3 O’clock Slumping? Get a Move On!

Ever notice that right around 3 or 4pm, the line at the local coffee shop is out the door and around the corner?

Wonder why that might be?

Several reasons could be playing a role here.

IMBALANCED MACRONUTRIENTS

Not planning out mindfully where your calories are coming from earlier in the day often comes back to bite you in the bum. Whether you skipped breakfast because you didn’t allocate enough time to eat and ended up munching on donuts in the break room at 10am, or started the day off with a juice, the net result is the same: a blood sugar dip due to not making a good food choice in the former case, or as a result of too much sugar consumed in the latter, tanking on energy by 11 am is hardly the way to set yourself up for a productive day at the office.

EATING AT THE WRONG TIME

Did you wake up at 6, go out for a run, and come back feeling great? That is, until about half hour after you ate your ‘healthy’ banana to ‘recover’ from the 30 minute workout? While you may have started out burning fat as your fuel by heading out the door in a fasted state, which is a good thing, as soon as you introduced the sweetness of a banana, your body went right back down the path of carbohydrate burning, instead of using fat as its fuel. As soon as that happens, get ready for a day of that awful peaking and dipping of the blood sugar roller coaster. Don’t forget, current studies are showing that the taste of sugar, not the source, is what is triggering the release of insulin the fat-sparing hormone!

BOTCHING INTERMITTENT FASTING

When done properly, the benefits of IF are numerous (1). When done incorrectly, however, get ready to crash. The idea is not to combine a low-fat / low-calorie diet with going extended periods of time without eating. That is not IF. That’s starvation. Get rid of the low-fat/ high carb junk and add in more rich sources of fat. That’s it. Net calorie intake may not change, but your metabolism will!

NOT SLEEPING

While it may sound obvious, all too many of us burn the candle at both ends. Whether we stay up late to get one more thing accomplished for work, get up too early to fit in a workout or simply have poor quality sleep, not even the most perfect diet is going to make up for lack of shut-eye. Chronic sleep deprivation not only leaves you tired on a daily basis it can make you fat (2). Just saying.

NOT MOVING

You may have done that 6am spin but if you followed it up with a day of sitting and eating low fat snack-foods, it’s no wonder you’re ready for a nap under your desk. Get up, stand up! Add a standing desk. Walk around the office. Working from home? Take a break and go on a run with your dog.

So what to do?

1. Sleep well. No noise, no light, and no TV in the bedroom. Go for 8 hours and use a sleep tracking app if need be to see if you’re actually sleeping… or tossing and turning!

2. Wake up and move. Before you eat. Keep hydrated.

3. Don’t force food in right after you train. Drink water and wait until you’re actually hungry. Then eat veggies, a palm – ish sized amount of protein and more fat than you used to use.

4. Eat again when your body tells you you’re hungry. Be mindful of the fact that by eating more fat, it’s going to be a longer period of time before you need to eat again. And when it is time to eat again, do the same thing as before: veggies, a palm – ish sized amount of protein and more fat than you used to use.

5. Make food shopping, planning and cooking a priority. The idea that anyone doesn’t have time is sheer nonsense. Not nourishing yourself, or your family, is as ridiculous as not laying a foundation before building a house. It would fall apart and so would anyone who opts not to get their priorities in gear.

All of us can carve out an hour or two each week. (Yes, that’s all it would take!)

(1) By Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. “Intermittent Fasting Has Benefits Beyond Weight Loss.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. N.p., 06 Apr. 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.

(2) “Sleep and Weight Loss: How Lack of Sleep Can Cause You to Gain Weight.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.