Eating For Energy

“I want more energy”

 

Well don’t you?  That is the request I hear the most from my clients.  Actually, losing weight is usually the number one thing they want, but when I ask them why they want it they tell me they want more energy.

 

And I can understand why!

 

I know what it feels like to have no energy and how that can have a huge impact on your quality of life.  Before I became a health coach I worked in a stressful corporate sales job that had me on a plane somewhere almost every week.  I was constantly tired and burnt out and felt I needed daily doses of chocolate and wine just to get me through the day.  Chocolate at work to keep me stimulated and wine as soon as I walked through the door at home to reward myself for another day done.  I put on weight.  I felt lethargic and unmotivated and I spent way too much time on the couch.  I didn’t feel like me.

I have since learned that this pattern was keeping my energy levels low and I am no longer stuck on this path.  Do I still eat chocolate and drink wine?  Hell yeah!  But I no longer rely on them for energy or happiness and I am so much more productive as a result.

And this is something I love to teach my clients too.  Would you like to hear what I tell them?

Firstly, we need to know, what exactly is energy?  Let’s go to Websters for a definition:

  • Energy – (n) 1) the capacity for vigorous activity; 2) Often an exertion of energy; effort; 3) forcefulness of expression; 4) Physics. the capacity to do work; 5) a source of usable power, as fossil fuel.

And what is Vitality?  (Besides it being one of my favourite words…)

  • Vitality – (n) 1) exuberant physical or mental vigour; 2) capacity for survival or continuation; 3) power to live or grow

 

Think about this right now – what would your life be like if you had an abundance of energy and vitality?  What was the first thing that came into your mind?  The first three things?  Write them down!

 

 

I have used my increased energy is to get up earlier in the morning and do some meditation most days (if you’d told me five years ago I’d regularly get out of bed before 6am I would have told you you’re crazy), I am able to cook healthy food almost every day rather than rely on take-out, and I teach 8 fitness or yoga classes a week without feeling burnt out.

What would your 3 things be?  It doesn’t have to be early mornings and meditation – it might be playing outside with your kids or being bothered to go out with your partner for dinner.  Having more energy is really important for so many things – your relationships with family & friends, your physical fitness and your general motivation levels.

 

Chemical stress

 

This is one of the key ways that our energy becomes depleted.  This really relates to the food we eat and the products we use in our homes and on our bodies.  There are many foods that can decrease our energy – caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol, too much or too little meat, highly processed foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce, tobacco, milk, sugar, artificial sweeteners and trans fats.  Stimulants such as caffeine and sugar may appear to give you an energy boost but they actually deplete our bodies by drawing out minerals and nutrients.  Plus, they are highly addictive which can deplete us mentally too – we are constantly wondering when we are going to get the next hit!  It can be useful to reduce or eliminate these foods.  We are all dependant on one or more of these –which one is it for you?   This is where consulting a health coach or nutritionist can assist you to help you figure out what foods aren’t working for you and creating a plan for better choices.

 

Other things that deplete your energy levels are emotional, mental and physical stress.  If you are having problems in a relationship, hate your job, or have an injury or an illness to deal with then you are undoubtedly also struggling with vitality in your life.  I have had clients that have made such huge changes to their self-esteem that they have left a job they didn’t like and one even started to make plans to leave a relationship that wasn’t working for them.  So if you have these stressors in your life, perhaps a health coach can help.  Or sometimes you are better off to see a psychologist or your GP.  Trust your gut instincts, you will know what’s best for you.  Asking for help is often the first step to gain increased energy.

 

Ok, so let’s go back to my favourite topic… food! Let’s talk about foods that can increase your energy levels.

  • Whenever possible, focus on the highest quality you can afford. Aim for organic and local where possible. I realise it can be expensive to jump straight into an organic lifestyle so click here to learn more about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 and which foods you should prioritise as organic.
  • Foods that are alive have life force – they will help to increase your energy. These foods are often raw and will go off if left out. A great rule of thumb I like is: If microorganisms cannot thrive on it, what makes us think humans can?  We’ve all seen those photos of McDonalds meals that have been left out for weeks, months, and even years and appear completely unchanged.  If mould doesn’t grow and thrive off McDonalds, then you can’t possibly either!
  • Whole foods: grains, vegetables, and legumes. These are foods that have not been processed and thus, keep all the components of their original, natural state: fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Processing removes these elements and depletes the food’s nutrients. Look for products that have 3 ingredients or less as they have not been altered too much.  Even better shop mostly in the meat and veggie aisles.  These foods have hardly been processed at all!
  • Superfoods have very high levels of nutrients and are usually easy to spot because they have lots of colour. Try leafy greens like kale, spinach and, chard, or beautiful berries such as blueberries and raspberries. And cacao is one of the most potent superfoods on the planet so a piece of rich dark chocolate doesn’t hurt from time to time either!

 

My advice to you right now is to write down three foods you could try this week that will help to increase your energy.  Add them to your shopping list!  As soon as my clients start eating kale regularly their energy levels sky rocket.  It happens without fail!

 

 

I’d love to know how these new foods make you feel – please leave a message about your experience in the comments section below.

What are you going to do for yourself to increase your energy levels?  Why would you like more energy?  Think about why it is important to you?  What were the three things you wrote down at the beginning of the session?  Let those things be your motivation.

 

And if you would like to chat about your personal energy plan schedule a free 30 minute discovery session with me – you’ve got nothing to lose (except maybe the 3pm blahs!)