How To Naturally Increase Your Energy
“I’m just sooooooo tired.”
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said that in the past several years, I’d be a rich-ass woman. (I’m assuming you would be too if you’re reading this post!).
We all crave the same things…
- The ability to wake up without an alarm
- The desire to spring out of bed every morning
- The feeling of alertness without the need for coffee
- And the energy to make it to 4pm without craving a giant muffin (or anything sweet, really:).
If you’re wishing this could be you, you’re not alone.
There are so many energy zappers out there that it seems nearly impossible to always be “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.”
The following lifestyle factors are huge contributors to energy depletion:
- Lack of proper sleep
- Refined carbohydrates
- Burnt out adrenal glands
- Constant coffee
- Not enough leafy green vegetables
- A career lull or lack of motivation
- Oh, and did I forget to mention…SUGAR.
If you feel like any of the above are affecting your energy levels, you’re in good company. Having abundant energy is right behind feeling more confident and losing weight for most women.
So, what can you do to increase your energy levels even if you feel like you’re “doing everything right?” Trust me, girlfriend, I’ve been there. I eat healthy, exercise, and sometimes, I get so tired by 4pm that I need to lay down—and this is without kids or a crazy stressful job.
Obviously, something’s gotta give, and I’m sharing my tips with you for how you can increase your energy and reevaluate your lifestyle when you’ve been battling constant fatigue. Here you go:
1. Reassess your diet. We’ve gotten so used to eating a certain way--which sometimes has nothing to do with what’s best for our bodies--but rather, our choices stem from relayed advice from a friend or an article we recently read in Women’s Health.
Am I right?!
Instead of listening to everyone else's advice, it's time to listen to your own body. I'd suggest taking a few days to use my free Happy, Healthy, Me Food Journal (click to download your copy) to figure out if something you’re eating or doing throughout your day is affecting how you feel.
You’d be amazed at what a little detective work can do.
After three or so days of journaling, my clients have told me they had no idea their yogurt breakfast was making them feel tired mid-morning because they’re sensitive to dairy and didn’t realize it.
Or, they discovered they’re always craving sweets mid-afternoon because there wasn’t enough protein in their lunch (and they crave sugar because they’re tired!).
Or, they’re drinking four cups of coffee per day. FOUR CUPS and had no idea. By cutting back to one cup in the morning and drinking green tea or Teeccino tea (it tastes like coffee!) throughout the day instead of coffee, they feel so much better and aren’t constantly dealing with coffee “highs and lows.”
Even though you may think you’re eating healthy, there could be a daily habit you’re not even aware of that could be taking away your energy and zest for life. Journal for a few days, then report back and let me know what you’ve discovered!
On the opposite end, there could also be an issue with a nutrient deficiency or malabsorption. This is something a functional medicine doctor would be great for, if you happen to have one in your area.
After seeing one myself a few months ago, I learned that I wasn’t eating enough protein (mostly in the form of animal protein, something my body requires to function optimally), and because of this, my B12, ferritin, and Vitamin D levels were low. All of the above nutrients relate to energy production, so I’ve upped my protein levels and keep my blood sugar stable by eating more frequent meals in addition to supplementing. It’s helped tremendously! (A longer post on this is coming soon).
2. Focus on getting some extra zzzzz’s. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that sleep cures all. If I’m feeling even slightly under the weather, the first thing I do is clear my schedule for the morning so I can sleep in for an hour or two. If that’s not possible, I’ll make sure to get to bed between 8-9pm that night.
If my energy isn’t as high as normal, I know that my body is in a state of “cleansing” and I need to take it easy. There’s a reason we sometimes experience symptoms or get “sick” – our bodies need time to rejuvenate and reboot our energy supplies.
Focus on getting at least eight hours of sleep per night, especially during winter months. I promise that quality sleep will change your life!
Ryan and I place so much emphasis on sleep that we built a “super bed” because we noticed we haven’t been sleeping nearly as well together as we once did on our own. This “super bed” is essentially two queens pushed together. I’ll be writing an entire post about why we did this in the near future (I can’t wait for you to see the photos!).
3. Add in at least two cups of leafy green vegetables per day. You can ask any one of my clients--the first thing we discuss when it comes to food is leafy green vegetables. They are an absolute game changer when it comes to your health, your vitality, and your energy.
Yes, kale is awesome—but kale is NOT the only leafy green vegetable (despite its never-ending press). Some other great leafy greens include collard greens, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, dandelion greens, red and green leaf lettuce, and cabbage. Give them a try for a few days and see how you feel! A great way to add more veggies into your diet is by making green smoothies. Lately I’ve been adding zucchini and frozen cauliflower to my smoothies!
In fact, here’s my latest fave recipe. We’ll call it Chocolate Zucchini Obsession:
- 1 cup water (I don't use nut milks anymore, but you can sub almond or coconut milk here)
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen
- ½ scoop Sun Warrior Chocolate Protein Powder
- 1 scoop Amazing Grass Chocolate Greens Powder
- ½ banana
- ½ zucchini, chopped
- 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter
- Handful of baby spinach
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- ¼ cup frozen or fresh blueberries
Blend and enjoy!
4. Move your body. I know it’s nearly impossible to want to head out for a run when you’re tired. There’s a fine line between feeling lazy and feeling exhausted, and listening to your body is important here.
For most, a good workout—even if it’s a 20-minute walk or HIIT workout at home—can have a significant impact on your energy, especially if it’s done in the morning hours.
Our cortisol levels are highest in the morning, and it’s much easier to hit the pavement or head to the gym when cortisol is running high. Waking up the extra 45-60 minutes earlier could make all the difference in how you feel throughout the day.
Otherwise, a lunchtime workout or even post-work gym sesh is better than no workout at all. We’re confused as a society about what a workout “should” entail, so make sure you’re deciding NOT to workout because you think it has to be an all-out sweat session. Walks, jogs, calming yoga, pilates on your living room floor…these activities all count and are just as important as the higher intense workouts such as SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp.
Now I want to hear from you: what do you feel is the biggest culprit when it comes to your low energy? Or, to the opposite tune, do you have plenty of energy throughout the day? If so, what’s your secret? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!