You do your best to stick to a regular bedtime, you get enough exercise, and you’re even getting better at managing your stress. So why are you still living under the fog of chronic fatigue?
It’s frustrating feeling run down day in and day out without understanding why. And that’s where our experts come in.
Dr. Michael Skardasis and our team at Optimal Performance Medicine in Woodstock, Georgia, are fatigue specialists. We know that chronic fatigue rarely has one culprit, so we help you identify all possible contributing factors, including (and especially) your diet.
Here’s what you should know about how your diet affects how you feel.
You are what you eat
They say, “You are what you eat” for a reason — it’s true. Many people don’t realize that regardless of other healthy habits, you could undo all of your hard work if you’re not focused and intentional when you walk into the kitchen.
Your body can’t function properly without a proper diet, much like a car running on the wrong kind of gas. Your diet affects everything from weight and hormones to energy levels. And because your body’s systems rely so heavily on adequate nutrition, it’s often one of the first places we start looking.
Foods and eating habits that can sap your energy
Here are the worst foods and drinks for maintaining regular energy levels.
You might love a heaping serving of pasta or have a bagel every morning. But however you slice it, processed grains like white flour are almost guaranteed to sap your energy. Your body quickly digests processed grains, creating a sharp spike in energy levels — followed closely by a steep crash.
You know that a calorie deficit is the foundation of a solid weight-loss plan. However, cutting too much too fast can negatively affect your body and even cause you to become fatigued.
That’s because your body needs a certain amount of calories to fuel its various functions. Restricting your calorie intake too strictly forces your body to run on fumes, making you tired.
Instead of slashing your calories, focus on feeding your body better foods. Doing so allows you to lose weight at a healthy pace and keep up with your body's needs.
This item may come as a surprise to chronic caffinators. Shouldn’t caffeine give you energy and not deplete you? Caffeine does give you an energetic buzz, but only for a while. The longer you drink coffee and energy drinks, the more you build up caffeine resistance. In time, you need more and more to sustain your energy.
In addition, energy drinks are usually packed with sugar and a laundry list of other ingredients that affect other areas of your health and wellness.
Black coffee is one of the few caffeine options to offer some health benefits, but even then, it’s only good for short bursts of energy.
Swinging through a drive-thru for a basket of fries and a greasy burger may be convenient and comforting, but those fast, fried foods offer little in terms of nutrition. Their high amounts of fat and low levels of fiber make them difficult to digest.
The harder your body has to work to digest what you eat, the less usable energy it can extract from the food, causing you to grind to a halt.
When you drink, you may feel relaxed and mellow, but the opposite could be true when you look at the chemical reactions in your body. In small doses, alcohol can be relaxing, but when you indulge, the alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns and makes the next day a total drag.
Check the labels on your favorite foods. You may be surprised to see that there are more than a few grams of added sugar. Sugar offers almost zero nutritional value, giving you a short, but empty, burst of energy.
Fighting chronic fatigue
If your battle with chronic fatigue stems from poor nutrition, Dr. Skardasis works closely with you to pinpoint what in your diet makes you feel so run down — and then he creates a game plan with you to turn things around.
Our approach to fatigue includes suggesting lifestyle adjustments based on your current and past health needs. Often we recommend implementing habits like eating breakfast regularly, swapping in whole grains, getting enough healthy fats and proteins, and limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake.
In addition to a nutrition plan, you may also benefit from:
- Regular exercise
- Stress management
- Building healthy habits
- Comprehensive Physical exam including labs to look for any hormonal or vitamin deficiencies
We always focus on improving your whole health rather than addressing individual symptoms, so you can be sure you’re getting a well-rounded, whole-body approach to fatigue.
If you’d like more information about our fatigue and wellness plans, contact Optimal Performance Medicine. Call our friendly staff or schedule an appointment online to get started today.