Written By Kristin Wood
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If you’ve ever used the age-old excuses that “it’s just part of getting older” or “everyone feels this way” buckle up and keep reading. Aging isn’t a countdown to feeling drained. Aging is your chance to embrace another 24 hours of a vibrant life. That’s the goal we all have as our feet hit the floor in the morning! It’s time to debunk the myths of aging as a downhill journey that steals your zest for life...
Let’s get real about mood swings and fatigue. We’ve been conditioned to believe that perpetual exhaustion and emotional rollercoasters are inevitable parts of life. Definitely a part of life as we hit middle age. But what if I told you that age doesn’t dictate your vitality or your mood? You hold the reins to how you feel, and surprise! It’s your dietary choices shaping your current state.
Now let's debunk 3 common excuses tied to moodiness and fatigue. It’s time to reclaim stability for your emotions and energize yourself with 9 diet tweak options. The good news for you is that change is never all or nothing. Implementing just one of these diet tweaks will be a positive shift in your well-being.
We’ve all been there - a lackluster night of sleep, those unexpected aches and pains that we blame for a cranky disposition. Sure you can shrug and chalk these up to the natural passage of time. Even start to believe that elusive sleep and creaky joints are just the norm. But here’s the thing…it doesn’t have to be that way. Challenge those thoughts.
Nobody’s excited about being labeled ‘Oscar the Grouch’ and just because the years are adding up doesn’t mean life’s to-do list is shrinking. It’s time to explore natural ways to boost energy and manage stress and fatigue. You don’t have to subscribe to the narrative of these “inevitable aspects of aging.”
I often urge clients to look for evidence that what they desire is indeed possible. If one other person out there is living the experience you desire, it’s proof that it’s possible for you too. That’s the magic of how the universe operates. Once you grasp the possibility, your job is to start making choices that align with that desired outcome.
As you start observing, you’ll find numerous individuals in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and beyond who don’t subscribe to the “getting older” excuses. These people are brimming with energy, and fatigue isn’t ruling their life. So, what are the choices they are making?
However, beyond the age-related excuses, you may be giving yourself a hall pass with excuses like you’re stressed, you don’t have time for self-care, or it’s hormonal imbalances, feeling like there’s no way out. Believing that one day you’ll have the luxury to care for yourself properly is a story we tell ourselves, but it’s time to rewrite that narrative. Recognizing that the to-do list is never-ending allows us to tackle the root of our health issues sooner rather than later. This habit of delaying self-care until an ambiguous future date is the very habit driving poor choices leading to fatigue and mood swings.
Another common fallback excuse for lack of energy is that you just haven’t had enough caffeine yet. The truth is that excessive caffeine and energy drink consumption are exacerbating fatigue and mood swings. I’m not saying that you need to go cold turkey on caffeine, rather it’s about assessing and being mindful of your actual consumption. Despite telling ourselves that caffeine improves our performance, studies have proven that it can hinder it.
So if age, stress, and lack of caffeine aren’t to blame for our fatigue and mood what’s left?
For a clearer perspective, let’s use the analogy of your body as a vehicle. Every choice you make, whether in the kitchen or elsewhere, is akin to putting miles on the car. While I may not be a car aficionado, my dad always highlighted the difference between city miles and highway miles on a vehicle. So, consider this, are your choices racking up hard miles or easy miles on your body? Each decision counts, but some will certainly be nicer on your ‘vehicle’.
When it comes to the vehicle you’re driving you also might be particular about the quality of the fuel you’re using. Just like putting bad gas in your car can lead to performance problems, feeding your body junk as fuel can result in similar issues.
Another lesson from my dad…never, ever put sugar in the gas tank. While I never quite understood why he thought I’d need that advice, the point remains valid. Now, think for a minute, how frequently you’re adding sugar to your body for fuel. Whether it's treats or the sneaky places it hides, expecting top-notch performance while fueling yourself with sugar may need a second thought.
Let’s delve into the dietary choices that can directly impact fatigue and mood swings. Choices that may have slipped under your radar as potential solutions to feeling older than your age.
#1 EXCESSIVE SUGAR
Many clients ask “Is there an “ok” amount of sugar to consume?” That’s a bit like asking if there is an “ok” amount of cigarettes to smoke. Consuming high amounts of refined sugar and processed foods leads to blood sugar fluctuations which leads to mood swings and fatigue. Begin by accurately assessing your daily sugar intake. Some foods surprisingly contain sugar, so comb through food labels, especially those of condiments. Understanding your current intake allows you to choose where to cut back and which food choices require a change.
Sugar Tip: Consider halving the sugar amount in recipes. I practice this myself and generally, it doesn’t compromise taste or consistency.
#2 SKIPPING MEALS
This isn’t a critique of intermittent fasting but refers to irregular meal patterns. Our bodies thrive on consistency, requiring fuel at predictable times. Irregular meals lead to you experiencing drops in blood sugar, which means you’ll notice mood swings and fatigue. Find a schedule that works for your life and stick close to it.
#3 HIGHLY PROCESSED FOODS
Fast foods, instant meals, and packaged snacks, often contain additives, unhealthy fats, and refined carbs, all of which negatively impact mood stability and energy levels. This is like sugar where you need an honest review of what your typical diet contains and from there decide if changes need to be made.
#4 LOW PROTEIN INTAKE
Do you know how much protein you’re getting each day? Is it enough for your body? This is an area that time and time again I see clients skimping on. Protein is key for stabilizing blood sugar levels. Including protein in every meal or snack can make a significant difference.
Don’t feel like you have to address each of these 9 areas in one fell swoop. Start with one that feels manageable. Make a small adjustment, commit to it, then progress to add another layer to the first change, or pick another area. You’ll notice two common themes from these points…blood sugar balance and tracking.
# 5 OVERCONSUMPTION OF CAFFEINE
Relying on multiple cups may feel like a temporary energy boost but if you track your energy I’m confident that you’ll notice a crash that follows where your mood and energy suffer.
#6 LACK OF HYDRATION
Insufficient water intake can masquerade as feelings of hunger and disrupt the efficiency of your organ functions. Don’t be fooled, coffee and soft drinks or energy drinks don’t count in the area of hydration. Your body is craving plain old water.
#7 UNBALANCED DIET
Is your diet lacking healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and veggies? I’ve talked with clients that can go days without consuming a vegetable. Sure supplements are convenient, but you want to be getting as many vitamins, minerals, and fiber from your diet as possible. Your body needs it to function properly.
#8 OVERINDULGING IN...
Highly processed carbs like bread, pasta, and pastries. They’re easily accessible, and tasty, and they spike blood sugar levels. They’re not a never food, nothing's all bad or all good, just focus on moderation.
#9 ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
It disrupts sleep, dehydrates the body, and affects neurotransmitter levels, leading to fatigue and emotional instability. Through an honest evaluation of consumption, you can decide if this is an area you need to make changes.
Ever found yourself stuck in the loop, promising to embrace new choices but struggling to follow through?
Let’s face it, you’re unlike anyone else, and conforming to the usual norms might not sync with your individuality and how you implement change. Uncovering a personalized framework that’s tailored to your unique wiring can revolutionize your approach to wellness.
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The Midlife Magic Quiz is your ticket to unlocking your unique path to happiness and wellness.
Fatigue and mood swings often result from imbalances in our lifestyle and food choices, as mentioned above. Making mindful changes in any or all of these nine areas of diet serves as part one of this transformational journey. However, there's more to explore in part two, which delves into our thoughts—an aspect for another discussion. These small yet impactful changes can revolutionize how we feel on a day-to-day basis.
Now that you've learned about these nine areas influencing your mood and energy, feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to start is absolutely okay. If you're in a bind, uncertain about implementing these changes, I've got something special for you...