Living a “healthy” lifestyle can be rewarding, but also downright exhausting. In order to live your best life, it’s important for us to find the right balance, giving ourselves breaks and not adhering to things obsessively.
While you may be doing everything right — working out consistently, sleeping for eight hours each night, eating plenty of veggies and healthy foods — you may still find yourself exhausted. CNN compiled a list of healthy behaviors that can be exhausting and even harmful when approached too strictly. Here are 5 of the most important ones:
Cutting all carbs
Carbs tend to be associated with lots of calories, and are usually the first thing to go when following a diet. While some carbs contain a lot of calories, they’re also helpful in keeping you hydrated and energized. “For every gram of carbohydrate stored in the body, there is approximately 2 to 3 grams of water retained,” explained dietitian Elizabeth DeRobertis. Water retention is pivotal for staying energized, which is why it’s important to keep consuming carbs that are rich in fibers, like fruits, veggies and grains. And if you didn’t already know, refined carbs, such as pizza crust, white bread and chips are not the same as oatmeal, quinoa and whole grain pastas. One carb will drain your energy, while the other will nourish you. Can you guess which is which?
Eating too many carbs
The opposite is also true: eating too many carbs can make people feel lethargic and sluggish, even when talking about the healthy variety. These elements tend to convert to sugar once digested, prompting our bodies to produce more insulin, leaving you feeling tired even if what you ate was a mix of fruit, beans, and other healthy carbs.
Food is a trial and error process; when consuming new foods or new combinations, keep an eye on how you feel afterward.
Eating an incomplete diet
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or carnivore, you may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals. While many people think it’s mainly vegans and vegetarians who lack iron and B12, the truth is, lots of people have issues absorbing these nutrients. Since B12 is naturally found in soil (not meat), it’s a good idea to supplement if you think you may be deficient. Likewise, people who eat a high meat diet can still be deficient in iron. If you’re feeling not great, go get a blood test to find out if you’re lacking any vitamins, and supplement where necessary.
Working out too much
If you’re embracing a new lifestyle that includes tons of workouts, you might also be feeling exhausted for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’re working out too much or you’re not consuming the necessary amount of calories to support your day-to-day activity. Keep an eye on how you feel and consider cutting down on your workouts or eating more carbs if you feel like your body is not feeling rested and comfortable.
Eliminating too many calories
Fasting and cutting down on meals and snacks can impact how you feel on a daily basis. Instead of feeling hunger, you can also experience a lot of sleepiness and exhaustion. If you tend to feel sluggish at a certain time of day, try eating a healthy snack, with sufficient carbs, protein and fiber, and monitor how you feel afterwards. This close monitoring of your body may be taxing at first, but it’ll help you better understand how your body works and how to create a diet and lifestyle that’s personal to you, giving you the results you need. It’s still important to eat when you’re hungry to keep that metabolism revved up.