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Breaking Three Common Energy-Sapping Habits

Maybe fatigue is considered normal because the habits that cause tiredness are so ingrained in our society.

For many people who are tired throughout the day, fighting against fatigue is an uphill battle. After ruling out fatigue-causing medical problems, some physicians will insist that low energy levels are normal. To compensate for this “normal fatigue,” the energy drink industry has flourished. Unfortunately, these products typically contribute to a worsening of the cycle of fatigue. The true culprit of tiredness often lies in the adherence to an array of daily, energy-sapping habits. Thus, breaking free from these habits can pave the way to a life full of energy and vigor.

The customs guilty of sapping energy are extremely common and permeate cultures across the globe. These customs are adopted for an array of reasons, spanning fashion, convenience and immediate satisfaction. Sadly, such practices interrupt the body’s natural cycle of rest and activity. Anyone wishing to reclaim his or her energy levels could benefit from beginning new traditions to break away from these three fatiguing habits:

  • Breakfast Neglect – Whether content to skip breakfast or consume foods full of sugar and carbohydrates, many people forget that food is fuel. The body needs some protein and healthy fats in the morning to prepare for a day filled with energy. Refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar cause blood sugar levels to soar, which the body scrambles to process by producing insulin. The insulin then causes blood sugar to drop, which results in an energetic crash. With each crash, the adrenal glands produce cortisol for an energetic lift. Over time, this cycle fueled by poor food choices exhausts the adrenal glands from trying to regulate wildly fluctuating sugar levels.

Suggestion – Break this habit by prioritizing a good breakfast with scrambled eggs on whole wheat toast, oatmeal with yogurt and seeds, an omelet with cheese, tomato and mushrooms, a smoothie with fruit, whey powder and almond milk or other protein, fiber and complex carbohydrate packed meal.

  • Feet Fashion – Without physical activity sprinkled into the day, the body becomes sluggish and drowsy. Conversely, the more the body is moved, the more energy it generates. Unfortunately, many fashion forward individuals opt for pointy-toed stilettos, high heels or other types of shoes that look great but do not encourage movement.

Suggestion – Find a pair of comfortable shoes or sneakers to wear during the day or to change into whenever possible. With feet that feel good, it will be easier to get energized by taking the stairs, parking your car a distance from your destination and taking an energizing stroll after meals.

  • Caffeine Addiction – Even though many of us turn to caffeine for a burst of energy, coffee, soda, pep pills and so called energy drinks actually foster fatigue. First of all, caffeine doesn’t instruct cells to make more energy. Instead, it activates the nervous system, which expends energy. The excessive neuron activity activated by caffeine causes your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin, which gives you a short, chemically induced burst of energy. As soon as adrenaline’s effect wears off, rebound fatigue ensues. Similar to the effect of a blood sugar roller coaster, continuation of this cycle exhausts the adrenal glands – a surefire recipe for chronic fatigue.

Suggestion – Ending a caffeine addiction requires patience and commitment. To avoid caffeine withdrawal, many choose to quit caffeine progressively. Substituting with a healthier, lower caffeinated beverage such as green tea is a good strategy. Be especially weary of combining caffeine and sugar (such as sweetened coffee, sugary colas or energy drinks) because they pose a double whammy to your adrenal glands. Substituting coffee with almonds or walnuts is a better choice, because the protein in these nuts provides a steady, long-term release of energy.

Skipping breakfast, sipping on coffee or energy drinks all day and staying deskbound because of those fabulous shoes describes the workweek of countless adults. Considering these common habits, it’s no wonder that many physicians consider fatigue to be normal. If this sounds like your routine, consider the suggestions given to break these energy-sapping habits. Before you know it, your healthy breakfast, athletic kicks and protein-filled snacks will make your fatigue a thing of the past., 5 Ways to Boost Your Energy, Cathy Wong, Retrieved April 1, 2009,, January 2007., Break the Habits that Sap Your Energy, Julie Deardorff, Retrieved March 31, 2009, Chicago Tribune and The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co., February 2009., Energy-Zapping Foods, Mary Kearl, Retrieved March 31, 2009, AOL LLC, 2009., The hidden dangers of caffeine: How coffee causes exhaustion, fatigue and addiction, Dani Veracity, Retrieved April 2, 2009, Natural News Network, 2009., Are you Spent? An interview with Frank Lipman, MD, Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP, Retrieved April 1, 2009, Women to Women 2009.

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