Energy and how to master it, according to nutritional therapist Sinéad Bradbury
“I am not an early bird, or a night owl, I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon!!” A humorous post that popped up on my Instagram feed recently. And judging by the hilarious comments that followed, a sentiment many could relate to. However, despite the commonality, exhaustion is no joke. People of all ages are overworked, running on empty, fuelling busy lives with caffeine, energy drinks, and quick sugar fixes. It is damaging to health and, ultimately, ruining their quality of life.
To have energy, we need to earn it, create it and bank it. It is essential for good health. Without correct management, reserves will get depleted. Everything from your weight to your hormonal health, your mood and digestion is affected by fatigue and exhaustion. I recently worked with a client who had been struggling for years with her weight. At her first consultation, she reported good energy levels. However, a week into her nutrition plan, she reported feeling exhausted. I suspected as much. This lady never stopped and fuelled herself with all the wrong foods.
When she started taking stimulants and sugars out of her diet, she started to feel how tired she actually was. It was only after we “reset” her system and nourished her body that she was able to reach a healthy weight.
Nourishment is key. If you gradually start replacing food and situations that drain you with nourishing, enhancing ones, you will replenish energy stores and optimise your health and wellbeing.
The most fundamental way to create immediate and long-lasting energy in our body is by eating an abundance of colourful phytonutrient-dense foods every single day. The aim is to fill half your plate at every meal with plant-based foods. Starting small and making gradual improvements will have a big impact. Adding some blueberries to your porridge, a side salad with your lunch, less rice, more vegetables. Keep a food diary and document the foods that drain you, take note and monitor your colour intake.
Nourish your Attitude
It’s impossible to talk about health-enhancing practices without mentioning the energy-zapping pursuit of perfection. Whether in work, relationships, parenting, diet or appearance, nothing drains you like the unrelenting, unattainable strive for perfection. As a “recovering” perfectionist, I know all about it. Nothing has had a greater impact on my health and wellbeing than letting go of this. Embrace the messiness of life, let go, run barefoot. More joie de vivre, less intensity and rigidity. Chase your dreams, be ambitious, just be careful not to become an exhausted pigeon while doing so. Good health matters. Take good care of yourself.
Final note: Please visit your GP if ongoing fatigue and exhaustion is still an issue for you. Thyroid function, low B12 or iron deficiency may be contributing factors.
This article originally appeared in the September issue of IMAGE magazine. Our October issue is on shelves now.