Do you feel run down? Does it feel like no matter how much you sleep, you can’t feel energized to accomplish your goals? If you’ve answered yes, it might be a good time to look at what you are eating to fuel your body. Most people fall short on planning and preparing well-balanced nutrition for themselves. In fact, most popular diets, while well-intentioned, make it harder to find the energy we need.
Everyone has unique nutrition needs. This means what foods work wonders for one person, might give the next person a massive headache. Everything from your blood type to your job and stress level will determine what your body needs to be fed. So, while it’s easy to try to copy what a friend is doing, you need to do your own research on what helps you feel great versus what makes you sluggish.
A new look at food journaling
The best way to increase your awareness of how different foods affect your energy levels is by keeping a simple food diary or using a food tracking app. Every time you have an energy crash, look back and see what you’ve eaten over the course of the day. You might be eating too little, or depending too much on simple carbs. Experiment with different types of meals at different times and find what works best for you.
Stress and food, a personal journey
Over the past two years, I’ve spent more time than most being introspective about everything from my energy levels to my emotional journey throughout the day. When I’m stressed, I tend to seek out sugary and crunchy snacks far more than when I’m relaxed. When things are going well, I do much better with what I choose to eat throughout the day and as a result, my energy levels stay at a place where I feel I can get things done.
Lately, however, due to several circumstances that are out of my control, my eating habits have been out of control due to stress. My first instinct is to turn to those crunchy and sugary foods, even though I know they make me feel far more tired later. But, when you’re feeling more stress than you can handle, it’s hard to rationalize yourself out of an action that makes you feel better in the moment.
For now, my self-care will look different than when I don’t have as much on my plate and that’s okay. What is more important is to start with more awareness of what I’m doing and why. Only after that can I start to find better choices that are both easy to do and healthier in the long run.
Discussion question: When you’re stressed, what types of foods do you find yourself craving? How does this compare to when you’re relaxed? Tell us in the comments!