A day in our profession requires a lot of energy:
- Energy to deal with a disgruntled client
- Energy to handle the emotions of losing a patient
- Energy to think on your feet when a patient presents differently than expected
- Energy to multi-task all day long between greeting, treating, documenting, and communicating!
Is it even possible to do all of that without feeling completely exhausted?
The answer is yes, and my advice is simpler than you might think.
The body gets energy from a few key places: sleep, water, and of course, food. Eating for energy is about slowing down and learning to listen to your body.
Everyone’s body is unique in what it needs to function at its best. In order to understand what to eat for energy, we have to experiment with what works for us and what does not.
Three simple yet effective ways to boost energy
Before we talk about your eating habits, we need to review sleep and water. I know, I know! You’ve heard this all before. It’s so simple, it couldn’t possibly work for you.
1. Learn to sleep efficiently
There are many factors to how energized we feel. Sleep is the biggest and often most elusive. Making sure we get enough sleep in order to wake up feeling rested is the best way to feel more invigorated. This amount can be different for each person, as some can thrive on 5 hours of sleep while I need 7.
2. Drink more water
Water is the main component of blood and is essential for carrying nutrients to the cells and taking away waste products. If your body is short on fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue. Drink water. Plenty of water.
2. Eat with intention and purpose
Once sleep and water have been addressed, if we find we are still having slumps in our day where exhaustion consumes us, then we look to what we are eating. Are our foods causing us to have a sugar crash and feel tired?
Having meals that consist of foods that are not highly processed provides us the best boost. Foods we are not prone to overeating are also beneficial. Always listen to what your body is telling you it needs.
In a nutshell: eat when you’re hungry, not at set times. Eat ’til you’re full, don’t continue after that. And focus on nourishment.
In my research with my own body and clients in experimenting with eating for energy, we have found that balanced meals work best. But what does balanced really mean?
A balanced meal consists of all three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
This could look like chicken, broccoli, and rice or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and mustard (with a pickle on the side for something crunchy!) You get to choose the foods you eat every day.
Choose foods you enjoy eating and that keep you feeling energized. The best way to learn to eat for energy is to experiment with how certain foods and meals make you feel physically and mentally. For instance, if today you skip breakfast, have coffee, and then feel jittery all morning, maybe your body would function better with a meal alongside your coffee. If today for lunch you eat 2 slices of pizza but an hour later are exhausted, maybe the pizza is too heavy to eat mid day and is zapping you of your energy.
Remember, just because a food doesn’t give you energy doesn’t make that food bad or off limits. We are just bringing awareness to what works and what doesn’t to help you have more energy each day.
With more energy often comes a better mood.
With a better mood often comes a better outlook on life, and with that, anything is possible.
Take time over the next few days to keep an energy journal. Notice how your energy is directly after a meal and again 2 hours later. An example of what an energy journal may look like is included below.
You’ll be even stronger if you work on sleep, water intake, and diet for 30 days. I’d love to hear your about your progress at [email protected]!