If you’re anything like me you charge your cellphone religiously. You give it it’s own home on the bedside table right next to your pillow and make sure that sucker is plugged into the outlet. All night it re-fuels, going from dangerously in the red to locked and loaded at 100% ready to take on tomorrow’s full day of Instagramming, Snap chatting, and Facebooking.
Just like our phones, our bodies need refueled, re-charged and re-energized. All of these could mean different things to different people. Maybe someone needs more sleep, maybe another person needs more time outside, even still, maybe someone needs a little more time to relax, but what I’m talking about is our inherent need for food.
Food is our bodies’ “fuel.” We can’t do anything without food. Let’s think back to that cellphone, without being charged it isn’t of much use. If we use it all day in all the ways we use cellphones, to call, text, take pictures, watch videos, etc. we can’t expect to keep using it in the same way without stopping to refuel.
Think about all the things you do in a day. You probably go to school, maybe play a sport, do (unfortunately) lots of homework, maybe play with younger siblings or friends outside, and even just reading these words on the page requires fuel. They need your energy levels to start at 100%, just like your phone.
How do we make sure we do that though? By eating enough. Here are three tips to ensure you are getting enough fuel to keep you energized all day long.
Eat a Big Breakfast
I was definitely that kid in elementary school and way into high school who never ate breakfast. I coveted those last couple minutes in bed before the bus picked me up and was lucky if I grabbed a handful of cereal out the door. By lunchtime I felt ravenous and often made poor food choices as a result.
According to an article in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 12-34 percent of children and adolescents regularly skip out on breakfast. The only time I ever ate breakfast was when my dad was home to hand me off an egg sandwich as I ran out the door. There are so many benefits to eating breakfast though, including having more energy and better concentration, maintaining a healthy weight, and (I think) it’s the tastiest meal of the day!
If you’re not a regular breakfast eater, start out small and build up your intake. No, I don’t mean if you’re not eating anything start eating one Pop-Tart every morning. I mean start incorporating more nutritious foods into your morning routine. I think one of the biggest barriers to breakfast is that some people don’t like the foods that are labeled as “breakfast foods” but anything can be a breakfast food! Want a sandwich for breakfast? Go for it. That leftover chicken and rice from the night before? That’s good too!
The key with breakfast is to eat healthy foods you enjoy eating and fill up on protein and fiber. For me, that means scrambled eggs and a big bowl of oatmeal with berries!
Listen to Your Body
If you feel tired, have cravings, or feel a little “down in the dumps” per se you may be under eating. According to the National Centre for Eating Disorders the psychological effects of under-eating include depression, obsessions and compulsions and impaired concentration. The best thing to do when you feel like this is start eating just a little more. Food is not something to be scared of or to restrict.
Think back to that cellphone. Why does it begin to run slower when the battery is drained to 5%? It just doesn’t have the power to go any faster, same with our bodies. When our energy stores get too low we go into energy saving mode and our body tries its hardest not to shut down. It will only use energy for the bare minimum, so forget that extra soccer practice, late night sleepover or trip to the mall with all your friends. If you’re not eating enough you’ll barely have enough energy to get through the day without snoozing through third period math class.
Listening to your body is difficult at first but the rewards are great. When you learn to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you feel full or satisfied you’ll be able to enjoy everything within moderation.
Fill Your Plate with Colors
While not eating enough has a major drawback on energy levels it can also present problems to growing bodies. When you don’t eat enough you are not getting the vital nutrients that help the body grow, learn and develop. The key to filling your diet with enough nutrients is eating all the colors!
If your plate consists of only one color, chances are you’re not getting enough nutrients. Load up on whole-grains, fruits and vegetables (of all colors), low-fat dairy, lean meats, poultry, fish and eggs. Pick a new fruit or vegetable each week at the grocery store to try. Sometimes foods can look odd or like they wouldn’t taste good at the store but when you bring them home and give them a chance you’ll be shocked at just how good they taste!
Now, back to that little cellphone we’ve been talking so much about. Our cellphones require a lot of care…just like our bodies! It will only work as well as you take care of it hence why we put cases on them, update them every time a new update is available, and re-charge them every night. We care for those cellphones probably more than our bodies at times. I challenge you to think about the care of your body the next time you pull out your cellphone and think about keeping your body energized and ready for whatever awesome Instagram-worthy, Snap chat selfie, or Facebook status moment your day might bring.
Written By Tessa Yannon, SFG Blogger
“Tessa Yannone is a certified personal trainer and fitness journalist in Bloomington, IN who works with athletes and adult clients of all ages. She has a passion for strength, body positivity, and balanced nutrition and believes all women deserve to feel healthy, happy, and empowered in their bodies. You can learn more about Tessa on her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.”