Energize Me!

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Coffee, soda, vitamin supplements. Those used to be the things that I relied on to have the energy to get through the day. Today, believe it or not, I’ve cut down on coffee and I’ve cut out soda completely.

Yes, yes, I did.

The Daily Vanilla Coke girl gave up her habit. And my teeth have thanked me for it.

Getting Health-ier

I’ve made an effort to get some healthier habits going over the last couple years. I now go to bed by 10 pm instead of 1 or 2 am. I have cut down on my sweets. I got a complete blood workup this month and am now on doctor-recommended vitamin supplements.

When I went for my physical, the doctor said, “Good for you. Mamas are so busy taking care of everyone else. I’m glad you’re taking care of you.” And I guess he’s right. I haven’t really made my own health a priority.

Yet, I feel the approach of “middle age.” I had my first mammogram last week. (It wasn’t as bad as some say.) And I realize that some of my bad habits are starting to catch up with me.

I’m going to be forty…. someday.

I’ve never been an athlete. But, over the last year, I’ve made an effort. A small one. A very small one.

We saved up and bought an exercise bike awhile back, so I spend 20 to 30 minutes at a time, riding. I can read the Kindle at the same time and that helps me feel like I’m “doing something” — besides going nowhere.

And the weird thing is that I feel tired on the days that I don’t ride. But, I have more energy on the days that I do. I’m sure one of you can give me the athletic science reason behind that. I’m thinking it’s probably a good thing, whether I understand it or not.

What do YOU do to find energy during the day?

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  1. Thanks for this post! Every so often I need to read how “healthy stuff” has worked for other people, to convince me to keep going. I try and take a 30-60 minute walk every day with my 15-month old daughter. We’ll see how well that goes in the winter…

  2. It’s so true – I have more energy from exercising too. I’ve been getting up early 3 days a week this summer to work out with a friend and I’m finding I don’t have the early afternoon crash I used to have (the “Mama needs a nap” syndrome). Works even better than caffeine (much better for the adrenal system too!). Thanks for sharing what you’re doing. I’m inspired to dust off my exercise bike for those days I don’t workout with a friend. Speaking of, I highly recommend the accountability of a friend to stay consistent. Take stroller walks together if you both have babies, or get together in the morning before hubs leaves for work to exercise to a video together.

  3. Another thanks for this post! As the start of school approaches I’ve been giving some thought to my energy level. Eating well and exercising certainly helps. I’m overweight and struggle with food so it’s hard for me not to fall into the habit of eating way too much sugar. That’s a continual project. We’re big coffee drinkers around here but I stop at 2-3 cups a day max.

    My big conclusion was that I need to drop the expectation of getting up an hour before my kids. I just can’t get to bed before 10:00 on a regular basis. Even if I could things would be thrown off whenever I have an evening rehearsal or concert. I need that extra bit of sleep. My goal is to be up 15-30 minutes before the kids, long enough to get dressed and in the head space of the new day.

    1. I love how thoughtful you are about finding what works best for you and your family. It always shines through in your comments. πŸ™‚

      1. What a kind comment. Thanks. πŸ™‚ I work very hard at not comparing myself to others. Not always successfully!

  4. What exercise bike did you buy and do you like it? I want to try Burst Training (also called Peak 8) and want to get something to do it. . .

    1. I have no idea what it is. Hubs picked it out. It’s a recumbent bike made by Schwinn, I think. You’d think I’d notice after sitting on as often as I do. Ha!

      1. That still helps. I had never even heard of a recumbant bike πŸ™‚ so it gives me someplace to start. . .

  5. I too had my first mammogram last week. I am 40 and everyone seemed suprised that I hadn’t had one already. I guess I was thinking I was still too young! Today I’m trying to put less sugar in my gallon pitcher of tea, 1/2 cup instead of 1 cup. Since I pretty much drink the whole pitcher I’m getting all that sugar each day! Slow changes…

    1. Slow changes are absolutely the key! You can also switch the kind of sugar you use. Honey can sweeten but it has more staying power than white sugar.

      Also, I think that the mammogram thing depends on age, personal history, and family cancers. I’m 39, but my aunt is in remission from breast cancer, so I guess that puts me in a higher risk category. He also said that it was better to get a baseline now so that we have something to compare it to in the coming years.

  6. Thanks for the encouraging post. I too am a non-athletic mom already in her 40’s, trying to keep up w/a 2yo and 6yo, and feeling the effects of her years. It feels good to know one is not alone. I try to keep up my energy w/walking and exercise tapes that are low impact. The bike sounds like a good choice as well.

  7. i do interval training (similar to peak 8) too on my bike. not as intimidating as it sounds. instead of riding at the same speed, you increase your speed, decrease speed in 8 intervals. exercise gives you endorphins which can help with energy levels. i rarely want to go get on my bike, but i’m always glad i did. it makes me feel happy and peaceful. in addition to energy i also have greater mental clarity during the day. i see school kids walking to school, the start of a brand new day full of possibilities. i see other folks exercising on the walking/bike trail and say a friendly hello to them. the world feels just about right when i ride.

    1. Yeah, tried that the other day after I read your comment. Ouch. Not a “ride in the park,” but good for me to change it up.

  8. Yeah I feel exactly like you…my sleep has improved on those days that i do squeeze exercise(and energy) and with my son about to turn 3 I am working on getting rid of the paunch you have after birth(not good for heart health to have a belly)…its tough but definitely possible…i DONOT look at the number scale but rather how my clothes fit and how I FEEL…I am blessed my husband understands this and why its important to my health…I also say God would love me to be fit and healthy so that I can do everything to the best of my ability in his honor and that has been a blessing…and my motivation…

  9. First of all, turning 40 is great! The kids are getting older and more self-sufficient, money isn’t quite as tight (hopefully) as your 20’s & 30’sand I have found that the need to prove myself isn’t as strong. 40 is just a number and I’m hoping I feel just as positive about 50 as I do 40 πŸ™‚

    I have found yoga to be absolutely essential in my well being. Unfortunately I’ve taken some time off and am now just getting back into it but the flexibility is wonderful. When I was doing yoga regularly I actually felt like my body was working with me and not against me. As you get wiser (versus older πŸ˜‰ ) keeping yourself flexible is very important. I had read some where that some Christians were worried about the religious influence of yoga. My advice for anyone who is concerned about that is to look for a teacher who doesn’t get into that aspect. Yoga is really about making your body working for you through breathing and stretching. My yoga instructor does get into the chanting and stuff but I just modify my mantra to reflect my beliefs.

    Good for you for breaking your soda habit. Word of advice, don’t think you can ‘have just one’. I had broken mine for a year and thought I conquered my demons enough to have the occasional one. Guess not!

  10. Early dinner, early bedtime and early rising has made a HUGE difference in my energy levels too. I can race from 6am to 3pm and then I take a power nap for 20-30 mins. Then I am on my feet again till 7 after which I become a couch potato. lol
    As far as food goes, we eat well. But since I started eating 2 whole eggs, drinking two glasses of whole milk everyday, eating more wild fish and smearing good pasture butter liberally to my bread , I have noticed that my recovery periods are shorter and no aches and pains when I get up in the morning. I conclude, good food does all the magic. πŸ™‚

  11. I’m training for a 5k. I’m not sure I would have the time to train for much more, but a 5k is very do-able for me. Plus there are always 5K’s going on throughout the year.

    Also, I don’t keep foods around that I just can’t control myself with. If I really want chocolate, I either make homemade chocolate ice cream or buy a small chocolate bar.

  12. Green or black tea– hot in the winter, cold in the summer.
    And chewing gum, music & Zumba workouts.

  13. What a great post and reminder! I walk 2.5 – 3 miles six days a week and find that, if I don’t for some reason, I really drag behind. Starting my day with a brisk walk also seems to set me up to make better dietary choices, too. I mean, really, I have never been tempted to reach for a donut right after walking 3 miles. πŸ˜‰ I imagine those food choices are also impacting my energy levels.

    1. I was going to say the same thing – if I run first thing in the morning, I find myself making much better food choices throughout the rest of the day. And drinking more water, which I firmly believe really does help me feel better/ have more energy.

  14. Any advice for a tired mommy whose kids are terrible sleepers…nightmares, needing a drink, too cold, too hot, soaking through diapers….we hear it all from our kids(5yo, 2yo, 1 yo) Is this just a phase of life or is there something wrong with my kids? We’ve tried everything- cut out tv and drinks before bed and yet problems persist. I am exhausted and some days all I can find the energy for are the basics- food, clothing, schooling and then I’m done. I just want to sleep through the night! Will this ever get better?

    1. Hang in there, Mama! It is hard, I know. I’ve been reading more about allergens and dyes. I wonder if your kids are eating a lot of processed foods? There is some research (don’t quote me) to suggest that diet during the day can effect sleep habits and some of the stuff you’re talking about. I am no expert, but that is what came to my mind. It might be worth keeping a food diary to see what they’re eating during the day?

  15. Good for you! You might try adding in a few push ups and sit ups when you get off the bike. I know once I turned 40, things started to sag . . . using your muscles helps out with that!

  16. I just turned 38 and also have recently decided to start taking care of myself, and my family, better. Been eating lots more veggies and fruits (and trying to buy locally grown organic whenever possible without going hog wild!) and I am drinking tons more water. I used to drink 2 cups of coffee every morning and 2 or 3 diet cokes during the day and evening but now I’m drinking about 64-80 oz. of water a day instead. Maybe one cup of coffee in the a.m. and a diet coke every few days. The biggest difference so far is when I get up early and either walk/jog for 25 minutes or do pilates, I am so awake I don’t even need the coffee. Which is awesome. πŸ™‚

    Still haven’t figured out how to go to bed at a decent hour…but I’m working on it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. I guess the short answer to why you feel better would be that all cells need oxygen to perform best and exercise gets it into all the cells in brain and elsewhere that sitting and moving around the house doesnt. It also raises the “sense of well being” hormones.

  18. Afternoon rest/nap time is key around here! Also, I will try to make myself go outside if I am feeling sluggish. The outdoors usually revives me.

  19. I had a physical this year and everything is fine, except for the borderline high bp and high cholesterol (thanks to my genetics) everything else is fine.
    However, I’m still working on finding what energizes me! I think it is a good night’s sleep, because if I don’t get it, it’s a rough day!
    I do try to get exercise daily, eat health, limit sweets, caffiene, and junk food. I drink water and take vitamins. But I still have that afternoon slump!

  20. Good on you for making you a priority too! It is so easy not to think about yourself, because the day is so busy already. It is so worth the extra effort – because when you are feeling good – the whole house feels good! I too am focusing on health at the moment and am really enjoying the positive feeling it gives you. Keep up the good work. Sounds like you have hit on a topic that your readers are keen on, by the number of great comments. Love your blog!

  21. I’m a runner and while most true runners get up at 5 AM and run first thing, I can’t do that. I run at my best around noon and it gets me through the whole afternoon. You might also find when you exercise on a regular basis, you sleep SO much better at night. I notice a HUGE difference.

  22. We do a thing at work in the summer where we wear pedometers and see who has the most steps. It turns into quite the competition. Anyway, through that program my friend and I found a path near our office which takes you along and even over a beautiful stream. Who would have though that in just 45 minutes in the middle of a crazy busy city we could get in a hike and even cross a few streams? It’s been doing great things for my moods and sleep.

    Also, I drink tea.

  23. I do a lot of daily stuff that keeps me going: walking, stretching, situps, vitamins (the brand does make a difference!), drinking water, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy foods (generally πŸ™‚ ). I also try to do a weight lifting routine for the arms 3x weekly.
    When I do all this, I feel so much more on top of stuff. I also don’t have all the health issues that my friends have like back problems. I can’t afford to lose time to health issues as a mom of 5. It’s not in my schedule!