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  • Writer's pictureMaija Tweeddale

Is your healthy diet making you tired and stressed?

Picture this day: A fruit smoothie for breakfast (or no breakfast), salad for lunch, a piece of fruit or some trail mix for a ‘pick me up’ mid-afternoon, skinless chicken and a couple of veg for dinner. Seems like a great health-conscious day, right?

It’s my biggest bugbear with the ‘health’ industry where this approach to eating is offered up time and time again as the way to gain control over your fatigue, your shape, your sleeplessness and your mood. It’s not.

The reality

Let me fill in a few more details that describe the reality of this ‘perfect’ day:

  • Wake up tired, a bit foggy in the head and mildly anxious

  • Drink the smoothie made with fruit and/or fruit juice and feel alert and awake

  • Start craving coffee or tea within an hour, feeling spacey or tired. May or may not resist the scone/muffin/pastry to accompany it

  • Boosted by the coffee/tea (or snack) able to ‘make it through' til lunch (just!)

  • The mad hungry and/or kind of wired feeling drives the decision for lunch, which because it’s healthy, consists of:

  • Salad leaves with a small bit of chicken / fish / beans; fat-free dressing

  • Feel like a ‘bit of something sweet’ to finish, might be fruit if you’re being “good”, might be chocolate or sugar-heavy baking

  • Mid-afternoon - CRAVINGS! Really struggling to get the head off the desk. Need coffee / tea and that piece of fruit, actually really want the chocolate - may just give in and raid the stash. Concentration and energy improved for now

  • Early evening feeling tired, short-tempered, a bit shouty

  • Healthy dinner, feeling OK again

  • Relax and unwind from the day, really helped along by a cuppa and something sweet before bed

  • Hanging out for bed, might fall asleep immediately but toss and turn or wake during the night for extended periods

  • Wake up with a sigh feeling tired, foggy, anxious….

The harsh reality is that this day, which seemed on the surface to be pretty “healthy” is far from it even though there isn’t a fast-food meal in sight. Instead it’s a day that creates huge blood sugar swings and keeps you in a vicious cycle of fatigue, low mood, stress and poor sleep because there’s simply not enough energy-sustaining nourishment in the form of protein, fat and fibre.

Simple swaps

All is not lost! 3 simple changes would go a long way to turning this into a mood-balancing, shape-improving and energy-sustaining way of eating without any white-knuckled willpower or deprivation:

  • Swap the fruit smoothie for a poached egg, avocado and parsley on whole grain toast

  • Ensure you’ve got a palm-sized portion of protein (beans/eggs/fish/meat) in the salad and go for an olive oil vinaigrette

  • Aim for 5-7 different vegetables over the course of the day

Healthy doesn’t have to be restrictive, taste like cardboard or require so much willpower that

you can never stick with it. It's my mission to take the hard work out of finding your vibrant, calm, energetic self. To find out how you can get better sleep, better energy and a better

mood, book a time to discuss your needs with me. I’m here to help!

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