In my previous blog post of Why are you tired all the time? I touched on three common reasons people suffer from fatigue. Dehydration, low intake of whole foods and low dietary intake of iron and B-12 rich foods. These are far from the only reasons you might be battling ongoing fatigue, but they are some of the most common reasons and a great place to start, if you are looking at energy boosting strategies.
Now I want to talk to you about some simple strategies to help you naturally increase your energy levels.
Tip Number One, Avoid skipping breakfast. Although I see the value in fasting to give your digestive system a break for 12-14 hours hours daily, and even fasting for a bit longer a couple times a month, Continuous fasting actually disrupts your metabolism.
Your body will not burn calories you are not giving it. Fasting is a healing and repair mode, it is not a method for improving metabolism. In fact continuous fasting may actually disrupt your metabolism.
As I mentioned, I encourage most of my clients on a typical 9-5 schedule to fast for about 12 hours every night (e.g. 7pm-7am) as this does give the digestive system a chance to break down the days foods, and it has also been shown to improve elimination.
However going much beyond that (or skipping any meal or snack for that matter) results in low blood sugar (when we go a long period of time between our meals and snacks) and the problem with low blood sugar is our body does not know the difference between busy and starvation.
The concern I have which chronic fasting is, protein is a much faster form of fuel for the body than fat. Your muscles play a key role in healthy metabolism because they burn calories when you are at rest and impact your overall metabolic rate. If you are skipping your meals and snacks to remain in a fast, and if you do it enough, you can start to disrupt your body composition by burning your muscle!
So what does this have to do with breakfast?? Eat breakfast and plan for healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Avoid skipping your meals and focus on healthy whole food based options! This promotes healthy blood sugar levels, increases energy and feeds healthy muscles!
This also leads right into my second tip, which is to stabilize blood sugar levels. Eating on routine and choosing whole foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains) will help you have steady blood sugar levels throughout the day, which will help you feel energized!
Eating high glycemic foods (enter the blood stream quickly) causes a blood sugar to spike, which is followed with a blood sugar plummet. These plummets significantly impact your energy level, and your brains ability to function optimally.
Eating lots of high fibre foods like fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains and legumes, will not only provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally, but they will also stabilize your blood sugar which results in strong and steady energy levels
Now if you really want to increase your energy, you are also going to want to create a healthy sleep routine as well.
My third tips for increasing your energy levels is to establish a healthy sleep routine. Simply put a healthy sleep routine is choosing a healthy and consistent bedtime and wake up time, followed by a healthy morning routine (stay tuned to future article on healthy morning routines).
The more routine your sleep patterns are, coupled with the more hours of pure darkness you can be in during your sleep cycle, the better your body heal and repair and the better you will feel!! If you have challenges around healthy sleep patterns, send me an email and we can look at some strategies. Sleep is incredibly important and there are many options to help you to improve your sleep quality from meditation and sleep apps, to bedtime supplements and even sleep coaches!
To Summarize the information shared in these two articles to help you increase your energy levels you want to focus on:
Dealing with chronic fatigue or even low energy can have a negative impact on your quality of life. No one wants to feel like they are dragging through the day. Low energy impacts productivity and can even have a negative impact on your social life. If you are suffering from poor energy levels or chronic fatigue and looking for customized guidance feel free to email me here and I will see if I can point you in the right direction!
Focusing on the strategies listed in these two articles are great places to start!!! And they will likely have a wonderful impact on your energy levels!
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Alisa Herriman has been researching and teaching Nutrition since 2003. Leaving her job in the health care industry to share her passion for healthy living, Alisa travels all over Canada sharing her mission and teaching communities how to prevent and fight disease with Nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.