If you are hungry, tired, and craving a quick energy boost prior to running that next errand, and you’ve started thinking about how good that candy bar would taste — STOP! You don’t have to eat sugar for energy. Better yet, you may be able to prevent the need completely. Follow these fatigue-fighting strategies and you won’t be running on fumes later in the day. Once you’ve mastered these strategies, you’ll be ready for action — just in time for your afternoon workout, or that 4:00pm Cocktail Party!
Follow these tips and you’ll feel like you’ve just had a tune-up:
- Eat a high-carb, high-fiber breakfast: For short-term and long-term energy boosts, make a habit of eating a high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich breakfast with just a bit of protein. Try to get as much fiber as possible in your breakfast. Shoot for 10-15 grams, starting with a good cereal, some ground flaxseed and a piece of fruit.
- Candy bar/NOT`: A sugar boost will just leave you lagging again in an hour. For a nearly instant energy boost that lasts, eat a healthy snack containing protein and a complex carbohydrate. For example, whole grain crackers and cheese, or a piece of fruit and a palmful of nuts will do. Experts recommend snacking as a way of keeping your metabolism up throughout the day.
- Take Breaks: Multitasking is viewed as the way to get a lot done quickly. But taking a short break and doing absolutely nothing for a few minutes can help you overcome fatigue and actually get more done in the course of a day. One short break of 5 or 10 minutes or even less can boost your energy immediately, and making break time a habit can keep your energy up in the long-term.
- Act with Energy: We think we ACT because of the way we FEEL, but often we FEEL because of the way we ACT. Trick yourself into feeling energetic by moving more quickly, pacing while you talk on the phone, and putting more energy into your voice. I like to put on some of my favorite old tunes, and sure enough I feel like dancing! Also, research shows that when people move faster, their metabolism speeds up.
- Exercise: A recent study found that inactive people who normally complained of fatigue could increase energy by 20% while decreasing fatigue by as much as 65% by simply participating in regular, low-intensity exercise. Contrary to popular belief, exercising doesn’t make you tired — it literally creates energy in your body. Go for a walk and get the benefit of sunshine as well.
- Control Stress: Stress-induced emotions consume huge amounts of energy. Talking with friends or relatives can be a great stress reducer. Relaxation therapies like meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, and Tai Chi are also effective tools for reducing stress.
- Drink Water: What’s the only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for all but the most demanding endurance activities? It’s not some pricey sports drink and it’s definitely not Red Bull. In fact, it`s WATER! If your body is short of fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue.
- Get Your Beauty Sleep: Experts recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to recharge and lower stress. Having trouble falling asleep? Don’t drink caffeine past noon. Avoid exercise two hours before bedtime. Make your bedroom a sleep-only zone — no TVs, computers, or other distractions.
So while some of your energy comes from your diet, much of it is affected by your daily activity. One way of protecting your heart, watching your weight, and increasing your energy is by eating more fiber.
If you’re still struggling with fatigue, you may want to consider iron supplements. Iron deficiency is a leading cause of fatigue, and can even effect concentration and memory.
Check out this excellent slideshow and try adding these foods that loaded with both fiber and taste.