Like any other holiday season aficionado, I consumed entirely too much sugar throughout the month of December. Peppermint mochas. Cookies. Candies. Pastries. Pies. I feel a diabetic coma coming on just thinking about everything I ate.
And I know I’m getting old because I learned this past season that eating a box of Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Jo-Jo’s for dinner does not … settle as well as it once had. In other words, if I have experienced the highs and lows of mass sugar consumption in the past, I did not notice them. I could subsist on processed sugar, and maybe I’d feel a slight buzz of energy from eating my weight in whipped cream, but I never (as far as I can recall anyway) felt a crash when that buzz inevitably departed.
This season, I crashed so many times, I made Wile E. Coyote look like a graceful ballerina.
And, whew, I felt it. I felt it as keenly as I’m sure Wile E. Coyote feels the anvil when it crushes him into the pavement. Sluggishness. Sleepiness. Overall ickiness. Sugar— thou art my enemy forevermore, I fear. At least mass quantities of thou art.
So, about halfway through the holiday month, I decided to switch up the old diet. Get away from the sugar cookies coated in sugary frosting and head towards (dum, dum, dum!): high energy foods. In my continuing fight against chronic fatigue, I have spent many a’ hour asking the Almighty Google about foods that can help increase energy levels, and I went back to those lists for grocery shopping inspiration.
Brown rice, beans, yogurt, almonds, kale, spinach, fruit, eggs, quinoa, sweet potatoes, edamame, English muffins, oatmeal, veggie burgers. I stocked up. And I came home motivated. Boxes of cookies and truffle chocolates still sit on the top of our refrigerator, but I dove into this high energy foods diet with all the gusto I tend to use when I throw myself into a new initiative.
Have I felt a difference? Well, one thing I have noticed is the feeling of being full. Because in addition to the high energy foods I am now consuming, I have been eating more frequently throughout the day (as recommended by many of the lists that contain these power foods).
And it is amazing how much a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack help! I remember the first day I tried this new eating plan, and that night was the first in a looong time I didn’t come home and immediately start eating the kitchen counter because I was too hungry to make it to the refrigerator.
It’s like finding out Santa Claus does exist.
Energy though? I can’t say with any certainty that I have experienced any changes in my energy levels. I have noticed the protein heavy lunch I tend to consume (either a kale or spinach salad with quinoa, mixed nuts, feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette or a veggie burger patty with a side of edamame) has made the afternoons feel less…. afternoon-ey. You know that 3pm slump? It hasn’t felt quite as painful since I started this new diet.
And ugh. I need to stop using that word. Diet. When I joined Weight Watchers about this time last year, I was insistent I use “lifestyle change” rather than diet since, of course, diet implies a temporary adjustment. Diet also implies a sense of going without. You’re dieting, which means essentially, you are giving something up. I don’t feel that way about eating high energy foods because it’s not like I’m going to stop eating things I love too.
I will still order a cinnamon donut every Sunday from the local café down the street from my new apartment.
But I want to feel better during the day. I want my system to feel good because it is drawing nutrients, actual nutrients, from the food I am consuming. I want that 3pm slump to continue being less painful, and maybe even one day, lighten to the point where I no longer notice it. And that is why I’m not going to worry myself with weight loss. Yes, I need to lose weight. And yes, it would be fabulous to drop a few (hundred) pounds before my October wedding. However, weight loss is not figuring into my 2015 resolutions here. I want to focus more on being healthy. Eating healthy, exercising, sleeping well. I want those elements of life lined up more before I try to tackle taking the pounds off. Then I feel I really will be successful.
And now! Off to seize the day!! Off to take this newfound energy and … zzzzzz……..