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Help me stay awake! Fix my poor diet!

Is the reason I'm always tired because of my pathetic diet? A dietician gives her best tips for getting more energy

Masterfile

Help…me…stay…awake…

I’ve been feeling crappy for months. I blame it on the cold weather, knowing how long winter will last, and the fact I haven’t been able to work out due to lack of time (and exhaustion.)

Quite frankly, I am ALWAYS exhausted: every day, all day. Even if I get a good night’s sleep, I’m completely exhausted the next day. Everyone who asks, “How are you?” will get the answer, “I’m so exhausted.”

My friends will then tell me that maybe I have an iron deficiency, or that I’m not sleeping enough, or that I should go get some fresh air. But the truth is I know what is wrong with me. I eat like absolute crap. Like most working mothers, it’s hard not too. I NEED to FIX that!

Also, I hate grocery shopping, so my fridge is filled with simple foods like yogurt drinks, bananas, and basically anything I can eat in two minutes or less. Sometimes, I actually FORGET to eat, because I am so busy working or rushing around. Sometimes I eat cereal for dinner!

Sometimes I will forget to eat breakfast, and then realize at two in the afternoon that I’m starving, so I down a yogurt drink and a banana. Then I will feed my daughter dinner at 5:30 (and finish her leftovers) and then at around 10 at night, I find myself starving (surprise!) so I’ll eat a huge meal of pasta or a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s really quite pathetic. I either overeat, or I under eat. And I’m just so, so tired.

After numerous people suggested, “perhaps you need to change your diet” I just happened to be introduced to a very nice dietician, Alison Lubin, who recently co-opened a gym called Harmony Fitness where diet and nutrition is as important as working out. (They offer nutrition counseling along with numerous classes.)

Luckily, Alison, also a busy mother, understood exactly how hard it is to eat well. She had great tips to help me (or anyone) start eating better.

1. First, she suggests figuring out what has changed in your routine when you start to feel lethargic in your day to day, and make notes about when you feel hungry during your day.

2. “You may work out one hour a day, but nutrition takes place the other 23 hours a day,” she says. “You can train as hard as you want, but if your nutrition isn’t up to par, you’ll still feel like crap (This is why when I do work out, I do feel good for about 20 minutes, but then I’m still exhausted. Interesting!)

3. She says eating well is like keeping a car in good condition.You need to change the oil to keep your car running, and you need to keep up a healthy diet to keep your body working.

4. Mothers have issues, she says, because we end up eating our kid’s leftovers. (GUILTY!) And kids, as we know, don’t always eat so healthy (chicken fingers, fries….) She calls herself the “Platter Queen.” Alison always has a platter of fresh vegetables (already cut, bought from Loblaws) in her fridge. So when snack time calls, she brings out the platter.

5. It’s also never a bad idea to see your doctor and get a blood requisition to find out if you are low on iron, calcium, or magnesium. From the results, she can suggest what to do.

6. Alison calls herself the Queen of Leftovers. She will eat leftover broccoli from the night before for breakfast. She’s a huge BBQ fan because it’s easy and provides meals for the next day. “Planning is essential to eating well. It’s huge.”

7. And if you are the Queen of Take out or Queen of Delivery (like me) she suggests to “ask for exactly what you want.” For example, get things steamed as opposed to fried. “You’re paying for it.” And, if you’re at a restaurant, where you know they serve big portions, ask the server immediately after ordering to put half the order into a take-out container. (I love this idea!) Because, as she explains, over eating can make you feel as crappy as under eating.

Luckily, Alison says if I start eating more regularly and plan better (and maybe get a vegetable platter!) then I should feel better within a couple of days! “It’s mind over matter. If you know you’re doing something positive, then that helps.” She also admits she isn’t perfect. “I’m a mom and I’m human. I eat well most of the time, but not ALL of the time.”

Does your diet affect how you feel? Share!