Dear Dr. Jen, I’m working two jobs, my wife works in the city twelve hours a day, and I’ve got three young kids. Between helping with homework and everything else, I’m finding myself running out of energy. I eat energy bars, protein bars, I try to go organic, and I drink coffee to get by. I don’t know if it’s from a lack of vitamins or what, but I’m running out of steam. Please help!
This question came from a guy named Joey, who actually apologized to me for not eating as well as he could! No apologies necessary, Joey, I’ve been there, and you know, when you’re on the go and you have that much going on, it’s not easy to eat anything, let alone eat well.
That’s why I created my Endless Energy Program – (which is on sale for 60% off this week until Friday – lucky you! Just go here and enter discount code FALL4ENERGY at checkout) – to help people with busy, stressful lives examine their habits and their diets to make a few simple changes that will give them lasting, sustainable energy.
When you’re just getting by on energy bars and coffee, you’re really just going on a sugar high and a caffeine high – and both of these things come with a pretty heavy price – and a pretty heavy crash.
Just because something’s organic doesn’t mean it’s not packed with sugar. And just because it’s natural sugar like honey or dates doesn’t mean that it’s going to be good for you. When you eat one of those sugary bars, your blood sugar goes up and your body feels okay for a bit. But then it comes down and you’re on what I call the sugar rollercoaster.
When your blood sugar goes down, your body fights the low blood sugar with a hormone called cortisol, which robs you of the cortisol you need for real, sustainable energy. Caffeine does the same thing. So many people reach for sugar and caffeine when they get tired, which is exactly the opposite of what they should do because it causes the exhaustion cycle to stay in place.
I understand reaching for the energy/protein bars because they’re quick and you got to do it because you’ve got a busy life, but you’ve got to be really, really careful with your sugar intake if you don’t want to crash.
Try preparing on-the-go snacks over the weekend when you have a little extra time. Carrots and hummus, hard-boiled eggs, and nuts are all good snacks on the go – and pack the protein you need without the sugar. If you do go for protein bars (or protein shakes, which I personally love – I drink mine all the time!), go for ones with very little sugar and no artificial sugar to keep you steady.
Thanks for the great question!