Energy is often something lacking this time of year, which is why I made this video clip offering two ways to increase your energy immediately! To aid in the quest for more energy, I’ve asked Beth Romanski to offer some tips. Below is her guest blog on the topic! Happy New Year!
After a busy (often stressful) holiday season filled with decadent foods and schedules that interfere with regular exercise, about half of the U.S. population sets a New Year’s Resolution to “lose weight” in the upcoming year. How many times have “lose weight” or “get healthy” topped your resolution list? This year, why not reframe your old ways of thinking and set a more positive resolution to take specific actions to increase your energy instead? In doing so, a better outlook on life and natural weight loss may be a result of your efforts!
I have an extremely busy schedule just like many of you, but I find people often ask me how I manage to have so much energy to accomplish everything I do without running out of steam, which is why I have been asked to write as a guest for Sylvia’s monthly column. Today I am going to share one of my best “secrets” with you so you can feel the same way and have more energy right away!
Many of us are well aware of broad-spectrum activities or habits that are beneficial to incorporate into our lives that will increase our energy levels: regular exercise, adequate rest, stress-management techniques, choosing to do what you love in work and “play,” interacting with positive people, etc. but it is hard to make all of these a priority and many of them take time. So what can you do RIGHT NOW that will give you the energy you need to make it through your hectic day? The answer is not another cup of coffee, diet soda or sugary snack.
As Health & Wellness Coach, I find that many people overlook the true value of food and what it can do for our bodies. Nutrition is one of the most powerful tools we have to be healthy, but sadly one that is usually put on the back burner when our lives become increasingly overscheduled. However, our energy levels are directly connected to the foods that we eat!
When do you hit your typical slump? Some people wake up feeling exhausted and can barely get out of bed in the morning. If you eat lunch at noon, by 3 pm your body typically has digested food from lunch and your energy levels may be low, but you still need to finish the report for your boss, pick up your kids from school, feed them a snack, take them to soccer practice and attend a work holiday function later that evening. So what can you do to make it through this type of hectic day with energy to spare?
The two most common culprits to lagging energy are skipping meals and choosing the wrong foods. With that being said, I am going to provide you with more specific tips to help you increase your energy through the simple power of nutrition!
- Eat breakfast! Not only does eating breakfast within 30 min. of waking jump-start your metabolism, but it gives you an increase in energy throughout the day. This meal does not have to be complicated. There are many portable breakfast ideas that eliminate excuses for avoiding this top energy tip. (For those of you who are trying to lose weight, numerous studies have Top Tips for an Immediate Boost in Energy shown that breakfast-eaters weigh less than people who skip a morning meal, so that is even more motivation for you to get started.)
- Don’t skip meals! Instead, eat several smaller meals at regular intervals every 3-4 hours through day. I know this sounds impossible with a busy schedule, but your body will thank you and you will soon have more energy as a result. If this is something you do not currently do, set a goal to not skip meals/snacks just one day at a time, then work your way up to making this a regular practice. My biggest tip to make this happen is to plan ahead. Take a look at your schedule for the upcoming week and plan when you will be most susceptible to skipping a meal. If you are on a diet (which I view as a four letter word but that topic could be a whole other column) you still need to eat regularly to keep your metabolism going and your energy levels high.
- Choose the right foods in the right combinations. When I work with clients, this is what we focus on the most initially as the key to immediate results. This tip can be broken down into more specific recommendations below:
- Don’t shun carbohydrates! With all the conflicting information out there, carbs have gotten a bad rap. “Good” carbs are complex with fiber such as whole grains, steel cut oats, legumes, lowfat plain yogurt, sweet potatoes, fruits, are easily converted to glucose slowly which our body can use efficiently for fuel and which gives us energy that is long-lasting. Processed carbs void of nutrients and fiber will be converted to glucose quickly so your body is not able to use all the sugar in your system at once which is why they are easily stored as fat.
- The best combination for increased energy levels for every meal and snack is to include foods that contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, low fat protein and “good” fats. Don’t worry about specific ratios; just try to get in all the categories (many foods contain more than one). In addition to including complex carbs, protein takes longer to digest which gives you energy for longer periods of time. “Good” fats are also important for satiety and absorption, but if you eat food with too much fat at once your body will feel sluggish. Sugar is also a tempting energy-boost, but the “crash” that follows the “high” sets you up for the energy slump you are trying to avoid.
- Examples of basic foods that are known for increasing energy naturally are:
- Apples and other High-Fiber Fruits (Berries, Oranges, Under-Ripe Bananas)
- Broccoli and other Cruciferous Green Vegetables
- Whole Grains like Oatmeal, Barley, Farro and Quinoa
- Leafy, Dark Green Vegetables like Spinach, Kale, Arugula, Swiss Chard
- Sweet Potatoes and other Root Vegetables like Turnips, Carrots, Pumpkin
- Raw Cashews
- Raw Almonds
- Plain Low fat Yogurt or Greek Yogurt (sweeten with agave and fresh fruit if needed)
- Low fat Cottage Cheese
- Dried Fruits (natural without added sugars or preservatives)
- Organic Green Tea
- “Super foods” like Maca, Chia seeds, Flaxseeds, Gogi Berries, Bee Pollen
- Stay hydrated! I do not mean with coffee, energy drinks, or diet sodas. Water is the most natural beverage available and it is crucial to our energy levels because it is necessary for life and the functioning of our cells and organs. My tip is to always carry a BPA free or glass water bottle so that you are never without a refreshing beverage when you need it most. If you do not like the taste of plain water, add fresh lemon, lime, berries or natural seltzer.
- Consider high quality supplementation. I am a proponent of getting most of our nutrients from “real” food; but in today’s stressful world with increased exposure to toxic substances supplementation can be important. If you have a poor diet, I recommend taking a high-quality multivitamin daily. I personally take an Isotonix OPC3, which is a powerful natural supplement providing loads of antioxidants that promote reduced inflammation which gives me increased energy. Not all supplements are created equal, so feel free to contact me or talk with a holistic practitioner to discuss supplements that are best for you.
I suggest you put this “tips” list on your fridge or desk so you can see it every day. I encourage my clients to set small, realistic and achievable goals each day/week, which is often much more effective than large “resolutions” that typically fail. Therefore, if you are not doing any of these things yet, my recommendation is to start with one tip you think is most realistic to incorporate into your current lifestyle and do your best to reach that goal a week at a time before moving on to another. If needed, try this with a friend, coworker, or Health Coach for additional accountability and motivation.
In closing, we must start making ourselves a priority before we can take care of others and that includes making nutrition a priority/non-negotiable. Even Michelle Obama recently said in an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC that she makes sure that she puts herself first so that she can be her best self and serve others. If the First Lady can do it…so can you!
Beth Romanski is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach specializing in personalized nutrition plans and healthy weight loss programs for men, women, kids and families. For more information, or with questions about your individual healthy lifestyle goals, please contact Beth at 717.473.3913, email@example.com or visit her website at www.myhealthytransitions.com. As a special offer for readers or Launching Lives, please contact Beth for a free health assessment and a free hand out with the top tips for increasing energy immediately with a grocery shopping list, sample daily meal plan and sample recipe including all the energy-inducing foods!