So you’re eating clean, cutting out meat and banning bread. Sure, it sounds healthy, but if you’re having trouble staying alert and awake during the day? Maybe it’s not as healthy as you think. It turns out, some of the lifestyle choices we make to be healthier can actually zap our energy and leave us feeling drained.
These are some so-called “healthy” things that can make us sluggish and what we can do to get our energy back on track:
- Cutting too many calories- If you’re trying to shed a few pounds and cut your calories too drastically, you might not have the right amount of energy or fuel to get through the day. Registered dietitian Elizabeth DeRobertis explains that being too restrictive with food can slow down the metabolism and leave you feeling drained and really hungry.
- Not eating often enough- Going too long without eating can also make you feel tired. If you’re feeling sleepy and sluggish two to three hours after a meal, eat a balanced snack with fiber and protein, like fresh fruit and nuts or nut butter.
- Cutting too many carbs- Going low carb can make you feel tired and irritable from low blood sugar, plus it can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue. Eating fewer carbs is fine, just make sure it’s the sugary treats you’re skimping on, not fiber-rich carbs like fruits, veggies and whole grains.
- Not eating a balanced plant-based diet- Vegans and vegetarians need to make sure they’re getting enough vitamin B12 and iron or they may end up with anemia and feel tired. If you opt for plant sources of iron, like beans and spinach, having vitamin C with them can help with absorption.
- Eating too many carbs- Even healthy carbs, like brown rice and sweet potatoes, turn into sugar in the body and for some people, eating too much at once can raise blood sugar and high blood sugar makes us feel tired.
- Overexercising can also make you feel tired- But how much is too much? It depends on the type of workout and the person and their stress levels, fitness levels and overall health. Not eating enough to fuel the workout can also leave you feeling drained, so pay attention to how you feel before and after a workout and consider adding carbs or calories for energy or exercising less to balance energy levels.