I am often asked, what can I eat to have more energy? It seems like an obvious answer, yes of course, what you eat is your body’s fuel (energy) and so if you provide your body with the right nutrients then you will maximise your energy levels…right? Only partly.
What affects your energy levels?
Generating energy is amazingly complex. If you think about what actually affects your energy levels on a day-to-day basis you would be correct if you said, “well if I don’t have a good night sleep I have no energy the next day”, or “if I have had an argument with my friend or partner then I feel pretty drained after that”? If you stop to think about all the things in your life that impact your energy levels you will notice that there are numerous ways that you can reclaim that energy back.
How does our relationship with food affect energy levels?
Our relationship with food can both provide and remove energy. How is that so? So, if you eat a healthy balanced diet containing plenty of nutrient rich foods and maintain good hydration you are sending your energy levels way up the scale and that is great, but what happens if, in order to eat that ‘perfect diet’ you have stressed over every food choice, avoided social occasions with friends, not eaten with the family or spent so much of your day counting calories that you feel overwhelmed because you haven’t had time to do the things you want to do in your life? You can see how this energy balance suddenly shifts downwards, possibly even to lower levels than if you had eaten a poor diet in a more relaxed way.
Both our weight and our mental health can impact our future health. Recent studies have even found that those in the overweight category actually have a slightly longer life expectancy than those in the normal/healthy BMI range. More and more evidence is stacking up around the negative implications of yo-yo dieting and its impact on future health. If you could strike a balance between what you eat and how you feel about what you eat, then maybe you can expect that surge in energy that you so desire or that comfortable feeling of eating for enjoyment and not simply for providing your body with fuel. Play the long game and find out what is right for your body and mind.