Afternoon energy slump? Tips to get your zing back!

Afternoon crash.  Siesta time.  After-lunch slump.  The two o’clock droop.  Whatever you call it, most of us have experienced it from time to time – it’s that point at which your energy level simply takes a nosedive in the middle of the afternoon.

You may feel more than just a crash in your energy level.  That after-lunch slump can make you feel a little irritable, too.  Maybe you’ve got a mild headache, or feel as if you’re not thinking very clearly.   And, almost certainly, that energy crash is causing some serious sugar cravings, too. 

What Causes the Afternoon Crash?

Your body’s natural internal clock is partly to blame for the afternoon energy dip.   Everyone’s energy level ebbs and flows during a 24-hour period and, for most of us, the strongest drive to sleep comes on a few hours after midnight.  But another dip – although not usually quite as powerful – also naturally occurs in the early-to-mid afternoon.  By that time of day, most people have been up and alert for 6 or 8 hours or so, and the natural need for sleep is starting to build – and you feel the crash coming on. (more…)

Tips for Weight Maintenance After Weight Loss

If you don’t want that lost weight to come back and find you, you can’t just stop what you were doing. When it comes right down to it, what you do in order to lose weight and what you need to do to keep it off are pretty much one and the same. So here are some tips for managing your weight successfully.

  • Remember what got you into trouble in the first place. Was it too much fast food? Eating when you’re stressed? Too many sweets? You know yourself well enough to know when you’re falling back into old habits, so catch yourself before a slip becomes a fall.
  • Continue to keep track of what you’re doing. Keeping a food and exercise log and tracking your weight are great tools when you’re in the weight loss phase – but don’t stop there. Self-monitoring is key to weight maintenance. You’re more likely to be successful if you continue to keep track.
  • Stay active. Once you’ve lost weight, your body burns fewer calories than it did when you were heavier – so exercise plays a critical role in helping to burn calories and keep your weight off.
  • Recognize what your true, best and natural weight is. In your efforts to lose, you may have ended up at a weight that’s actually below your body’s natural, healthy, weight – and it may be difficult to maintain. That’s not to say that you should let all your weight come back. But sometimes you may find it easier to maintain a weight that’s slightly higher than you had intended. Many of my clients tell me they’re happiest when they just live a healthy, active lifestyle and let their bodies find their own healthy, natural weight. For them, it’s so much better than obsessing over every bite of food they eat – even if it means carrying a few extra pounds.
  • Reward yourself. When you were losing, you probably found ways to give yourself a pat on the back for sticking to your plan. But don’t forget to reward yourself for continuing those new habits every day.
  • Remind yourself of how much you’ve accomplished. Keeping photographs around is good – old ones to remind you of where you were, and new ones to remind you of how far you’ve come. Remind yourself of all the positive steps you’ve taken to improve your health – and of how empowered you are, now that you’ve managed to take charge and manage your weight successfully.*

*Written by Susan Bowerman. Susan is Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a board-certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

*Article originally posted on Discover Good Nutrition 

Contact us for more help with weight maintenance.

Food rules: your own personal dietary guidelines – Guest Post

While there’s plenty to be said for the tried-and-true strategy of daily calorie counting, many people seem to easily manage their weight by simply following a few “food rules” they’ve set up for themselves.  They know which foods (or eating behaviors) get them into trouble – and they also know that as long as they stick to their self-imposed rules, it doesn’t take much more than that to keep their weight in check.

For instance, here are a few of my food rules:

  • I don’t drink fruit juice
  • I have a fruit and/or vegetable at every meal and snack
  • I don’t drink wine during the week
  • I don’t eat deep-fried foods

(more…)

Building Your Own Balanced Diet from the Ground Up – Guest Post

In truth, we’re all on a diet every day. We each have our own dietary habits and patterns that make up our usual “diet”. Sometimes we make changes to that diet – often to cut down on our calories – in which case you might say you’re “dieting” or “on my diet” (that is, until a few weeks later… when you’re “off my diet”).

What Makes a Diet Good or Bad?

There are certainly “good” diets and “bad” diets – we all know people who choose foods carefully and eat well, just as we know others who seem to eat nothing but fast foods and soda. And, if you need to lose weight, then “dieting” – in the most general sense – is probably a good thing. But it really depends on how you approach your weight loss.

If your weight loss diet is one you can stick with, is well-balanced and leads to a healthy rate of weight loss, then yes, in that case dieting is definitely “good”. But, if the weight loss diet you’re attempting to follow is unbalanced, if it’s so strict that you can’t stick with it, or if it’s so low in calories that you have no energy or you lose weight too quickly, I’d say that’s “bad”. (more…)

How Your Dining Companions Influence Your Food Intake – Guest Post

The amount of food you eat at a meal is influenced by many factors – how hungry you are, how the food tastes, and even environmental factors like the color of the room, the lighting or the noise level. But there’s another big factor that can’t be overlooked – your dining companion (or companions) can greatly influence how much you eat, too.

The research in this area is really interesting. What it tells us is that the amount we eat at a meal is influenced not only by the eating habits of the person we’re with, but also the number of people who are at the table. And, even the gender of the person sitting across from you can have an impact.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, the way you eat in a social situation (as opposed to what you do in private) is influenced by something called modeling – in essence, you pattern your eating behaviors after the behaviors of those around you. As you eat with other people, their behavior influences your perception of what is the “right” amount of food to eat in a certain situation and, by modeling them, you tend to follow suit.

Light vs. Heavy Eaters as Dining Companions

When you eat by yourself, it’s a bit easier to pay attention to your body’s signals that tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full. That’s one reason why it’s often easier to control your intake when you eat alone. But when you are modeling other people’s eating behaviors, it’s as if these internal signals have been dialed back. (more…)