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Many of our personal training clients report feeling sluggish and sleepy mid afternoon, with an urge to sleep. Part of the problem is what you had for breakfast, and what you had for lunch. If you skipped breakfast then you have gone for over 12 hours or more with no energy intake (presuming that you do not eat in your sleep). This means that your blood sugar levels have fallen very low resulting in a lack of energy. You are now getting into a cycle of energy highs and lows, so that come lunch time you will have a craving for sweet sugary foods and processed carbohydrates. If, true to form, at lunch you then have all the things that I’ve just mentioned, you will feel great for half an hour or so, but the problem is that all of those processed foods are easily converted by the body into blood sugars. This means that the blood is flooded by these sugars, the body then uses them very quickly, and then they run out. So you feel very tired and sleepy.
This cycle of energy highs and lows is really common, and apart from making you feel especially tired after lunch it will also encourage your body to store fat; it begins to think that there is a famine and can go into to starvation response, where it will store any excess energy available as fat. The cycle of highs and lows also means that you will alternate from feeling energetic to feeling tired in a short space of time.
So, what’s to be done?
Having breakfast will break the cycle, especially if it has a low glycaemic index, as then the food you’ve had in the morning will take longer for your body to break down into blood sugar, so will be released more slowly. Hence more even energy levels.
Having a healthy snack mid morning will also help keep the blood glucose levels even.
A healthy lunch with a good lean protein and vegetables will again be used up slowly for even energy levels.
This method of eating food with a low GI fairly often is not just great for energy levels but also for keeping slim and trim. No more excess energy intake at any one time means that you are balancing energy taken in with energy expended, so there will be no fat storage. Small meals often also gives you little metabolic bursts every time that you eat and so helps to increase the all important metabolic rate.
So eat healthily and reasonably often and you will be not just more awake but slimmer and healthier too!!