Many people experience a slump in energy levels by the time the afternoon rolls around. A number of factors may contribute to this phenomenon. The most common cause is post-lunch hypoglycemia, which is related to your inability to burn fat.
Hence, addressing your diet is key if afternoon fatigue is something you contend with on a regular basis. Besides alterations in your diet, intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to switch your body from burning carbs to burning fat, thereby boosting your mental and physical stamina.
Other factors are related to when and how much you exercise. Poor sleep also plays a role, of course, and recent research highlights the interconnectedness between sleep and exercise.
Diet Is Key for Maintaining Your Energy Levels
There are two fuels your body can use, sugar and fat. The sad reality is that our ancestors were adapted to using fat as their primary fuel and over 99 percent of us are now adapted to using sugar or glucose as our number one fuel source.
Because most are primarily burning carbs as fuel, afternoon fatigue is typically related to post-lunch hypoglycemia. By switching your body from using carbs as its primary fuel to burning fats instead, or becoming "fat adapted," you virtually eliminate such drops in energy levels. Overall, being adapted to burning fat instead of carbs has a number of benefits, including:
- Having plenty of accessible energy on hand, as you effectively burn stored
fat for energy throughout the day. One way to tell if you're fat adapted or not is to take note of how you feel when you skip a meal. If you can skip meals without getting ravenous and cranky (or craving carbs), you're likely fat-adapted.
- Improved insulin and leptin sensitivity and decreased risk of virtually every known chronic degenerative disease.
- Effectively burn dietary fat for your energy. which leads to less dietary fat being stored in your adipose tissue—hence the weight loss benefits associated with fat adaptation.
- Being able to rely more on fat for energy during exertion. sparing glycogen for when you really need it. This can improve athletic performance, and helps burn more body fat. As explained by Mark Sisson. author of The Primal Blueprint. if you can handle exercising without having to carb-load, you're probably fat-adapted. If you can work out effectively in a fasted state, you're definitely fat-adapted.
First, Replace Carbs with Healthful Fats
Keep in mind that when we're talking about harmful carbs, we're only referring to grains and sugars, NOT vegetable carbs. You need very little if any of the former, and plenty of the latter. In fact, when you cut out sugar and grains, you need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat since, by volume, the grains you need to trade out are denser than vegetables. You also need to dramatically increase healthful fats, which include:
Olives and olive oil (for cold dishes)