She announced that she had “officially” fallen off the exercise wagon, the nutrition wagon, and the “all-things-in-moderation wagon” and thus had decided to forgo worrying about any of those issues until next month.

She said she was completely exhausted all of the time, regardless of how much sleep she got, and that she just had no energy.

Does this sound at all familiar to any of you? It certainly does to me!

I’ve never been able to fully conquer that “change of seasons” metabolic seesaw. It seems as though just when it becomes truly beautiful outside and just as so many activities really begin to pick up, my energy levels plummet. And that is not a good thing, my friends, because, like many of you, I have way too much to do to allow fatigue to knock me off my game!

But there are several ways to make sure that you feel strong, healthy and energized right now, without having to step back and wait for a new month to begin. Because that is definitely not a good thing.

Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply working out because you love to feel strong and fit, there is one thing that you must do: You have to eat well. You can’t just drastically cut your caloric intake and say, “Oh, I need to drop 10 pounds, so I’m not going to eat.”

In order to stay energized, you have to pay attention to what you put into your mouth. It’s that easy. Do you want to avoid the mood swings and up-and-down energy crashes? Then you have to keep the amount of sugar in your blood stable. This is directly tied to your energy level.

You’ve heard this before, but it’s important to try to eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day, preferably with complex carbohydrates. These are digested and absorbed slowly, so they won’t require your pancreas to produce too much insulin.

In layman’s terms, your energy level and your mood will remain stable, and you’ll avoid that sugar crash around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.

Serotonin is another buzz word that we throw around, and it’s another thing that you need to help you feel motivated, energetic and happy. It’s a neurotransmitter that affects and regulates our mood. When serotonin levels drop, we may feel depressed, tired and lethargic.

A word to the wise: If you feel like this and you are also craving carbs a lot, this is a strong indication that you may need more serotonin.

That all sounds very serious and official. And it is.

When something as simple as eating the right combination of healthy foods can affect our energy levels, affect the way that we think and help to determine whether we bite someone’s head off for a small transgression, that is a pretty powerful thing. And we owe it to ourselves to take care of our bodies and our minds so that we can take care of others. Because that’s what we do, right?

FIT TIPS TO KEEP YOU SANE

  1. Choose a small glass of juice before you work out in the morning instead of coffee. It’s more effective for boosting your energy.

  2. EAT BREAKFAST! Fruit is a wonderful way to begin.

  3. Have small meals or snack throughout your day to keep your blood sugar stabilized so that you are a nicer person!

  4. Eat a small snack before you work out and a blend of protein and carbs within 30 minutes after you are finished.

  5. Stay hydrated. I am not a big water fan, but I force myself. I’ve tried to avoid it, but trust me — this is not smart and doesn’t work. Big mistake, and lesson learned.

Let me know how you are doing! I love to hear about your successes!

— Jennifer Osborn can be reached at go@ljworld.com.

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