It is so common for me to hear people sharing how physically and mentally exhausted they are. As a Nutritionist I feel like I am working front-line within a chronic fatigue epidemic.
Most of the moms who seek out the guidance of a Nutritionist do so for two reasons:
1. They are exhausted all the time.
2. They want to improve body composition.
In order to help these women achieve their goals I have to create a solid foundation in their daily nutrition so that we can ensure their bodies are getting the nutrients they need to function optimally.
Simply put, I am seeing a bunch of undernourished people, who are so depleted, their body is no longer producing enough energy, and it's impacting their quality of life!
Fatigue not only impacts your quality of life, but it also reduces motivation, can significantly decrease productivity and can even harm a relationship!! (Just ask the spouse of a person who is suffering from chronic fatigue)
So what can we do to change it? Well the solution thankfully is often very simple! And it all starts with what you put into your body.
Stay tuned for part two of this series where I will share strategies on how to create more energy!!
As we look at how to help you create more energy we have to first identify what the underlying causes may be. Here are common issues I see in people with fatigue issues.
Dehydration. I see so many people who are walking around totally dehydrated. When you are dehydrated there is a reduction in your blood volume. Your heart as a result of this reduced blood volume, pumps less efficiently, which in turn reduces oxygenation and nutrients to your organs. Chronic dehydration can make you feel tired! Which we then often counteract with caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea, hoping to increase our energy. The problem is these caffeinated beverages are diuretics, which only worsens our dehydration.
Most people I work with are simply not drinking enough water.
If you are not sure if you are drinking enough water, carefully track your water intake for the next couple days. You may be surprised by how much you are actually drinking vs. what you thought you were drinking.
There are many formulas to determine your daily water requirement that are based, on age, body weight, height, medications and activity level. I generally encourage healthy adult clients to drink a minimum of 2 litres a day. Now if you drink caffeinated beverages, which are diuretics, you may need to increase your water intake to make up for what you are losing as a result of your caffeinated drinks. The good news is however, if you up your water intake, you just may find you need less caffeine!
Not eating enough whole foods and eating too much processed foods. Our body requires a significant variety of micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients) every single day.
Check out this article I wrote on Keto where I explain what our body needs!
The BEST and most efficient way to get naturally occurring nutrients into your blood stream daily is by eating a variety of unprocessed whole foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts seeds and legumes. Whole foods should make up about 80% of your caloric intake.
Whole foods are the MOST nutrient dense foods in the world, and if we eat a variety of them, we not only provide the nutrition our body requires for healthy function, but we can reduce our risks for many diseases too!!
Eating too many processed foods can lead to fatigue due to their lack of natural nutrition. Many processed foods are fortified with synthetic nutrients, which are poorly recognized and used by the body. In addition to that, processed foods are also full of what I like to call "Anti-Nutrition", which are chemicals, flavour enhancers, colourings, preservatives etc. When these “anti-nutrition” chemicals are consumed, our body has to break these chemicals down and eliminate them. In order for our body to break down and eliminate these chemicals it is required to use its own stored nutrients to do so.
If you are eating a high processed foods diet, you are limiting your nutrient intake, and frankly putting a great deal of toxic ingredients in that could be robbing your body of its own stored nutrition. This is a toxic cycle and in my opinion a major contributor to nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to energy metabolism issues such as chronic fatigue.
Have a hard time eating enough plants every day?
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.