We all feel it on either a daily basis or just once and a while, that mid-afternoon “slump”. That time of day where you start to feel tired, hungry (possibly “hangry”), and you begin to crave sugary carbohydrates food
If you are getting this feeling on a daily basis, there are a few things you need to ask yourself:
Consuming enough water (by 3-4pm you should be at at least 1.5 -2 liters consumed) will keep you feeling energized and keep your body functioning properly. Remember if you drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, these act as a diuretic which means you will need even more water to keep your body functioning.
Always have a water bottle with you, in your car, or a cup of water at your desk. If you always have water around you it is more likely that you will continue sipping throughout the day. CLICK HERE for more tips on how to stay hydrated!
Sometimes when people go on a health kick and decide they want to lose weight, the common plan looks like this: skip breakfast, have a small lunch (healthy) lunch, and then a few small snacks; however, by late afternoon or dinner time they are starving, which will lead to unhealthy decisions and the “whatever I’ll try again tomorrow” mentality. It’s a horrible cycle to get wrapped into both mentally and physically towards your weight loss goals.
Eat more earlier in the day when your willpower is at it’s highest! It is important to get your metabolism and brain kick started in the morning with a healthy protein packed breakfast, then follow that with small snacks and meals every 3.5 to 4 hours. Try to get some protein every time you eat as this will help keep you feeling full for longer and keep energy levels high. As the day goes on our willpower seems to dwindle, but if you are still full from your last meal you will be less likely to go for those doughnuts sitting in the office lunch room or the cookies you hid in the back of the cupboard, but never forgot about.
If you are not sleeping at least 7-8 hours in a night you might feel fine in the early hours of the day, but as the day goes on the body (if not fueled properly by good food) will begin to feel tired both mentally and physically.
Getting on a regular sleep schedule will work wonders in helping you fall asleep, wake up with energy, and sleep more hours throughout the night. Want more information on how to get on a regular sleep schedule and how to wake up with energy in the morning? CLICK HERE for tips to get rid of the snooze button.
The brain needs oxygen and to be stimulated to stay awake and alert. If you have a desk job and have been sitting staring at a computer screen all day without getting up and moving around the body will start to get tired and this is when people try and tell themselves the fix is a big cup of afternoon coffee and sugar (normally in the form of cookies and doughnuts); however, do you know what happens when you do this? Your blood sugar will spike instantly and yes the coffee will give you a temporary boost, BUT, this sugar boost will only be a very temporary fix before guilt of eating all of that sugar kicks in while you are trying to stay on track.
Set an alarm on your phone to get up from your desk and go for a 5 minute walk every 1 to 1/2 hours, if your job does not allow this, perhaps try just standing up while you are on the phone (sit to stand desks are great!). If you have a stairwell at work or in the house, walk up and down a few flights of stairs 3-5 times every hour to get your heart rate pumping and blood flowing or perform a few stretches (dynamic stretches are the best). CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT STATIC AND DYNAMIC STRETCHES.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – as cliche as this quote sounds, it’s true! if you are not prepared to hunger pains or cravings later in the afternoon you are more likely to stop at a drive through, raid the cupboards for cookies or chips, or head into the staff room for those doughnuts that have been calling your name all day.
Be prepared! Anyone who knows me is aware that I always have healthy snacks with me. My car console normally you will find some dried fruit or a bag of trail mix/almonds and then in the backpack I carry around with me from client to client all day will have the same as well as protein powder or possibly some homemade protein bars/energy balls. Even I get those late afternoon cravings sometimes too! The key is being prepared for them, it you are hungry it is better to eat; however, making sure you eat the right foods is important!
Here are some examples of great snack ideas that will tie you over until dinner without destroying your weight loss goals:
1-2 Ryvita’s or rice cakes with avocado
Protein powder blended with milk and strawberries
1 handful of almonds and 1 apple
200g tub of yogurt and 1 banana
1 can tuna on 1-2 rice cakes
OR try making my favorite Power Ball Recipe! CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE
I hope this helps and just remember one thing the key to successful weight loss on consistent energy is eating every 3 to 4 hours and choosing higher protein snacks in order to avoid spikes in blood sugar.