This week’s guest expert is Nutritionist Elle Brown. Elle specialises primarily in women’s health and has a strong passion for family and children’s health, energy, hormone health and general wellbeing. In today’s blog she’s talking about all things low energy and fatigue commonly experienced by women and how you can take action to begin feeling your most energetic vibrant self!
Low energy, the #1 unexplained and unidentified reason that Australian Women present to their General Practitioner. Female fatigue impacts over half the Australian female population; with women reporting they feel tired daily, and completely exhausted or depleted for more than half of their week, every week.
This low lying chronic state of tired; steals important moments, days and experiences from you. Robbing you of joy and creating daily symptoms and frustration.
Over the years in clinical practice, I have noticed a common belief system pattern held by many of my female clients. A belief that it is ‘selfish’ for them to seek support, guidance or treatment for their symptoms and a feeling of guilt or shame in doing so.
Many of the daily symptoms being experienced by women, ranging from tiredness to pain, seem to be pushed to the side, ignored, or worse- labelled “just part of being a woman”.
Women you are worthy of feeling well!
Not just ‘ok’.
Or ‘it’s not that bad.’
Not ‘I guess this is me’.
Or ‘it’s not important’.
You deserve to wake up in the morning with energy and to feel vibrant as you move through your days and weeks.
I sat with a female client the other week who told me that the last time she felt truly well was 7 years ago.
I had asked her to think back to a time where she felt really well, vibrant, happy and alive. “7 years ago” she quietly responded and my heart sank.
Sadly, this is common. I see this a lot.
I also see some women say that they can’t even remember or recall a time when they actually did feel any of those things.
Pain and tired have become so normalised now that we simply accept them as normal.
Daily symptoms and struggles are not normal. Common maybe, but not normal; and beautiful women you deserve so so much more than simply accepting this.
There are things that we can do to improve the current state of ‘Female Fatigue’.
Let’s get you started on your journey today to greater energy!!
Remove barriers to energy
Before we even begin on dietary or lifestyle recommendations, it is essential that you consider things that worsen your state of tiredness or increase feelings of depletion. These can be people, places, occasions, food choices, meals or portions of certain meals.
Write these down if need be.
E.g. I saw Tom today, I felt really tired after, took a nap.
If the following week you see Tom again and it is the same story; maybe take a little break from seeing Tom and see what happens – some people are little energy thieves and it only creates more chaos when energy is already at an all-time low.
I’ve known plenty of Tom’s in my lifetime. Choosing to surround myself with people that leave me feeling happy, content and energised after our time together has been a game changer in increasing my energy.
Energy doesn’t lie.
Consider foods and meals that also make you feel tired.
Write these down too if you find this to be helpful.
We should not require a nap following meals or food choices. If you find that this is happening to you, a few things may be occurring. Potentially you have over consumed during this meal or snack, or this particular meal is not suitable for your individual needs and body system. We are all unique and so too are our nutritional and food requirements.
Are you a ‘yes’ person? Even if you really want to say no?
Do you completely fill free spaces, weekends, calendars?
If someone hurts or frustrates you, do you tell them? Or bury it and mull over the hurt and frustration without letting the other person know how you are truly feeling?
Swallowing, squashing, not expressing, not leaning into gut feelings and authentic responses is an incredibly quick way to burn through and deplete energy.
Your specific environment, overall nature and food choices can leave you more susceptible to energy issues if unaddressed.
Water is required for almost every biological and physiological process within your body.
Important ones include excretion of toxins and waste, to assist in regulating body temperature, to prevent infections, for organ function and most importantly for energy.
I have never worked with a client and not had to adjust their water intake in some way.
Hydration and water intake is a very commonly overlooked area when it comes to symptom presentation and wellbeing and something that when implemented can offer a fairly rapid positive response.
A few tips I have for you to assist you in your water journey:
Invest in a drink bottle. Sounds simple but it is a fantastic reminder and a great way to help bring awareness to your intake or lack of intake. I take my drink bottle everywhere with me – to work, in the car, in my handbag.
Start the day with at least 1 -2 glasses of water before you do anything else. Before you eat, have a coffee or leave the house. The morning is the best time of the day to hydrate and this is a great way to get a head start on water intake for the day.
If you are suffering from any kind of digestive of tummy complaint, I would encourage you to switch to room temperature water and minimise or avoid cold water where possible. Warm or room temperature water is gentler on the gut.
If water is not your thing and you are avoiding it because you simply do not like the taste or find it boring, consider ways to make it more appealing or exciting.
Add fresh fruit- I love citrus lemons, limes and oranges or cucumbers, strawberries and mint. I hear pineapple is quite the game changer too. You can also add bubbles from something like a soda stream or a herbal tea bag for iced or warm tea.
Eat the rainbow
If we want to feel vibrant, our plate also needs to reflect this!
Too often I see clients making ‘beige’ food choices that lack colour or vibrancy. Foods such as yogurt, cereals, cheese, pasta, rice, bread. These foods are in no way ‘unhealthy’, but they aren’t very colourful, appealing and their nutrient profile is fairly low when consumed on their own.
If we want to feel vibrant, our plate needs to be vibrant too!
When we expose our bodies to an array of different colours on our plate, not only do we increase the vibrancy and frequency of the meal but we also increase the amount of vitamins and minerals we are getting from our food, we increase the variety within our meals and the fibre content. All very important factors for energy.
Instead of worrying about measuring vegetable intake in portions when building meals; I encourage my clients to aim to include 3 different colours with every meal.
This may look like strawberries, blueberries and banana on top of your oats with breakfast.
Purple cabbage, baby spinach and carrot in your wrap at lunch.
Sweet potato, broccoli and tomato with dinner.
If you exceed the 3 different colours, well done!! You are not restricted to only 3, this is simply a goal for those finding that their meals do tend to lack colour.
Are your meals serving YOU?
Are your meals serving you and your individual needs?
I touched on this above when I spoke about how you feel following a meal and this is something to consider within our food choices.
If we feel bloated, yucky, hungry, experience pain, need to nap or feel foggy soon after consuming a meal, chances are, this meal is not serving you!
I get asked a lot if certain meals or foods are ‘healthy’ and that is always a hard question to answer. For some a certain food may serve them well, they may feel satisfied, have long lasting energy, not feel hungry soon after and enjoy the meal. For others, the same meal may make them hungry soon after, lead them to crave sugar, need to take a nap, experience symptoms or not be overly appealing.
No two people are the same when it comes to nutritional needs and fuelling your body. This area can be difficult to navigate and it can be beneficial to book a consultation with a professional (Hi) to help you determine foods and meals that work best with your body and provide you with energy.
Sleep and night time routine
Aim to leave 2 hours before bed “food free”. You may have herbal tea during this time (no caffeine)
Adequate sleep is crucial for energy, weight management, wellbeing, mood, hormonal regulation and vitality.
Aim for one hour before bed, screen and electronic free.
Create a dark, cool and calm environment.
I like dim lights, stretching before bed and no electronics within my sleep space. We want this space to signify sleep only.
Whatever we think or absorb right before bed, we take into sleep with us- sleep is how we process the day.
For the reason I like listening to online audio meditation before bed or reading something that I find calming and uplifting.
You can try to put your legs straight up the wall for 10 minutes before sleep.
Lie on your back and have your legs travelling straight up the wall. This brings blood flow down towards your heart and digestive system and is very calming.
Other calming activities I like before bed are baths, showers, warm foot soaks (this can be as easy as putting warm water in a bowl with a sprinkle of Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils. So lovely after being on your feet all day.
Lavender oil – soles of your feet and anywhere in your space that you like, I also like diffusing it.
Diaphragmatic breathing – place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly button. Breathe in and out for at least 6 breaths, ensuring your belly button hand is rising deeper than the hand on your chest. As you breathe out, let the day leave you. Let whatever is stuck in your mind leave you. Exhale and let it all go.
Ensure you aren’t overheating at night – I say less is best when it comes to what to sleep in. Clothing can overheat us at night time so keep it minimal.
If sleep is interrupted or we are awake ‘processing’ our thoughts at night, this can be a sign that there is a body system imbalance or that we are struggling throughout the day to process grief or emotions or finding it challenging to truly express ourselves.
Boundaries, over giving and being a yes person!
Do the above words resonate with you?
The emotional component to deficiency or depletion is over giving.
Saying yes when we really want to say no.
Not setting clear boundaries.
Not honouring what we really wish to do and say and struggling with low self-worth.
Self-expression can be challenging. Learning to find your voice and a firm no can feel totally foreign when you have spent most of your life giving a frustrated yes and dealing with an internal battle following.
Wellbeing is never really just about focussing on one distinct area. If we ignored the emotional block to energy and simply made dietary alterations or vice versa, we may be missing an important component that needs to be addressed.
Potential deficiencies or undiagnosed chronic or body system conditions; visit your GP, adequate testing. I encourage my clients to have bloods taken every 1-2 years.
Lastly, If you have tried to implement the above; If you feel you get adequate sleep, express yourself authentically, eat the rainbow, take rest, hydrate and you STILL feel like you are getting nowhere with energy, I would encourage you to take a visit to your GP. I recommend that all of my clients get routine bloods taken ever 1-2 years to be across what is happening in their body.
Seek adequate testing and guidance from a professional and rule out any imbalances, deficiencies or undiagnosed conditions. Please do not accept this level of fatigue as ‘normal’ and just push through. There are answers and treatment options available; I would always be very happy to work with you on your journey 😀
Bio: I work holistically with my clients, meaning that I like to address all areas of your life that influence wellbeing in order to address and remove all barriers to healing. In a session with me we focus on 3 key areas: your food and Nutrition, your lifestyle habits and your emotional health. We then work collaboratively to get you symptom free and feeling your best!
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