How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

Do you find that you go through the day feeling sluggish, bloated and tired? I do, a lot and I hate it. So I decided to think of natural ways to improve my energy levels...and hopefully shift a couple of unwanted pounds for the summer. Changing what you eat can have a massive impact on energy levels, keeping you on a steady burn rather than careening through highs and lows all day. There are lots of books and articles that give lists of foods that are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or trackers with points etc.
However, I think life is complicated enough, and I need something simple that is easy to follow, so I've stripped it all back to 5 fundamentals…. the basic principles to eating for a steady energy release, and a flatter tummy!

How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

Fibre is the key

Fibres are what nutrients are all wrapped up in – they are a basic structural element of food! They move through the body as the food is digested but aren’t absorbed themselves (they help to keep you ‘regular’ if you know what I mean). Any food that is high in fibre will move through the body at a slower more controlled pace as the body has to work harder to get to the nutrients within. This means slow release energy. Foods that are low in fibre (such as refined sugars) whoosh through the body quickly; the energy is absorbed and delivered to the body quickly, but this also means it burns up quickly too. This results in a day of peaks and pits of energy, along with intense hunger pangs long before you should really need to eat again.

How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

Take oranges and apples as an example. If you eat these fruits as they come they are full of naturally occurring sugars and nutrients as well as lots of fibre. Or you can press them and have a glass of juice instead. The juice has a lot of the sugars and nutrients still, but none of the fibre. The juice will be absorbed much more quickly than the whole fruit giving a greater hit of energy that runs out faster.
·       Eating a healthy dose of vegetables with meals is an excellent way of getting fibre into a meal to help with slow release energy.

Carbs are not the enemy, but they do need careful attention

Carbohydrates come in sugary or starchy forms. The sugary ones are fairly obvious normally, and deliver the body an intense hit of energy that gets burned up pretty fast and can leave you with a sugar hangover – feeling tired and fatigued sooner than you would want really. The starchy ones are a bit more complicated and have had a bit of bad press in recent decades with many dieters avoiding them completely to aid weight loss. They do give energy but are better for slow release in their ‘brown’ or ‘wholemeal’ forms. Any carbohydrate based foods such as pasta, bread and rice that have been refined into ‘white’ forms have had a lot of their fibrous content removed. This makes the body process them a lot more like sugars – they are digested quickly and the energy content is processed rapidly too. Wholemeal varieties have more fibrous content and so take longer to be digested.

How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

Pairing proteins with carbohydrates helps to slow down energy release

Proteins are another source of energy for the body usually found in foods like meat, eggs, milk, cheese and nuts. They contribute to muscle repair and growth and are metabolised slower than carbohydrates. Body sculptors (whether slimmers or athletes) will include a lot of protein based meals in their diets for these reasons. Meals high in protein and vegetables will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Adding protein to carbohydrates makes their energy release more effective too. For example for breakfast in the morning instead of having a slice of wholemeal toast on its own, add a poached egg or peanut butter (no added sugar obviously).

How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

Portion control

Basically this boils down to the fact that you probably need less than you think, especially if you are loading up on vegetables in meals instead. Think about the times of the day that are the dips and plan for them with a snacks that aren’t full of sugar (like cereal bars). I have been having celery sticks with low fat cream cheese and sugar free jelly, or making up protein balls (thanks to Jamie Oliver's recipes). Try eating dinner without the carbs and nice veg instead...I was surprised how full I was!

How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

Iron and vitamin b

These are fatigue fighters. Foods high in iron and vitamin B like spinach, kale, meat, fish, seafood, dried fruit and eggs help to manage energy release, and therefore help to combat fatigue.

and what happens?

I've been sticking to these principles for three weeks now and I have found that I have more energy and that I feel less bloated. I don't feel hungry and I don't have cravings fact I only eat because it's time to not because I'm ravenous anymore. I have also found that my skin and complexion have improved dramatically (which was unexpected) the point of compliments from others!
I also did really go for it in the first fortnight, and tried to avoid all carbohydrates and sugars throughout the week. I did have headaches which I think were from sugar withdrawal, but otherwise all was fine. And I also lost 4lbs from my target goal of losing 11lbs before my holiday...which was nice! My tummy definitely feels flatter, and I just feel better in general. 

How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

(point of note, I was religiously tracking calories on myfitnesspal, averaging 1200 a day for the month before and lost 0lbs, felt awful, then went to Italy and gained another 2lbs) I'm a fan and it works for me. How about all of you? Are there any other ways of changing what we eat to feel more energetic? What are your healthy eating principles and what does it do for you?

How to eat for more energy and a flatter tummy

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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