Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Energize Your Workday by Eating Well

By Nicole Yamanaka on Mar 22 2011 • Filed under Health

79% of us believe we are in control of our eating habits. Yet the CDC says fully two thirds of us are overweight. Wow, math was never my strong suit but that doesn't seem right.

Are we in control? Do you eat on the run, grab fast food a couple times a week, have muffin or coffee for breakfast? What about those 2 o’clock lulls and feel the need for an energy drink or coffee? If you ever wonder what to eat, what snacks are appropriate, how often to snack, you may occasionally fall into this category.

PROPER Food is fuel

The majority of food options presented to us are highly carbohydrate-based, and made up of simple sugars. When excess carbohydrates are consumed, the body produces excess insulin and very little glucagon. This results in more fat being formed and stored, and a drop in blood sugar levels. In an attempt to normalize the blood sugar levels, your body stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete more cortisol, which leads to adrenal depletion and exhaustion.

Professionals working in office settings often report mid-day energy drops. The main cause for “crashing” is due to a sudden decrease in blood sugar levels and inactivity. Drops in energy level make it difficult to focus, resulting in increased time spent per project, translating into increased pressure to meet deadlines. Assuming you make it through your day without a coffee, you may also find that your motivation to workout at the end of a long day is adversely affected.

Finally, being dehydrated affects your thinking, making you less productive. Dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood. Studies show that adverse effects of dehydration on cognitive function are present at a 2% or more reduction in hydration and may be present at a 1% level of dehydration.

Energizing Solutions

Simple solutions to introducing proper nutrition into your day easily include:

1. Write down everything you eat.

A simple 24 hour dietary recall can help you analyze your current food intake. Studies show that simply being aware of dietary patterns and the act of writing and reporting food intake to a professional improves awareness and resultant dietary choices.

2. Plan your meals.

Being able to pre-plan when you can eat helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent the mid-day drop. As an example, plan to have one salad every week day to increase your vegetable intake, and avoid grabbing an unhealthy meal on the fly. Meal planning often helps individuals save money as well. Start packing healthy “balanced” snacks. Eating a balanced meal (with a small amount of fat) will help you avoid the sugar rush and prevent the peaks and valleys of blood sugar swings.

3. Start your day with breakfast.

This meal helps maintain a balanced blood sugar profile, giving you energy to start your day. Breakfast doesn’t necessarily mean eating a large meal immediately upon waking, but having a balanced mini meal within two hours of waking constitutes breakfast.

4. Drink pure water.

Try adding one more cup per day, to what you are currently doing. Coffee, tea, or soda dehydrates us even further, and fruit juice is no substitute for pure water. Pure water is essential for good digestive functioning, good nerve conduction, and the elimination of toxins.

You don’t need a degree in dietetics to know if your nutritional habits are good, bad or ugly. Just a little diligence, pre-planning and focus can easily help you battle mid-day fatigue, get the energy for a good workout and feel less overwhelmed with your daily tasks.

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