Are you trying to eat healthy food, but also feeling sluggish, tired, and have low energy levels?
CNN notes some aspects of a "healthy" lifestyle can cause you to feel fatigued and these problems can arise when you are too restrictive with what you put in your body. "Healthy eating can sometimes turn into something that is not so healthy and can drain you of energy if you are too restricted," Yasi Ansari, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, explains.
Some different ways that making healthy changes to your lifestyle can also lead to feeling sluggish can include:
Not getting enough calories: Cutting your caloric intake can help you lose weight. but if someone reduces their calories too much, fatigue can set in. CNN's experts note it can also lead to feeling extremely hungry and then overeating. To avoid this, dietitian and certified obesity and weight management specialist Melissa Majumdar suggests, "Start with adding an additional 1 to 2 ounces of lean protein, a half cup of whole grains, or 1 tablespoon of a healthy fat and reanalyze."
Going too long between meals and snacks: Waiting too long between meals can also zap your energy and a simple fix is adding a healthy snack between meals, note the experts. "Some people experience sleepiness or sluggishness as a sign to eat more instead of the traditional hunger cues," Majumdar tells CNN. "If two or three hours after a meal you are low in energy, plug in a balanced snack of fiber and protein, like fresh fruit with a handful of nuts or a small bag of edamame."
Eliminating too my carbs from your diet: Carbs are often the first thing people try to cut down on when making a change to their diet, but the body still needs them. Registered dietitian Elizabeth DeRobertis explains, "If you are trying to lose weight and you reduce your calories too dramatically, this can leave you without the right amount of energy or fuel that you need to get through the day." In fact, reducing your carb intake too much can cause the body to release more water and possibly lead to dehydration. "When someone feels a dip in energy in the afternoon, I always think of a plant that is wilted, and in need of water," DeRobertis continues. "When we water the plant, it perks back up. And I picture that is what happens to our cells when we are not well-hydrated enough during the day." The experts say cutting processed and refined sugars is fine, but make sure you are still those getting fiber-rich carbs and they suggest eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Having an imbalanced vegetarian diet: Removing animal products from your diet will not harm your energy levels, as long as you ensure your nutrient needs are met. The experts stress that vegetarians and vegans need to make sure they are getting proper amounts of vitamin B12 and iron.
Overexercising and not fueling your workouts properly: Like most things regarding your health, moderation is key and it is possible to exercise too much, and CNN's experts note this will depend on factors like someone's fitness level, overall health, and the type of exercise they are taking part in. It is also important to fuel your body for your workouts. "During exercise, the body typically burns a combination of fat and carbohydrates. If you are not eating enough carbohydrates, it is more difficult to fuel the workout, and if this pattern progresses, the body's stored carbohydrates, called glycogen, aren't restocked," Majumdar explains, noting this can cause fatigue. If you are feeling sluggish after your workout, try adding in healthy carbohydrates and calories or cut down on exercise until you find a balance.
As always, speak to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine or diet.