Lunch is over and now it’s time to get back to work. After 20 or 30 minutes, you start feeling a little tired. After an hour, you’re ready to take a nap. An hour or so after that you start feeling hungry again. What’s going on?
It’s perfectly normal to feel tired. It’s also perfectly normal to feel hungry. But to feel tired , to the point of head-on-the-desk fatigue, then hungry long before the next meal could be a sign that you’re eating the wrong foods.
Here are a few things that could be going on.
You ate too much
- When we eat, oxygen-rich blood moves to our stomach to help break down food. If you’ve just eaten a Thanksgiving-style meal, your body may want to go into sleep mode as all that blood isn’t available in your limbs, brain or other parts of your body.If you’ve eaten a balanced, normal meal, you probably won’t notice much. But if you’re planning any activity, such as a workout, it’s always a good idea to let the food in your stomach digest. Generally speaking, wait an hour or less for a snack, one to two hours for a light meal, and two plus hours for anything heavier.
You ate too much carbohydrate
You didn’t get enough protein or fat
- Eating too much carbohydrate is one thing, but too little protein or fat is another. Sometimes they go hand-in-hand. Fat free cereal +fat free milk for breakfast translates to a lot of sugar in your body. Where’s the fat to help slow down digestion of your meal? Cut back on the amount of carbohydrate you’re eating and increase the amount of protein or fat. For instance, instead of eating a couple slices of toast with jam + a piece of fruit, eat one slice of toast + almond nut butter + half as much fruit. In no way am I suggesting you eat mostly fat, but you do need a little. So make sure you get it.Protein is just as important. Just about all grain-based foods and fruits are abundant in carbohydrate. Even though some might be good for you, too much can really throw your body off. Adding protein is crucial in helping you feel fuller longer. Instead of eating a big bowl of rice with vegetable (which, by the way, is nearly 100% carbohydrate), cut back or cut out the rice, increase the vegetables and add a good source of protein, like chicken, turkey, steak or eggs.
You didn’t eat enough
- I have a client who was really conscientious of the amount of carbs she ate – to a fault. She started feeling fatigued later in the afternoon and really struggled with her energy. When I reviewed her food journal, I saw that lunch consisted of a cheese stick, some sliced turkey and maybe a couple almonds. Not only was this not enough food, but for her activity level, it wasn’t enough carbohydrate either. She was “dieting” and this is how she resolved to lose weight. I suggested she increase her complex carbohydrate intake, in the form of vegetables, at every meal. She started filling up with nutrients a little more and before long, her energy levels were back to normal.
Wait, don’t leave yet! If you’re not joining me on Facebook yet, now’s a great time. There’s a lot more information on nutrition, diet and fitness. I love talking with my fans and enjoy putting together fitness plans and body-specific meal plans…
just for them! If you have any questions or comments, just let me know.