Are You Overeating Because You’re Tired?
Are you running a household? Nursing a baby? Working a full-time job? Or racing through your days attempting to fit in as much as you can in 24 hours? Personally, I have lived this way since I was a child. I love a “full life” and you likely do to. It gives me purpose, motivation and helps me feel like I make a difference in our World. I often get so busy I don’t ever feel tired but then crash and burn after a few weeks of overdoing it. Usually this is because in the midst of the crazy I’m not getting enough emotional, mental and physical rest. If this sounds life you and you’re struggling to stick to your nutrition plan, then you are likely overeating because you’re tired.
One of the biggest issues I run into when I don’t get enough rest is the confusion between my hunger cues and the fact that I am really just exhausted. When I go a few days with less sleep, more pressure and no down time I often eat more (especially carbs) to attempt to get the energy I need to make it through the day.
Over the last year the most difficult part of my health and fitness journey has been getting enough sleep. I want to lift heavier weights and set records but lack of sleep seriously affects the bodies ability to recover, gain muscle and lose fat.
Here Are 5 Questions That Will Help You Determine Whether You Are Hungry or Just Tired
1.) When was the last time I ate ?
If you are going through a mega energy slump and it’s been less than 2 hours, you either didn’t eat enough at your last meal or your body is simply tired. I often get this feeling around mid-late afternoon (just in time for the kids to come home from school). I find that if I can rest my eyes for even just 15 short minutes I can usually handle the rest of my day and can avoid eating when I’m not truly hungry.
2.) What have my Macronutrients looked like yesterday and today?
Often I will get low energy if I have eaten too many carbs and not enough protein or fats. If my breakfast is purely carbs I will most definitely feel hungry and have low energy an hour later! Make sure your meals and snacks consist of either a protein and a carb or a fat and a carb. Also, if you didn’t eat enough calories yesterday , missed your afternoon coffee or did a “low carb” day your body will give you signs of fatigue and exhaustion. Changing you diet drastically will cause your body confusion. Your options are rest a bit and see if it helps or add in a few extra healthy calories to keep your energy up.
3.)What has my sleep pattern looked like over the last 3 days?
Yes! 3 whole days will influence how you feel today. Did you stay up too late on friday night and still feel crummy Monday morning? This is totally possible! So before you grab a snack try to get some fresh air and grab a large glass of water.
4.) Have I increased my physical activity ?
My house gets pretty busy and I often begin one task which then snowballs into a deep clean or an entire house overhaul. I suddenly realize I’ve been cleaning at a mad pace for 2 or more hours. By this point I’m starving (I know you can totally relate)! Usually I will also be adding exercise to my day which means I am basically running full tilt from dusk until dawn. If you kept your meals and snacks the same size as a weekend pajama/movie day you aregoing to need to up your calories because you are burning more energy!!
5.) Am I missing essential vitamins or minerals!?
This is really important to address especially for women who have babies under age 3, are nursing or have a heavy menstrual cycle. Have you considered your cravings and fatigue are coming from a lack of something such as Iron or Magnesium? Did you know that the level a doctor considers normal for ferritin (Iron) isn’t necessarily the level that is optimal for Women to feel their best? After three babies in 3.5 years I have low iron and notice incredible irritability, fatigue and inability to multitask (a big problem when you are responsible for 5 kids) as soon as I miss a couple days of my supplement. See a Doctor or Naturopath and find out if you need to supplement with iron.
Ultimately your goal should be to get as much rest as possible, eat a well-rounded diet and get exercise everyday! We can’t always do this (especially Mom’s with kids) but we can do our best to take care of ourselves.
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