Magazine article Working Mother

RUN DOWN? Here's Your Energy Makeover

Magazine article Working Mother

RUN DOWN? Here's Your Energy Makeover

Article excerpt

DRAGGING UNDER THE DRAIN AND STRAIN OF ALL THAT YOU DO? LIFE-REVVING ADVICE THAT'LL HAVE YOU JUMPING (AND RUNNING AND SKIPPING) FOR JOY.

How would you like to have twice the physical and mental energy you have now? Or triple? Or maybe you'd settle for not collapsing into an exhausted heap every night, worried about the Filofax full of must-do's you didn't get done. If you're like most working moms, you've developed habits that are depleting your energy and stressing you out. We know you started the day wanting to exercise and eat better. But then It rained, there was that looming project deadline, and you couldn't find your gym pass (thaf s right-blame the lost gym pass). Here's the latest: You can shake those tiring tendencies and put the spring back in your step with a few easy changes. We've culled the latest research on stress management and healthy living and consulted top experts in women's health, nutrition, exercise and psychology. Read on to find out the most common energy-sapping mistakes working mothers make and the renewal strategies that will put the comph-and passion-back in your life. Your complete energy makeover starts here.

(1) EATING ON THE RUN

Energy sapper You'd never send your kids to school on an empty stomach, but all you have time for is a cup of coffee. To silence your growling stomach, you eat a doughnut at a midmorning meeting. The next thing you know, it's 3:00 p.m., so you grab a bag of pretzels from the vending machine to quell hunger until dinner-dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets that you scarf down before driving your Little Leaguer to a sleepover. Is it any wonder you feel weak? Not fueling up first thing in the morning was a critical mistake. "Breakfast speeds up your metabolism after a long night's rest, taking your body out of starvation mode, waking you up and giving you the energy you need to jump-start your day," says Bethany Thayer, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). "Research shows that women whoeat breakfast consume, on average, about a hundred fewer calories during the day than women who don't. Spreading your calories throughout the day gives you a steadier, longerlasting energy lift and helps you focus mentally and function physically."

Best makeover move Remember the saying "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper," suggests Thayer. Aim to consume one quarter to one third of your calories at breakfast, then spread the rest of your intake across the day, trying to consume a combination of complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits and vegetables), protein (lean meats, nuts, dairy products) and a little fat at every meal and snack. For example, start the day with one slice each of lean ham and low-fat cheese rolled in a corn tortilla, along with an orange; trade your midmorning doughnut for a banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter; eat a lunch of grilled meat or fish and a vegetable; have some low-fat yogurt topped with granola midafternoon; at dinner, fill up half of your plate with vegetables and the rest with protein (fish, meat, soy) and complex carbs (brown rice, pasta, whole-grain roll, etc.). Also, be aware that refined sugar is an enemy. Sure, that handful of jelly beans will give you an immediate burst of energy. But you'll pay the price. About an hour later, you'll feel tired as you sink into a sugar crash. Reach for an apple instead.

(2) GETTING TOO THIRSTY

Energy sapper "If you wait until you're thirsty to drink, your body is already at least three percent dehydrated, and that can make you feel tired and burned-out," says ADA spokesperson Christine Gerbstadt, MD, MPH, RD, who's on the staff of Drexel University in Philadelphia. Because thirst is less jarring than hunger pangs, we often delay drinking what we really need. But dehydration can cause a buildup of toxins in the body and result in headaches. Plus, the more water in your system, the better your circulationand the more energy you'll have all day. …

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