And Lose Weight Without Dieting
26 Jun 2005
FIVE STEPS TO EATING FOR ENERGY!
HEY! How’s your ENERGY? Are you one of those people who start out with a BANG! but then lose steam over the course of the day? Do you find yourself grabbing sugary snacks or caffeine late in the afternoon to ‘keep going?’ Do you ever have to drag yourself through to the end of the day?
You may be suffering from blood-sugar “highs-and-lows” which can and SHOULD be prevented! This is a fact: As a dancer, you need tons of ENERGY for your demanding lifestyle. If you are often tired, you may be on a metabolic roller coaster, eating the wrong things at the wrong times, and possibly eating too few or too many calories. BOTH can make you feel tired!
If you need more energy, consider the following:
1. EAT SOMETHING EVERY 3-4 HOURS THROUGH THE DAY.
This gets your blood-sugar levels into more of a “straight-line state.” A meal or snack can only sustain your blood-sugar levels for 3-4 hours. If you eat go all day without eating, this could be a problem! Sometimes we don’t even notice hunger, while our blood-sugar levels spiral downward. (That’s when you tend to grab a sugary snack to keep going.) Those desperate snacks are not the way to fuel your dancer’s body!
Perhaps you even skip breakfast and push yourself all day, just grazing and snacking until dinner. This is really self-punishment! Most people who do this will likely overeat when they finally get their hands on some food. Wouldn’t you?! Overeating, undereating, binge eating, and feeling exhausted all go hand-in-hand. It’s time to correct this! Start by having a good breakfast tomorrow!
2. STAY WELL HYDRATED
You know those late-afternoon energy slumps? Often they are caused by dehydration! You may be reaching for a sugary snack, when what you need most is a big glass of water! Think of all those late-afternoon cookie- cracker-sugar-snacks you’ve had. “Wow, I could have had a V-8!” Or even a glass of water!
Every day, just from breathing, sweating and normal kidney and bowel function, you lose six to eight cups of fluid. Sweating while you dance or exercise makes you lose even more. So pay attention to this one: The second step in gaining optimal energy is to drink adequate amounts of hydrating fluids. Water is generally the best choice, but herbal teas, real 100% fruit juices, milk, decaffeinated beverages and even watery fruits and vegetables count as hydrating fluids.
Stay Hydrated ~ Here’s How:
• Have a glass of water with each meal and snack.
• Drink one glass of water for each glass coffee or alcohol (since they are dehydrating.)
• When dancing, aim to drink about 1/2 a cup of water every half hour. Oddly, exercise numbs your thirst mechanism, and by the time you feel thirsty you may already be slightly dehydrated.
• Sports drinks are helpful if you dance for over an hour. It replaces the water, carbohydrate and electrolytes like sodium and potassium lost when you sweat.
• Unless you take several medications, supplemental products or abuse caffeine or alcohol, your urine should be clear or very pale in color. It's healthy and desirable to urinate every one to two hours during the day.
3. Eat High Quality Foods. We live in a land of abundance, where our farmlands are productive, and our supermarkets overflow with variety! Why not then, choose whole instead of refined grains, fresh or frozen produce instead of canned and perhaps even organic instead of regular foods? You ARE what you eat, and knowing that should motivate you to choose foods that are:
• freshly made
• delicious and live
• organic if possible
• highly processed, leftover
• refined or canned
• ‘dead’ fast-foods
Learn to find healthy, fresh, colorful foods! Vitamins and phytonutrients can’t be far behind! If you nourish yourself with ‘live’ healthy foods, you will be less inclined towards ‘empty’ carbohydrates and sugary snacks, which put you on an energy roller-coaster and ultimately deplete your energy!
4. Pay Attention to Hunger and Fullness.
How hungry are you RIGHT NOW? Could you pinpoint it on a scale from 1 to 10? Intuitive Eating uses the Hunger Scale to increase our awareness of our physical hunger. Yes, dancers love being thin, but the quest for thinness leads many dancers to ignore true physical hunger and to restrict calories when they should be eating! This indicates an implicit fear and mistrust of the body, which leads to bigger problems down the road.
INSTEAD of dieting, if you eat according to your body’s TRUE HUNGER, you can actually achieve your ideal weight! That’s because dieting causes backlash eating, which packs on even more pounds!
When you DON’T honor your hunger (depriving yourself when your body is legitimately hungry), your body goes into “starvation-mode” which is hyper-efficient. You cannot lose weight in this state, no matter how hungry and virtuous you may feel! When you finally DO cave in and eat, not only will you OVEREAT, your intelligent and semi-starved body will then hoard calories in the form of… you guessed it: FAT!
So eat before you are starving, and stop before you are stuffed! This is your body’s way of telling you how much energy it needs, and when! If you master this, you will achieve your ideal weight AND have more energy! THIS is how energetic “thin people” eat, and is the goal of Intuitive Eating. Easier said than done! It requires regular reinforcement of these ideas, lest we be tempted by the next fad diet!
Now… EMOTIONAL HUNGER is a separate issue! Intuitive Eating fully addresses emotional eating, cravings, and how to avoid binges, but we don’t have room for everything in this particular article. It’s a big subject. Check out my upcoming Teleclass on Intuitive Eating for more on this!
5. Aerobic Intensity Creates Energy!
Eating high quality foods throughout the day, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol are all huge factors in generating TONS of energy for you. (Please use your powers for good!) But what ELSE contributes to great energy?
Aerobic exercise! (Although dancing IS great exercise, it may not be sufficient to qualify as your aerobic exercise. SORRY!) If dancing does not get your heart rate up to an “intense” level and SUSTAIN it for 30-40 minutes several times a week, you might consider scheduling three or four aerobic workouts a week. Most people get a significant BOOST of energy from cardio sessions at the right intensity. (Contact me if you need help with this.) Not only will you notice a boost in energy, you will burn more calories and body fat! This DOES work, unlike simply starving yourself.
EATING FOR ENERGY IS AN ART! Learn more about it in a private consultation. Email or call Bija to set up a time. Eating for energy can give you a whole new lease on life!
In Joy and Fantastic Health,