Weight Loss Wednesday - Eating for Energy

Oh the holidays, the time of mirth, togetherness, conviviality and overeating. If you
are like many of us, you may now be experiencing something that I like to refer to as
“Holiday Eating Hangover.” Holiday Eating Hangover (HEH) is a commonly
contracted around the holidays, coming on suddenly, often after a large meal.
Symptoms can include: fatigue, lethargy, bloating, gastric upset and a severe desire
to remain glued to your couch and Netflix for up to three days.
Sound familiar? While the above syndrome is entirely made up, holiday eating
can have a real impact on our energy levels and our lives in general. Thankfully,
holiday fatigue is not life-threatening, and there are several small changes that can
be used to minimize it.


Hydrate:
Dehydration often manifests as headache and fatigue. Try to drink 6-8 oz. of water
first thing in the morning, to get your body off to a good start, and continue drinking
it regularly throughout the day to keep energy levels high, and all cells functioning
at peak capacity.


Eat, eat, eat!
Think of your body like an engine. If you want it to produce energy and move
forward, it needs a constant fuel supply or many small meals throughout the day.
Eating frequently not only lessens the potential for overeating, but can also help to even out

your blood sugar levels, thereby helping you avoid any sudden energy crashes. For best
results, break your daily calories into six small meals. If that feels overwhelming, try getting at least three balanced meals and one quality snack in.

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Balance your meals:
Going back to our engine analogy: high performance vehicles require high quality
fuel. The same way a diesel engine would cough and sputter if you tried to run it on
unleaded, your body only functions best when it gets high quality eats. With
reference to energy, this means balancing the carbs in your meals with healthy,
protein and fats. Ever had that 3pm slump at work? That feeling is often caused by
low blood glucose and can be prevented by adding protein and fat to your lunch
meal.

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Make your calories count:
Avoid empty calories from processed foods at all times. Go for nutrient dense and
filling things such as fruits & veg, low-fat cheeses, nuts, eggs, and  lean deli meats or canned tuna.
Prepare for sudden mid-day attacks of the munchies by keeping portable snacks like
whole fruit and nuts close at hand. Got an office fridge? Stock it with additional
items like cut veggies, salad, low fat cheese and deli meats for quick and easy desk
lunches.

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Ease up on the night caps:
Alcohol is a depressant, but can act as a stimulant during and after consumption,
often disturbing sleep patterns and thereby leading to fatigue the next day. To
maintain your nighttime ritual without the accompanying sleep disturbances, try
swapping the booze for a seltzer with lemon, a virgin cocktail or a hot cup of herbal
tea.

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Exercise:
Yeah, I know this part isn’t strictly food-related, and the title of this blog is “Eat for
Energy” and not "Exercise for Energy", but I don’t think this can be overstated. Exercise is your friend. Exercising leads
to the release of endorphins, feel good chemicals produced in your brain that act as
natural stimulants within your body and naturally “pep you up”. Regular exercise has also
been linked to better sleep. So, exercise!


W.L.W. Tip(s) of the Week:
- Hydrate
- Balance your meals
- Eat small meals throughout the day
- Make your calories count
- Exercise