We've all heard this before 'what you eat is what you are'. To help you be the best version of yourself, here are 3 healthy eating tips that are simple and wholesome energy boosters.
Has your energy been dipping to low levels for the past few weeks? You might have turned to sugar or caffeine to get that temporary energy reserve, more commonly known as sugar high or caffeine rush. This quick fix might get you through that particular night doing overtime. However, if you keep doing it over and over, this band-aid solution will have an adverse effect on your energy in the long run.
What you can do to sustain that energy is to practice mindful eating. As advised by our food expert in our last MYnd Map Facebook Group conversation, Katherine Kimber founder Nude Nutrition and a Registered Dietitian, getting that proper nutrition can do wonders for making you feel alert and powerful. In addition to helping people achieve sustainable and realistic changes in their food intake, Katherine is on a mission to free people from nutrition nonsense and the diet mentality where people are looking for quick fixes to solve low energy levels.
But before getting into the health tips, let’s go back to the basics. As explained by Katherine, nutrition is our food intake and it relates to our body’s dietary needs. A lot of the time, we think that we're eating healthy so that means we’re healthy. That’s not necessarily the case. Because if we look at the bigger picture of health, we could be following that “perfect diet” but if we’re not sleeping, we’re stressed or we’re unhappy, those are also important indicators of our health as well. Nutrition is one component but it needs to be looked at holistically.
Take, for example, a piece of cake. Most people view cake as bad for your diet. Or it is a forbidden item when you are trying to lose weight. But in a moment of tiredness or sadness, you eat a piece. You satiate your sugar craving but then, start feeling guilty for eating it. Now you feel worse rather than feeling satisfied. Sounds familiar?
Katherine emphasizes to stop seeing food as good or bad. Labeling food, whether good vs bad, healthy vs unhealthy, fuels a negative relationship with food. When you put so-called “bad” food on top of a pedestal, it makes you want to eat it more. It then becomes a vicious cycle that makes you have a negative perspective on your food intake. But in all actuality, food is neutral.
Take that piece of cake. In the right context, that piece of cake such as a celebratory piece for a friend’s birthday or taking part in a dinner that brings people together or a part of a healthy diet in the right amount is actually pretty good for you. Saying no to that piece of cake in social gatherings can take away enjoyment from that social experience. Basking in the whole enjoyment of food - with its aroma, taste, textures, and everything that comes with it - is not bad at all.
The secret is to eat mindfully. Eating mindfully allows you to eat anything. If you’re eating loads of biscuit or sugar, of course, you are not going to feel great. It’s a matter of tuning into your body as well. Listening to what your body needs and giving it what it’s asking for but not going overboard.
To watch our entire conversation, click HERE
With that being said, Katherine shares her 3 health tips that will boost your energy in a holistic manner:
- Not one diet fits all. Keep a food diary. To expound on this, there are different groups out there such as keto, paleo, low-carb, calorie-counting groups who are all looking for that silver bullet that makes you feel energetic. Again, there is no such thing as a perfect diet. Instead of searching for that diet, try to just focus on you. Think about simple, realistic changes you can actually start today that will help you. And the way you can do is try to keep a 3 - 4 day food diary. Just write what you eat for 3-4 days. You can then pinpoint within your day where your problem areas are. It might be you’re looking at your breakfast and see that you don't have fruit or veggie in it, you can ask yourself, “Can I have a bit of fruit/veg in there?” “Can I buy a decent water bottle to keep me hydrated throughout the day?” Even if you don’t do a 2 - 3 days diary, just thinking through yesterday’s food can make you figure what you can do without. Do it with a notepad or your MY Journal.
- Sleep. Sleep is a hugely underestimated thing. 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended, however, 5-6 hours sleep is more common, especially in the city. Depending on your sleep, it will affect your food intake the next day. And when we’re tired or overly stressed, our body has a hard time identifying true hunger cues. We usually feel hungry all the time. Research findings suggest that we tend to eat 380 calories extra when we’re tired. That’s because we tend to gravitate towards fatty, sugary food. What Katherine recommends is try to initially get 7 hours of sleep in 1 or 2 days of the week. Start from there and try to make it part of your sleep routine. Also during evenings, think of ways on how to wind down or switch off before going to sleep. If you are running around all day, rushing and you go to bed, you can’t expect to fall asleep fast. So by an hour and a half before you go sleep, wind down by switching off your electronics, switching off from work, having a hot bath, reading a book or magazine - things that will prepare your body to sleep.
- Move for Enjoyment. A lot of people use exercise to burn off calories. They often view it as punishment for indulging in a meal. A better term for exercise is movement. Movement that should be done for fun, for fitness, for enjoyment. Instead of squeezing in an hour at the gym if you hate the gym, why not try a fun activity that will make you feel good? A fitness routine that you enjoy doing with your friends. It might be going to Zumba class, a dance class, take a martial arts class, or go for a walk or jump on a bike. Stop thinking that you are doing this just for exercise’s sake. Don’t cultivate a fear for fitness or exercise or gym. Find a “laborless” sport that you enjoy and that gets you moving. Another tip is to find a middle ground. If you don’t fancy that run, then go for a walk instead. If you don’t want to go to a CrossFit class, then you can do 15-min routine at home.
When you’re low on energy, you’re not just up for anything, you’re sluggish and your mood changes. Food has a play in that. Having good energy levels makes you feel and be productive, you'll want to move, feel happier in a general sense, you'll want to socialise with friends and family. Food fuels that.
Food is energy. What you put in is what you’re going to get out. You put in the right things, you’re going to put out the right energy. Your body’s going to feel good. Your emotions are going to be better. You’re going to wake up more energetic to do the things you have to do. When you have energy, it propels your life. Let mindful eating help you create a life that you love.