Fighting Fatigue: One step at a time
Written by: Norine Khalil, MSc, RD
Can we get real for a minute and collectively come to the conclusion that 2020 has been a shit show (pardon my language)? What a rollercoaster…and NOT the fun, exhilarating kind. The ups and downs did not stop at emotions, oh no. Many of us (myself included) felt that rollercoaster in many, many ways. But there was one way in particular that managed to show up in my office during appointments each and every day. Ah yes, the rollercoaster ride that is energy.
There are two things I spend a lot of time discussing in my appointments: poop, and energy. The complexities of our energy level are endless, and often times, there are multiple players to fatigue. So, before you lose all hope and just get used to fatigue being your “norm” in this “new norm”, take a moment to see if you’ve covered all your bases.
Test, don’t guess! As I mentioned, there are LOTS of reasons why energy drops on a day to day basis. If you’ve been struggling with fatigue for months and unsure what the root cause is, it’s important to check in with your body first. Running some routine bloodwork can give you a little hint at whether your energy has worsened because of vitamin/mineral deficiencies, blood sugar imbalances, or potentially other hormonal dysfunction. A few labs that have been associated with energy include:
Fasting Blood Sugar
Thyroid panel (TSH, Free T3, Free T4)
Reviewing these values with your healthcare team can help determine proper dietary and supplementation strategies to improve your energy.
2. Hydrate I feel like this tip is in literally every one of my posts for one reason or another. Water is really and truly critical to overall health. Dehydration can cause many a symptom, from headaches, to weakness, dizziness, and yes, fatigue. How has your water intake been over the past few months? Do you find that you drink more or less when you work from home? Begin to keep track of your fluid intake, and see what your average intake is. From there, add an extra 2 glasses a day to begin with. Ideally, you’re consuming at least half your body weight in ounces of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluids each day. Yep, I said it. Wine doesn’t count.
3. Time for a Diet Quality Check It’s about that time…one month before the holidays is the perfect time for your annual Diet Quality Check. I’m guessing this year’s diet quality has been…erratic? You’re not alone. We ventured into unknown territory this year, and each and every one of us did the very best we could with that. For some, that meant less fast food, more home cooked meals, and for others that meant a steady diet of sweet and salty snacks. Food, at its fundamental core, is energy. A calorie is a unit of energy after all. But, what we forget is that those micronutrients, the ones that aren’t as easy to count, are where a lot of the energy magic happens. Vitamins and minerals play many pivotal roles in the body, from immune function to metabolic function. All calories are not created equal – if you’ve noticed that most of the food you’ve been eating has been calorie-dense, but not necessarily nutrient-dense, now is the perfect time to do what we’ve been doing all year: PIVOT.
Fruits and Vegetables
Nuts and Seeds
Fatty Fish and Grass-Fed Meats
Unprocessed dairy products
Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
4. We could all use some R&R Even though many of us have been working from home, that has meant longer work hours, juggling kids in “summer mode” and now kids in “school mode”, and of course the worry and anxiety around family and friends during this uncertain time. All of this has made its mark on our mental wellbeing, and as a result, our energy. Now more than ever, finding some time to rest and unwind is key. Rather than carving out time to rest and relax, let’s try something different. Carve out 15 minutes in the day where you give your worries and fears their own time. Sit with them, acknowledge them, and feel them. When those 15-minutes come to an end, politely and kindly set them aside, and move forward to something that fuels you.
To get you started with fighting fatigue, I’ve put together a FREE 5-Day Meal Plan with delicious, nutrient-dense meals that you can enjoy. Download the meal plan here, and be sure to tag me on social media @lifeberryRD if you share your creations!
For more personalized support with your energy levels, you can book an appointment online. Stay healthy and happy!