If you had your best energy consistently throughout the day, would your day look differently than it does now? If so, what would change? Who would be affected?
To answer honestly, I don’t always have my best energy throughout the day. Sometimes I don’t follow my own nutrition principles. Yep, even a dietitian doesn’t eat perfectly. I get busy and forget to eat. I get to dinnertime, I’m STARVING, therefore I grab the chips and salsa to snack on while I attempt to make a healthy dinner. But even in making a healthy dinner, I eat too much of it because again I was starving. Then I’m too full. So instead of engaging in a conversation with my husband, I vote for flipping on Netflix to find an interesting show to mindlessly watch.
Does this scenario sound familiar? Or does your story sound like one of these?
- You are a working professional and your day starts early and is slammed with meetings and project work until 5pm. You barely have time to come up for air so you almost always forget to eat a snack in the middle of your day. When you finally leave work, you are exhausted and have no energy to make a dinner so you pull through the drive through to get a quick dinner. Those fries always look good when you are tanked from a long day at work.
- You are a full time mom of 3 children under 4. Your night becomes day and your day become night. You are waking up early in the morning with the baby and then have to get the other kids ready for school. You drop them off, run to the grocery store, pick them back up, and play with them in the afternoon. Finally, it is dinnertime and you can’t remember if you ate anything during the day. You are feeding the baby, the toddlers, and your sponse, but somehow forget to feed yourself.
- You travel every week for work, and trying to eat healthfully and consistently throughout the day is nearly impossible. Half the time you are in an airplane while most people are eating breakfast, lunch or dinner. By the end of your day, you find all you have consumed is coffee and peanuts.
How do you change your story to one where you have consistent energy, feel your best, and are your best at work and for those that matter most? The sure fire way to do that is to stabilize your blood sugar. Let me explain what that means.
The sugar in your blood (which is called glucose) is what supplies your body with energy. Glucose gives you the ability to think, the ability to move, even the ability to breathe. Your body has a normal blood glucose level where it operates properly just like your body has a normal temperature (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) it needs to stay within to be healthy. Just like your body will react when it is too hot (it will sweat) or too cold (it will shiver) so will your body react when there is too much or not enough glucose in your blood. What happens? You lose the ability to concentrate well which limits your productivity at work. You are tired so you skip your training session at the gym. You cannot perform your daily activities with ease so you certainly don’t want to add any new commitments or activities to your schedule (even though you would love to play in that indoor soccer league). You become irritable so your tolerance for others, even those that matter most to you, is low. You find yourself ignoring some and snapping at others.
In order to prevent this from happening to you, you must supply your body with glucose, which come from food. Food is the fuel on which your body runs and you must give it just the right amount and the right kind so it can operate properly. If you eat too much or only sugar foods (aka carbohydrates) the glucose in your blood will rise causing your body to use what it needs then store the excess as fat. If you do not eat enough or eliminate carbohydrates altogether, the glucose in your blood will drop causing your body to produce glucose internally by pulling it from the brain and muscles.
- Eat something within an hour of waking up. This gives your body fuel at the beginning of the day.
- Eat every 3 - 4 hours during the day. Snacks bridge your blood glucose between meals and should consist of:
-5 - 10 grams of protein
-3 - 5 grams of fiber
- Eat 5 handfuls of food at each meal (a handful = one cupped hand with the other hand on top of it).
-2 handfuls of grain foods
-2 handfuls of vegetables/fruits
By following these 3 guidelines, I promise you will notice a difference in your energy. You will have more of it. You will feel confident to conquer your day. You will be present for and kind to everyone you encounter during your day (family, co-workers, strangers in the car next to you in traffic). You will be able to be that person you truly desire to be.