5 Energizing Behaviors that Will Change Your Life!
The NutriScience Corporate Wellness program is based on the latest cutting-edge innovations in human biochemistry and exercise physiology research. The nutritional component of the program focuses on choosing the right food as fuel, and the powerful effect that food has on energy level, weight management, and performance.
The theoretical underpinning is an understanding of the blood sugar and inflammation pathways, the effect of the three macronutrients (namely protein, fats, and carbohydrates) on the body’s blood sugar and hormonal balance, as well as the resultant effect on energy, fat storage, hunger, mental and emotional state, stress, and disease prevention.
Who doesn’t want more energy? The more energy we have, the more we can achieve both personally and professionally. The good news is that physical, mental, and emotional energy is very easy to obtain and sustain for life! How? Simply choose energizing behaviors avoid de-energizing behaviors. It is that simple!
I want to introduce a key concept: As your blood sugar goes, so goes your energy. Let me explain. Your brain can only burn glucose (another word for blood sugar). Your brain cannot store glucose. Therefore, your brain, which controls all physiological functions, is totally dependent upon the level of glucose in your blood at any given moment. This means that your physical, mental, and emotional health and energy are literally dictated by what you eat and do not eat. Your blood sugar, or glucose, is determined by the amount and type of carbohydrates you eat. All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. Some are broken down more quickly than others. The more processed or refined a carbohydrate is, the more quickly it will break down into glucose causing a blood sugar spike.
Whenever you eat processed carbohydrates, or too many carbohydrates of any kind for your body (this is called over-carbing), a blood sugar spike results. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin. Insulin is your body’s most powerful storage hormone. Its job is to store glucose in your cells to be burned for energy. When you over-carb your body overproduces insulin. Excess insulin causes your blood sugar to plummet leaving you in a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) state. When your blood sugar is low, so is your physical, mental, and emotional energy. The key is to keep your blood sugar stable. When you do, your energy levels will be consistently high and you will not experience the mid-morning and mid-afternoon slumps to which most of us have become so accustomed.
Here are some simple strategies for an energy boost that will last all day long.
Energizing behavior #1: Drink more PURE WATER!
Water is essential for your body’s production of energy. Your body is 75% water. Your muscles are 75% water. As soon as you experience thirst you are already 2-3% dehydrated, which means your energy is decreased by 20-30%! Your brain is 70% water. The number one cause of memory loss is dehydration. The next time you experience a”senior moment,”reach for a big glass of pure water. It is equally important to reduce your consumption of dehydrators such as alcohol, coffee, sodas (including diet sodas), sports drinks, and fruit juices. These foods are de-energizers. To calculate the minimum number of ounces of pure water your body needs for optimum hydration, divide your body weight in pounds by two. If you are a 200-lb man, you need at least 100 ounces of water every day. That’s close to a gallon. What counts towards your pure water intake? Distilled water and reverse osmosis water are the purest water available. Spring water and filtered water are acceptable. For something different, try lemon or lime flavored (not sweetened) sparkling water or herbal tea. Green tea is fantastic for your health and tastes great, too. Decaf coffee is okay now and then, but remember, it contains tannic acid, so limit to 2 cups per day. Aim to drink at least one eight-ounce glass of pure water every hour you are awake. Be proactive. And make it an enjoyable process. That is the key to making this energizing behavior a life-long habit.
Energizing behavior #2: Eat small meals often
Your blood sugar can only remain stable for about four hours then it begins to drop rapidly. Eating regularly helps avoid low blood sugar and, therefore, low energy. Eat a small meal or snack every 4 hours. For example: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack.
Energizing behavior #3: Eat energizing meals and snacks
Remember, as your blood sugar goes, so goes your energy. The key to consistent energy and productivity is to eat in a way that keeps your blood sugar stable.
Start every meal with at least 4-6 oz of lean protein. This is a portion about the size of your fist, or that fits in your palm. Lean protein is your greatest energizer. Lean protein keeps your blood sugar stable. It also builds lean muscle mass, increases your metabolism, and boosts your immune system. Examples of lean protein include: salmon, tuna, white fish, eggs and egg whites, chicken breast, lean red meat, turkey, shellfish, whey protein, cottage cheese, tofu, and non-fat dairy. The highest quality protein on the planet is natural whey protein isolate. It is the most absorbable form of protein, with the highest content of amino acids for building a strong, lean body. It comes in a powdered form and is flavored with vanilla or chocolate. It is great mixed in an energy shake or added to oatmeal or yogurt.
Include a tablespoon of good fats or oils, three meals a day. Good fats and oils contain essential fatty acids omega 3 and 6. Examples include: raw seeds or raw seed oils (flax, sunflower, sesame, or pumpkin), raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc. but not peanuts), avocado, and extra virgin olive oil.
Only eat carbohydrates that are”foods-as-grown”i.e. minimally processed and therefore high in fiber. Limit to one serving of foods-as-grown carbohydrates per meal. Examples of one serving of good carbohydrates include: two cups of non-starchy vegetables (all green, yellow, red, orange vegetables, except white potatoes), one cup of fruit, one cup of whole grains, one cup of legumes, or one slice of whole grain bread. Green vegetables are the best”foods-as-grown”carbohydrates on the planet. If you don’t get enough greens in your diet, try a greens supplement. It comes in a powdered form and you add it to your energy shake or to water.
Never eat carbohydrates by themselves. Always combine carbohydrates with lean protein and/or good fats or oils. Why? Lean protein and good fats or oils slow down the conversion of the carbohydrates into glucose, causing them to be released more slowly into your blood stream; therefore, keeping your blood sugar stable and your energy levels consistently high.
You can eat lean protein by itself, and you can eat good fats and oils by themselves. They will not cause your blood sugar to spike.
Energizing behavior #4: Drink an Energy Shake for breakfast
Most people start their day with high carbohydrate, de-energizing foods such as sugary cereals, breads, pop tarts, fruit juices, and coffee-a recipe for disaster. Instead, try an energy shake for breakfast. It’s quick and easy to make, and it will give you sustained energy for your hectic mornings. Here’s how to make it. Blend 1½cups of water, non-fat milk or soy milk; two scoops of high quality whey protein powder; one tablespoon of raw seed oil or ground raw seeds, and½-1 cup frozen fruit. Add 1 tablespoon of a greens supplement for even more energy! This energy shake will keep you energized and performing at your peak for at least four hours. The energy shake is also the perfect post-workout meal, or any time you don’t have time to make or buy a health-enhancing meal. You will be amazed at the results!
Energizing behavior #5: Breathe deeply and exercise aerobically
Oxygen is the key to energy. The more oxygen you get to every one of your cells, the more energy you will have. The key to energy is to do everything you can to enhance your cardiovascular system. This is your oxygen delivery system. Smoking is not only proven to cause cancer, but it also depletes your body of oxygen and, therefore, of energy. Saturated, processed, and fried fats also tie up your red blood cells, impeding oxygen delivery in your body. Obviously avoiding smoking and bad fats would be your first step to increasing oxygen delivery.
Take notice how you typically breathe. Is it in short, wispy breaths, or deep into your lower lungs? Our high stress society has programmed us to breathe shallowly into our upper lungs, which deprives us of energizing oxygen and increases our body’s stress levels. Try breathing deeply and slowly into your lower abdomen (in to the count of six, hold for one, then out to the count of six) for five minutes or more, three times a day. This will help oxygenate your cells, reduce stress, and send your energy soaring!
To further boost your energy, engage in activities that enhance your cardiovascular system, which is your oxygen delivery system.”Aerobic”technically means “with oxygen.”Aerobic exercise increases oxygen delivery to your cells. Exercise physiology research shows we use the most oxygen, and therefore burn the most fat (because we need an excess of oxygen to burn fat) between 60 and 75% of our maximum theoretical heart rates (“MHR”). Your MHR is calculated as 220 minus your age. Examples of effective aerobic exercises are: walking, walking while pumping light hand weights (for even greater aerobic benefit), swimming, jogging, and cross-training or elliptical training machines are terrific energizing exercises. Aim for 30-45 minutes, 3-5 times a week.
Keep in mind that you do not need to adopt all of these behaviors in order to get results. You will start to see results from simply adopting one of these energizing behaviors. Start with drinking more pure water and reduce your intake of dehydrators. Notice how your body feels. Next, drink an energy shake for breakfast every morning. Try it out for a week and listen to your body. How are you feeling? Want more? Next step: Walk with Heavy Hands 3 times a week. Progress at a pace that is comfortable and sustainable for you. Before you know it, you will be feeling and looking better than you ever thought possible. You will achieve optimal health and energy-for life!