In today’s world with all the advances to make our life easier there is one common complaint that I hear, especially from women over 50. They often feel that they have a lack of energy, not enough of ‘get up and go’ that they need to successfully navigate through their daily routine. However, there is a way that you can vastly increase your energy in 7 days.
Although health, fitness and wellness is now a huge online business –for example even though ‘weight loss’ information is the second most searched for subject on the net –there is surprisingly little information about energy and more specifically, about how you can increase your energy levels.
In fact, once you know how to increase the levels of energy available to you, then it becomes far easier to ensure that you never again find yourself in a place where you feel permanently tired and drained of energy no matter what you seem to do.
Replacing energy that has trickled away over the years is not something that is going to happen overnight because there are no ‘quick fixes’. In fact, the very things that most people would probably think of as being capable of supplying a quick ‘energy burst’ will often leave you feel more tired that ever.
Everyone is different also. Once you start to make the appropriate changes you are likely to begin to feel increasingly energetic pretty quickly.
What’s the problem?
Why are you lacking in energy? There are many different reasons why an individual might feel tired or fatigued but there is one common feature of the majority of people who are lacking in energy. That is the fact that most of these people are actually trying to live a healthy life!
Yet they are suffering with lack of energy. I found what could be some of the contributory factors:
A lack of sleep:
It should be fairly obvious – that if you don’t get enough sleep every night, you are going to be fatigued and listless throughout the following day. It’s a cumulative effect too! Check out my previous post on how sleep affects metabolism.
Stress is something that is almost unavoidable in the high paced modern world we live in. A little stress if good of course, needed in fact. However, a lot of stress can never be acceptable because it is a condition that is often at the root of a very wide range of medical problems (both physical and psychological). On top of this, it does not have to be something that you accept either.
Stress will make you feel far less energetic than you might otherwise be for several reasons:
- If you have ever gone to bed after a big argument your brain is still hot-wired. It is impossible to go to sleep quickly. Your nerves are on edge and the adrenaline is still pumping.
- Being stressed makes your body less efficient. You are producing large amounts of hormones, a process which in itself uses up a significant amount of the energy that you would otherwise have available.
Nutrient deficient food:
Our modern diet is responsible for an ever expanding range of health problems. We see an ever expanding range of seemingly delicious, nutritious foods on the shelves in the local supermarket. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. To go into the supermarket these days, you must be vigilant and knowledgeable if you are to buy foods that are genuinely nutritious for you and your family.
Improperly prepared foods:
If you are eating at home or in a restaurant, the chances are that the food preparation methods you (or the chef) use are designed more for convenience than they are for retaining the nutrients that exist in the food being prepared.
For example, when you boil vegetables, you remove a significant percentage of the nutrients from them. Please steam your vegetables as the steam leaches far less of the available nutrients than does boiling water.
Frying foods is not a particularly good option either as doing so adds extra fat to your food which is not really something you want to do. A quick saute’ in a healthy unsaturated oil like extra virgin olive oil is a better option.
Lack of nutrients in food has been linked directly to fatigue and listlessness. For instance, Anemia can be caused by shortages of iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid all of which are needed to produce red blood cells.
Drugs in our food:
When it comes to meat products, it is common for commercial farmers to feed drugs to their livestock to make sure that they are breeding for weight gain and to stay disease free.
Farm animals are being pumped full or fed drugs like antibiotics, hormones and steroids. As a result, if you eat these you are consuming an unknown amount of antibiotics and other drugs.
You may be trying to eat a healthy diet and not realizing that the ‘food industry is producing food that is just not as nutritious as it could be. The chemicals and drugs that you may be eating in food could be a factor in low energy levels.
Many people are on various drugs prescribed by their doctors. In the majority of cases, the drugs prescribed are appropriate to the condition being treated but this is not always the case.These drugs have metabolites that are sometimes toxic to your body causing the feeling of being tired.
If you live in a large city or town and you’re surrounded by motor vehicles you may be breathing noxious substances.
Too much sunshine is not good, but if you get too little you could suffer from lack of vitamin D which is linked to using calcium efficiently. If your body is not using mineral and trace elements properly, it can contribute to you feeling tired.
There are people who suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder. Usually in the winter months when the sun shines less. Where you live, what season it is and everything that surrounds you can have a significant role to play in dictating how much energy you have.
Your physical condition:
If you are out of shape, you will have less energy and lack the ‘get up and go’ to do anything about it. In fact, over 1/3 of the adult population of the USA are obese and that number is only climbing!
A combination of factors:
It may not be from one reason or another but a combination of factors. In fact, in the majority of cases, it will be a combination of circumstances or reasons which are causing you be feel tired. The reasons might not be apparent or all included in this list. One problem may be leading to others.
Understanding that your problem of lack of energy is likely to be caused by a combination of factors may help you deal with the situation better.
Start thinking about what changes you need
Begin at the beginning
I hope I have helped you identify some of the factors that might have a part to play in your lack of energy, it is important to understand that these are only general guidelines to get you started and definitely not a detailed medical opinion.
If you feel that each day is becoming more difficult to get through, you may need to seek the advice of your doctor or other medical professional to rule out any genuine underlying medical condition causing you problems.
If you genuinely feel that you consistently lack energy, having a word with your doctor seems to make a good deal of sense.
It’s about your lifestyle
Assuming that there is no underlying medical condition causing your tiredness, this is the point where you must identify why you feel the way you do.
For instance, if you are a person who is always stressed, you probably have a major cause of your lack of energy pin pointed already. If you are out of shape or overweight, you can’t expect to be energetic.
If you have to make large-scale lifestyle changes, it is likely to take a little more time. For example, despite adverts for commercial diet products that claim you can drop 10 pounds or one clothes size per week, this is not going to happen for most people and even for those who do achieve success, the weight loss is almost entirely shed water. Also, weight lost in this way never stays away for the long term.
The physical side of getting more energy
The cliche’ that you are what you eat’ is very true. The physical ‘you‘ that you see staring back at you in the mirror is the sum total of every morsel of food and every liquid ounce of fluid you have ever consumed.
You may need to start making dietary changes.
Macro-managing your diet
These days, our daily diet is dramatically different than it was just 100 or so years ago. For example, before the turn of the 20th century (around 1890), the average US citizen consumed 5 lbs of sugar a year. The figure now is 135 lbs per year and that amount has been increasing.
We also are focused more on processed and convenience foods. The results of these changes have been negative in a number of ways.
Our digestive system is struggling to process the food that we eat every day and does a remarkably good job considering.
Your colon may have built up a store of toxic and noxious substances over the years that your digestive system does not have the ability to push through. Most of these substances come from your diet, with others contributed by the environment in the air you breathe, medical drugs, etc.
All of this toxic material buildup slows you down and reduces your energy levels. Many millions of people in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and the like regularly suffer from constipation and/or diarrhea which are both classic signs that your colon is not in tiptop condition.
Although some with these symptoms may have a medical condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, for most it’s just highlighting the fact that you are not eating the right foods and nutrients. It may make you more susceptible to colon cancer, one of the biggest killers in the Western world.
You could be eating the most nutritious foods but if your system does not have the capability of processing them right, then you won’t get the benefits. Also, because your digestive system is packed with toxic materials, you body expends a large amount of energy just keeping the effects of these toxins in check.
A healthy colon should weigh around 4 lbs whereas some autopsy reports carried out on individuals who did not live a healthy lifestyle reported a 40 lb colon!
When it comes to macro-managing your diet, there are a few considerations.
the first thing that you must do is to reduce the level of toxins and other things like parasites that may be currently putting a drain on your energy.
To do this, you may choose a commercially produced colon cleansing product, but this is not as good as natural dietary changes that will do the same thing.
The benefit to going natural is that you help to minimize the future buildup of these materials. You will start to feel the benefits within days because optimum nutrition allows your system to rejuvenate itself extremely quickly.
The dietary don’ts
Sucrose or processed white sugar initially gives you an immediate ‘sugar high’, it also increases insulin levels which bring you down again just as quickly. It should be clear that processed sugar is not a healthy source of energy.
Processed foods are stripped of their nutrients and instead help to pile up more of the toxic materials in your digestive tract that steals your energy along with saturated fats found in meat.
Watch this video about getting more energy:
What you should do
- Lots of fresh water. The minimum recommended water intake for everyone is at least eight glasses per day. This is not just liquids but real water.
- Green tea, as it is believed that the polyphenols in green tea help to detoxify and also plays a part in preventing diseases like cancer and liver problems. Add 3 or 4 cups per day.
- Organic fruits and vegetables that can be eaten raw. For the first two to three days eat only fruits and vegetables to get your system ‘kick started’.
- Include a probiotic supplement for the first week. These are the ‘good’ bacteria your digestive and immune system depend on.
- Add psyllium seeds and flax seeds. These helps neutralize the toxic effects of the buildup of waste as well as loosen the built up materials. You can also add a substance called ‘bentonite‘. This is a type of edible clay that acts as a bulk laxative that forms a gel after absorbing water in your colon.
If you stick to your ‘raw veggie’ fast for two or three days while taking the supplements, you should feel a noticeable difference. After that stop the probiotics, seeds and bentonite tablets as you don’t want to become dependent on them. You should feel much more energetic and vital than you have felt in a while.
Where to next?
After you have cleaned out your system and are feeling better than you have in months or maybe even years, you don’t want to go back to old dietary habits. A good place you can start is the guidelines on choosemyplate.gov page.
The grains should be whole grains like brown rice and the most nutritious vegetables and fruits are almost always the organic ones. If you include meat, look for organic and non-antibiotic treated meat products. Include a lot of brain friendly foods – oily fish like mackerel, salmon and anchovies plus plenty of dark, leafy vegetables.
Micro-managing your diet
Many nutritional experts suggest that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets you up for the day and provides you with the energy you need to get going. Also some people who work at a full time job may need energy in the afternoon as well so lunch is important.
Try to avoid carbohydrates at lunch as they can make you feel sleepy. Focus instead on a predominantly protein-based lunch. Proteins are broken down in your digestive system into amino acids, one of which is tyrosine that is known to keep you sharp and alert. On the other hand, a carbohydrate packed lunch releases serotonin into your brain which relaxes you. Read more about serotonin.
Another idea is that some herbal supplements can help to overcome a temporary energy deficit. Although not scientifically proven, some people swear by garlic capsules, gingko biloba or ginseng. Also check out my post on the best diet over 50.
The mental side is important too
Your psychological state can play a major role in dictating how energetic you feel. If you are under constant stress, it is harder to maintain a positive attitude and without a positive attitude you may not feel energetic.
What’s the root of the problem?
If you cannot sleep, it may be because you are stressed. Try to identify the root of the problem. For example, it might be because the bedroom is not dark enough. If there is too much light, it interferes with your ability to produce melatonin which is the hormone that is responsible for your circadium rhythm or body clock. Be sure to check out my tips for sleeping also.
As I mentioned before, foods that are rich in carbohydrates release serotonin which helps to relax and calm you so carbohydrate rich foods are an ideal pre-bedtime snack (in moderation). Also try a warm bath with an infusion of aromatic oils.
Dealing with stress
Stress is a terribly debilitating condition and can drain you of all your energy and vitality and also play an active role in contributing to many potentially fatal conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.
Dealing with stress is something that you have to learn and there are several ways of doing so.
- hypnotism -self hypnosis or by a professional hypnotist.
- Yoga and meditation
- deep breathing exercises
- getting in touch with your spi,ritual side by going to church and praying
The importance of exercise
Starting a program of regular exercise is probably on of the best things you can do in terms of boosting your energy levels. Exercise boosts your metabolism and makes your body more efficient.
Exercise at least four times a week. You will become fitter, healthier and more energetic, lively and vital.
As a minimum, do four sessions of a cardio workohut each week. Something that works your whole body.
Start off with something as simple as 15 minutes of brisk walking every day. Then increase a little at a time. Something as simple as walking prompts your digestive system to become more efficient.
Regular exercise improves oxygen flow to all of your organs, including your brain, which helps to combat stress and tension. A good exercise for abs is on the exercise ball.
Muscle loss begins as we age but can be slowed. Make sure you check out my post on Senior Muscle loss.
If you are interested in a great piece of home exercise equipment make sure you read my review.
Here is an easy way to lose fat.
Related: Review of the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 i Treadmill for walking fat off.
I think that most people who have a lack of energy and feel tired and listless is that way because of a combination of factors and not just one thing. I believe if you start the organic fruits and veggie regimen explained above along with the supplements to help clean out your system, and maybe look into adding hypnotherapy or yoga along with beginning to exercise a little, you will find you start to feel more energized rather quickly. You should vastly increase your energy in 7 days or even less!
Let me know if you have tried this or thinking about trying it. If you have any experiences or suggestions please let me know by commenting below.