People of all ages seem to be suffering from an energy deficit these days.

Many of us feel run down and exhausted, and turn to sugar and/or caffeine to bolster flagging energy reserves. So we lose energy and gain weight. We gain weight because modern life disrupts our adrenal rhythms and puts us in survival mode.

Proper nutrition and the timing of what you eat can do wonders to make you feel alert, energetic, powerful, reset adrenal rhythm and kick few kilos at the same time.

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How to eat for energy? 5 food rules to live by

Rule #1

It is very tempting to grab a cup of coffee and a croissant/doughnut for the morning rush to boost our exhausted body and mind. But you have to realize that in few hours your energy will go down again.

Solution – – Skip morning coffee

Eat an energizing breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up with 30 grams of protein.  This simple solution works because it keeps morning levels of insulin low and energy high, preventing drops in blood sugar and energy later in the day.

Rule #2

Not eating a balanced diet can lead to malnutrition. Unfortunately we live in an age of overeating but still being malnourished. In this situation, your diet doesn’t provide the body with all the nutrients it needs to function optimally.

The modern day diet is energy dense (too many calories) but nutrient poor (not enough vitamins and minerals).  Too many “empty calories” confuse the metabolism and pack on the pounds.

Solution – – Balance is key

The best solution is to eat a variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetable, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean meats and fish to ensure you’re getting everything the body needs.  And be sure to eat the right food combinations, because your body loves to be in balance.

food rules_2

Rule #3

Many people skip breakfast and some may even skip lunch because they think it will help them lose weight.

But by skipping breakfast or lunch—or both—not only are you depriving your body of nutrition needed for energy just when it needs them the most, you’re also likely to compensate with a lethargy-inducing pig-out when you do eat. So much for weight loss!

Solution – – Never, ever skip a meal

Eat three balanced meals a day. Make each meal big enough so that you can get to the next meal without hunger pangs. Relax and take time to enjoy the process of eating. No snacking between meals. Make lunch the biggest meal of the day. Drink 8 glasses of water per day, between meals.

Rule #4

What happens when you are halfway through your day, and your energy plummets? Often people turn to coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks that may give you a lift in energy, but only temporarily.

These foods create a massive surge in cortisol, which, in the long run, further depletes your ability to manage stress. When adrenal glands are overworked and tired (in other words, exhausted), it leaves a person feeling tired, heavy, and susceptible to weight gain and illness.

Solution — Healthy carbs at night

Dr. Christianson says: “If you have the same amount of carbs at night that you would in the day, you are going to sleep better. We know that if you are sleeping well, you are going to be more successful in your future weight-loss efforts and keeping energy stable.”

You will have more ways to keep ghrelin in check. Also, you have better regulation of cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that causes you to store fat.

So, having good carbs (resistant starch/carbs) at night is a strategy that can help to repair these hormones of hunger, lose weight and gain energy. (Dr. Christianson is a Phoenix, Arizona-based Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) who specializes in natural endocrinology.)

Rule #5

Processed foods are produced using manufacturing methods to transform raw ingredients into neatly packaged goods, which have a longer shelf life.

Some of the artificial ingredients used include monosodium glutamate (MSG), flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oil, fillers, and artificial sweeteners. Most likely, it’s processed food if it’s wrapped in several layers of plastic, cardboard, and/or foil.

Solution – – Eat more real food

Rather than processed crisps, biscuits from a box, juice or fruit bars, instead go for real food that’s closer to nature and doesn’t have labels with lots of ingredients attached to them.

Things like vegetables, fruit, legumes, healthy fats and animal protein. Yes, you need fat to absorb some key antioxidants and keep your healthy weight.

In summary

Your body burns calories to produce energy by breaking down carbs, proteins or fats.  If you are struggling with fatigue, weight gain and other related problems there is a good chance that your metabolism is burning the wrong fuel.

To restore your metabolism even little changes in your eating habits and lifestyle can make a big difference.

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