5 Top Tips For Improving Your Energy In December
December can be a time of over doing in all areas of our lives. Overindulging, over partying and overworking. Here I've outlined 5 Nutritionist approved ways to balance your energy and help you recover should you overindulge over the festive period.
Tip 1: Ensure your blood sugar levels are balanced
It’s so easy to get carried away with all the yummy treats, buffets, chocolate and sweets which are available in December but when it comes to our energy levels it is so important to keep our blood sugar levels balanced. When are blood sugar levels are unbalanced we start to feel tired, we get the mid-afternoon dip, we crave carbohydrates, chocolate and sweets. This is a cycle which continues every day if we don’t get control over it.
The way to keep our BSL balanced is to make sure we are eating protein with each meal, especially breakfast. We should be eating approx. 0.8g of protein per kg you weight. So, if you weight 60kg you should be eating around 50g per day. Its easy to find out the protein content of foods with a quick google, tally up what you have on an average day and don't eat it all at one meal, it should be split evenly throughout the day.
Note: It’s absolutely ok to eat what you want all year round and not just in December. Those of you who have worked with me before will know that I don’t practice nutritional therapy in a restrictive way. One of my fellow NTs did a great post about this the other day whereby she explains how a few meals out shouldn't make you feel guilty and give up. I follow the 80/20 rule, 80% of eating all the right things and 20% do what you fancy. You can catch her post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B5ioxSqH9-8/
Tip 2: Make sure you are getting your veggies in
Now I know that I rattle on about this all the time but it’s so important!! I like to think about my veggies as my source of nutrients, this is where I get my vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from (they are obviously in other foods too). When our body has to produce energy its not all about the glucose from food. To turn glucose into energy it has to go through a series of reactions which require cofactors and these cofactors are those vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients so they help to create energy! Not only that but veggies are high in fibre which supports our gut function (a sluggish gut makes us feel sluggish) but the fibre also slows down the absorption of carbohydrates from other foods which in turn supports our blood sugar balance. So this helps tip 1 too!
Tip 3: Try to get 8 hours of sleep per night
Now I know this is easier said than done, especially with all the Christmas parties and meeting up with friends but it's so important. When we are tired our bodies automatically want to help us create energy in the easiest way and to do this it makes us crave carbohydrates. Next time you’ve had a rubbish night’s sleep check in with yourself the next day and the foods you are drawn to, you will be amazed at how it’s always carbohydrates. The body is a wonderful thing in doing this as this is the quickest way to get glucose, but unfortunately unless we are eating balanced meals we end up with unbalanced blood sugar levels again. Not only that but during those 8 hours of sleep our body has time to heal and repair which is essential for making sure we have energy the next day.
Note: What can you do to ensure you get those 8 hours? Can you switch things around if you are going out so that all you have to do is sleep when you get home? Can you go to work an hour later and get a lie in?
Tip 4: Alcohol! How to ensure you feel your best if you are going to drink?
I’m not going to tell you not to drink because where would be the fun in that? But there are things you can do to make yourself feel better if you do decide to drink this December.
If you know you are going to drink in the evening, make sure you eat 3 proper meals. Including protein at each meal. Many alcoholic drinks are really sugary and can affect your blood sugar balance that way but alcohol also affects the way your liver regulates blood sugar balance so its important to balance those BS levels in advance. Not only that if you have an empty stomach the alcohol will affect you quicker (we’ve all been there).
Before you go to the party have a really big glass of water. Most of us down our first drink when we get to the pub and this is actually because we are dehydrated, so making sure we are hydrated before we go out is the best way to resolve this.
Be mindful throughout the evening of how much alcohol you are drinking and have a glass of water inbetween drinks. I promise you, you will thank me the next day!
Make sure you get 8 hours of sleep, when we have alcohol in our systems we don’t go into REM sleep as much and this is the sleep cycle that makes us feel rested which is why after drinking alcohol you will feel more tired the next day.
Eat a big breakfast the next morning, and stay super hydrated. Protein to help balance your blood sugar levels and give you energy for the next day.
Note: And if you really need to take a powdered multivitamin in water the next morning along with some vitamin C and glutathione these will help to offset the effects of the alcohol.
Tip 5: Say no to things which don’t serve you
Now this is an important one too. December can be a month of having so many things to do, present buying, Christmas parties, travelling, spending time with family and friends and it can all get a bit much. If you are not feeling it for whatever reason it's ok to say no. If going to that family gathering is going to wear you out because of the constant questions about when you are going to have a baby and so on, then it's ok to say no and you don't have to explain yourself either. Allow yourself the space to NOT feel guilty for all the things everyone else thinks you should be doing and only do what you want to this December.