Weight Loss Tip: How to Not Overeat When You Are Tired

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One of the biggest diet traps is being tired. While It’s easy to eat foods that will stop your weight loss, here are tips that can help you overcome fatigue.

You don’t even have to look at the clock. You already know what time it is by your inability to keep your eyes open and your loss of focus. All you want to do is nap, but it’s only 3 p.m. and you are still at work or picking up kids. It’s been a good day food-wise since you are trying to lose weight and have eaten healthily so far. But when the afternoon fatigue strikes and you can’t stay awake another minute, you give in and reach for that doughnut.

The “carbohydrates to stay awake” race has begun.

Eating when you are either physically or mentally tired is a problem that has derailed many a weight loss effort. It’s fairly easy to lose weight when you are well-rested, feeling good and everything is going well in your life. It’s something completely different to aim for weight loss when you have a busy life, active kids, and a demanding job or school schedule.

With an estimated 50-70 million US adults suffering from a sleep or wakefulness disorder, rest assured that you are not alone in your fatigue. And while getting the right amount of sleep is optimal, that is often not an option in the “real world.” In lieu of getting much-needed sleep, here are a few tricks that might help you stick to your weight loss plan—and keep you away from the vending machine:

#1. Get moving. 

It might not sound like much, but moving your body and getting your blood pumping is one the most effective things you can do to overcome tiredness. Even a 10-minute walk will do wonders for your energy level. A bonus? Your metabolism stays raised for awhile afterwards so you continue to burn calories.

#2. Have a drink.

Our normal “go to” beverages when we are tired are often caffeinated ones, and sometimes that’s just not what we need. Not getting enough fluids can drain you of your energy. Try drinking a glass of water or have some unsweetened sparkling water right after lunch to boost your afternoon energy levels.

#3. Get fruity.

Grab a piece of fruit (or a small handful of dried fruits) instead of a chocolate bar. Fruit gives you the carbohydrate boost you need without all the added sugar. Pair it with a protein (string cheese, perhaps), some cottage cheese or a small handful of nuts to add protein to keep your energy going.

#4. Find your rhythm.

For one week, jot down the average time of day when you begin to feel tired. Is it 2 p.m.? Or 3:30 p.m.? Mapping out a loose overview will give you a starting point for your plan of action in step 5.

#5. Avoid the zone.

About an hour before you hit your “dead zone, have a healthy carbohydrate/protein snack (see #3 above), drink a glass of water (#2 above) and go for a 10-minute walk (#1 above). Take some deep, cleansing breaths, close your eyes and envision yourself feeling more energetic. If possible, play some up-tempo music. Try a few different combinations each day for a week and make a note of what seems to work to keep you from crashing and what doesn’t. Every body is different, and every body responds to different solutions.

If you can find other ways to cope with fatigue (and re-energize yourself) than with sugary snacks or high carbohydrate treats, you will discover your road to weight loss is a lot simpler. Identify your peak fatigue times; make a plan to combat them; and stick with it. Although it’s easier to reach for a cookie, the energy from simple sugars is temporary, and when you crash you really crash—or need even more sugars.

Remember this one simple tip: Your tired periods don’t last long (usually 30-60 minutes). If you can get through that period without eating sugary, calorie-heavy foods, you are that much closer to getting the body you want. You will be healthier for it, too.

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