Do you ever wish you had just a little more energy to get you through the day? Particularly in the evening when you need to get the wee ones to after school activities, make dinner, and still finish off that last project of the day. Our days seem longer when our obligations exist around the clock, and we need to have the stamina and endurance to be effective in each moment of the day.
As we age, we seem to get tired easier, our metabolism slows and the elements we put into our bodies becomes more of a priority than ever before. Our bodies function on the energy we give it, and there are multiple daily factors that can contribute to our overall health, energy levels, and well-being.
With today’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle, we can often find ourselves grabbing for a “quick fix.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of not making the best food choices by grabbing a cup of joe, or a sugary snack that you know will satisfy that short-term craving, or perhaps is the only option available; unfortunately, these cravings do not get you the real energy you need to keep it going like you should; however, every time we give in to a craving, we may be adding to a cyclical process that makes you want to keep giving in.
Don’t let your daily routine allow you to get caught up in the easy, convenient option, especially when it comes to the food you are putting in your body. Here are 5 key facts to know when trying to keep your metabolism functioning in stellar fashion.
1. Hunger and blood sugar levels
When you overeat you gain weight. Simple enough. Eating the right foods and at the right time can not only help curb your hunger but also curb your cravings and essentially, help maintain a healthy weight. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable will also help you keep hunger at bay. High blood sugar results when your diet includes excess sugar, refined carbohydrates, sodas and sweet or alcoholic drinks.
Ultimately, having excessive and frequent high blood sugar levels contribute to heart disease, strokes, and atherosclerosis many of the complications that can lead you on that path. Conversely, if you skip meals you will experience effects of low blood sugar: dizziness, feeling sluggish, irritability, lack of coordination. Neither is good. Have you ever skipped breakfast or lunch, whether you planned to or not, and then come dinner time you overeat and feast because your body is starving? Your body somehow makes up for the calories it missed earlier in the day. This is bad on your body and your mind.
Quick tip: To keep a fast metabolism, don’t skip meals; especially breakfast. Start your day with intent.
2. Eat the right snacks
Did you know that your lifestyle can throw off the body’s hormones such as Leptin and Insulin? These hormones are responsible for regulating our energy and keeping our metabolism constant. Foods naturally rich in sugar and nutrients like fruits will balance out your hormones and keep you going. This is why is it helpful to eat snacks regularly throughout the day.
Quick tip: Keep a fast metabolism by being mindful of what you eat. If it will help you, try tracking your meals either in a journal or via an app.
The antidote is to be mindful of when you eat and what you eat. Using a system to track your meals is a super effective tool for this. There are many apps out there to help you do this. A great app is MyFitnessPal, but there are many others out there. Some key features of MyFitnessPal help you to track your fitness and nutritional goals. You can set it up to remind you to log in the food and drink you consume at specific times of the day. It logs in an approximate calorie count for your entry. There is a great search capability that includes many food brands and popular dishes at restaurants.
If you’re tired of using your phone for everything, you can use a small notebook to jot down your meals and snacks, and what time you are eating. It will clarify the moments in your day when you need to make a different choice, eat something healthier, and boost your energy levels.
Space out your meals and snacks any way that fits your schedule. Some people like to eat five – six mini-meals spaced out, each meal having at least 150 calories. Or you can eat your three sensible main meals, with two or three small, healthy snacks. Be sure to balance out the calories among these. Have a bunch of snacks on hand or ones that are easy to prepare such as:
- Handful of almonds and cashews
- Apple slices and almond butter
- Protein smoothie of frozen berries, and 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed, a tbsp of almond or peanut butter, some water and ice to your liking
- Hummus with organic fresh vegetables- peppers, cucumbers, carrots, etc.
Make those main meals count by eating foods rich in nutrients and have lean protein, such as skinless chicken breasts, at each meal along with your carbs. Either way, the idea is to not let yourself get so hungry you go back for those tricky salty chips.
3. Water intake
Did you know, the body will burn more calories when you drink water throughout the day? 60 percent of the human adult body is water. Water is critical and it actually helps the body to process the calories ingested. Keep your metabolism moving with a delicious glass of ice water! Drinking water throughout the day can also keep hunger at bay! Instead of the sugary snacks, grab a cup of water to curve your cravings.
Quick tip: Help you metabolism by keeping a water at your desk or in your car, even if you don’t fully intend to drink it. You are more likely to drink water if it is sitting right in front of you!
Make getting your zzz’s essential. Like water, your body operates much more effectively when it has had proper sleep and rest. Many studies show that poor sleep contributes negatively to our overall well-being. When we are well rested, we have more energy, a clearer mindset, and more motivation to get through the day!
Quick tip: If you feel groggy during the day, try taking a 20-minute catnap! This is just enough time to reboot the body and the brain. If you nap for longer than 20-30 minutes, you can wake up more drowsy than before.
Do not chow down your meal in 5 seconds. Be mindful as you eat, recognize the blessings each meal gives you. This will make eating your food more enjoyable and will help you avoid overeating. Being mindful of what you are eating will also help you realize what you are putting into your body. Aside from leaving a meal with a stomach ache and a bloated stomach, think about what other chemical reactions are occurring internally and see how that influences yours eating patterns. You can also avoid overeating by drinking water before every meal. This will keep you hydrated and full!
Quick tip: Quit eating when you are full for a fast metabolism and more energy. Over indulging can make you feel lazy and sluggish. Don’t feel obligated to finish everything on your plate. If you are going out to lunch, think of foods that you can save in a to-go box as a nutritious snack for later.