Today we are tackling the post lunch slump – how to energise your afternoon.
Once you’ve got your morning routine sorted (click here to read the blog post), you’ll find getting through to lunch is a breeze.
It tends to be the afternoon when the wheels come off. Most people experience a slump in energy at some point.
And this is the danger time...when tiredness/ boredom/ frustration come to a head and before you know it, biscuits are being consumed by the packet.
So how to beat it and energise your afternoon:
1. It’s all about lunch
Lunch is everything in the battle for afternoon energy. It’s all about getting the balance right. You need enough energy from it to power on through BUT you don’t want it to be so calorie heavy, you need a nap.
Firstly, drink a large glass of water around 30 minutes before you eat. It rehydrates and makes sure you are feeling genuine hunger not thirst. It’ll also help you avoid that ‘hangry’ feeling where you just want to eat everything in sight.
What you eat is so important. White carbs are your enemy. They are digested too quickly, giving you a spike in energy followed by a slump. Processed foods in general aren’t great for the same reason.
Instead think about the perfect plate – quarter carbs (wholemeal/ unprocessed ones), quarter protein (lean meat or fish, eggs maybe), half plate salad or veggies.
Also make sure you don’t keep eating until you’re really full. When you’re eating your stomach will send signals to your brain when it’s full. However there’s a delay of about 20 minutes so if you keep eating and eating, you will suddenly realise you’re uncomfortably full.
Take it slowly – chew your food properly and have no other distractions. Mindful eating makes a massive difference. Stop when you start to feel a little full. If you’re tempted to have second helpings or a pudding, wait 20 minutes and see if you really need it. Most of the time you won’t.
2. Finish your meal with a peppermint tea
Peppermint is a great way of letting your stomach know you’ve finished with food. It helps soothes your tummy and helps digestion. Sip it slowly and it’ll also help you resist any cravings for pudding.
3. Get outside for a burst of fresh air
Take your peppermint tea outside and get some fresh air. Like first thing in the morning, it’ll do wonders for perking you up. Anytime you feel a bit tired, pop out again. It’ll energise your afternoon and help you re-focus and stay alert. Take advantage of being at home and having a little more flexibility. It’s also great for kids who are trying to learn via a laptop all day.
If you have time, go for a walk. Walking is amazing post meal – it helps with digestion and reduces the fat absorbed from the food. If you go straight after eating, just aim for a gentle stroll…anything more directs the blood away from the digestive system and to the working muscles. If you have more of a gap, see if you can get slightly out of breath…this will release endorphins and get you feeling good.
4. Afternoon energiser
This is something I do with my Back to Basics bootcampers…and I’m going to keep doing during Kickstart too. It’s basically a mini 2 minute exercise challenge.
EVERYONE can fit 2 minutes into their day…especially if you combine it with making a cuppa.
2 minutes sounds like nothing – but do it every day and you’ll soon notice a difference. The effect on your mental well being is perhaps the most important side effect though. It will help you feel more focused, more energised and as a result, more positive.
I’m going to post an afternoon energiser on my Facebook page later today. Give it a go and see what difference it makes to your day. Here’s the link to pop over there now
5. Planned snack
If you know what snack you’re having, you’re much less likely to reach for biscuits/ chocolate/ crisps (or whatever your nemesis is). Have it ready and eat it when you feel hungry.
For me, the perfect snack is something like apple slices spread with a little peanut butter. Or a couple of oatcakes with peanut butter and grapes.
Any kind of nut butter is great (but go for 100% nuts nothing else added) because it’s high in protein and healthy fats. A little goes a long way though so remember a portion size is a tablespoon. A handful of nuts are great too – 8-12 nuts are a portion.
I’ve shared my energy ball recipe a lot but I’ll share it again today on my Facebook page so grab it and use it. Click here for the link again in case you haven’t ‘liked’ my page yet.
That’s it for today- I hope you manage to energise your afternoon!
…but if you really want to improve your health and fitness, why not join my 8 week Kickstart Programme starting on Monday 18th January. It’s just £99 if you sign up before Friday (usual price £149). 8 weeks of my support, workouts, recipes, progress tracking and so much more.
Here’s a quick tour of what you get: