Because of this, finding ways to keep your energy up can help to keep you motivated.
Exercise is Essential for Health
For individuals who are close to their ideal weight but are sedentary, achieving a calorie deficit in the long term can be difficult because their total daily energy expenditure may be relatively low. This is where exercise can be useful because it creates for a greater calorie deficit.
Additionally, exercise is important for cardiovascular health, as well as for improving strength and bone density. It also has many other benefits, including boosting mood and relieving stress. 1 However, the challenge with exercise is finding the energy to go to the gym in the morning or workout after a hard day at work or school.
Keeping Energy Up with a Calorie Deficit
If you're eating a balanced and nutritious diet, then eating at a calorie deficit shouldn't affect energy levels too much once you get used to it, but in the short term, it can be difficult. But if you're the kind of person who finds it helpful to snack throughout the day to stay focused and keep energy levels up, then you might find that eating less leaves you feeling drained at first.
Despite this initial lethargy, there have been many studies conducted into the required calorie deficit to lose weight, as well as the impact that calorie restriction has on mood, behavior, and physiology. 2 , 3
You may have heard term "hangry"—a colloquial term for people who feel angry when they are hungry—often a symptom of a blood sugar crash. In short, though a calorie deficit might take an adjustment and might lead to a bad mood at first, it is ultimately a basic requirement of weight loss and is consequently worth it in the long term.
Eat Nutritious Foods
To make the transition to a healthy lifestyle easier, there are a few things that you can do to boost energy levels. Choosing nutritious, filling foods, including healthy fats and protein rather than simple carbohydrates can be a good start. Though calories are the key for weight control, the type of macronutrients you consume can help with satiety and energy levels, as well as help support fat burning. 4
Get More Sleep
Another change that can help support good energy levels is increasing sleep time. Though most individuals know that it's important to get six to eight hours of sleep a night, what often gets overlooked is that the quality of sleep matters. Additionally, many people simply choose to ignore this the necessity of sleep to spend more time binge-watching Netflix or completing work.
However, sleep quantity and quality have been found to have a significant impact on a person's energy levels, focus, mood, and general day-to-day life. 5 Sleep can also impact total daily energy expenditure. For example, if you're not getting enough sleep, then not only will you feel sluggish during the day, you may actually burn significantly less energy (in the form of calories) throughout the day. 6
This means that it will be even harder for you to maintain a long-term calorie deficit, and you will end up finding it very hard to lose weight. In addition, some people find that when they're tired, they struggle to keep up the willpower to avoid snacking and are more prone to making less healthy and nutritious food choices.
Because of this, it's important that you try to get good quality sleep every night. If you think that you aren't sleeping well at night, try installing a sleep monitoring app on your phone and leaving it by your bedside. These apps track how much you move at night, and while they aren't perfect, they can give you a decent idea of how well you’re sleeping. If they say that you aren't sleeping well, then it could be that this is something you could work to improve.
If you're exercising during the day and going to bed at a reasonable time but aren't able to doze off, then think about the rest of your nighttime routine. Try to avoid eating just before bed, and stop drinking caffeinated beverages late at night. Aim to cut down on screen time an hour or so before bed as well.
If you go to bed and find yourself tossing and turning, get up and do something relaxing for a few minutes, then return to bed when you feel tired. Additionally, try using some soothing essential oils before bed to promote sleep whether it be topically or aromatically in a room diffuser.
Your aim should be to fall asleep quickly. Furthermore, keep the bedroom for bedroom activities, not for work, gaming, or entertainment, and you'll find it easier to doze off at night.
Once you fall into a reasonable sleeping pattern you should find that you wake up each day feeling more refreshed and that your energy levels are better throughout the day.
Energize with Essential Oils
Even if you are eating right, exercising, and getting lots of sleep, you might still find that you struggle with energy levels from time-to-time and that you need a pick-me-up. Though a cup of coffee or an energy drink is the usual go-to, there are many essential oils that can help you feel more alert without a crash.
Peppermint essential oil, for example, has been found to help boost athletic performance by acting as a vasoconstrictor. 7 Try using peppermint oil topically after diluting it with a carrier oil or aromatically in a room diffuser.
In addition to peppermint, there are many other oils that can help reduce stress levels, maintain healthy blood pressure, support immune function, and most importantly, boost energy levels.
Citrus essential oils can help boost your energy levels and leave you feeling more productive and focused. They pair well with frankincense and peppermint essential oils to create a powerful mood-boosting and energizing blend. 8
Lime essential oil is especially well-known for providing an energy boost and increase focus, while grapefruit essential oil can be useful for reducing stress and mental fatigue while boosting immune system function. 9
Relieve Stress and Stay Lively
Stress is a perfectly normal reaction to any threat to the body, and modern environments create a lot of stress. In the short term, when it comes from a reasonable cause, stress is useful—it keeps you stay alert and focuses the mind. For example, exercise can be a form of beneficial physical stress (though over-exercising can be damaging for the body).
However, stress from jobs or daily life, in general, is not exactly beneficial, but it is something that we can cope with if we manage the stress in a productive way. It is when stress becomes especially excessive or chronic that it can lead to health repercussions, though, whether that be eating significantly more, eating less, or not being able to find the energy to exercise.
Essential oils are particularly beneficial for alleviating stress, especially lavender essential oil. This oil has been shown to reduce stress on a day-to-day basis if breathed throughout the day, in addition to helping improve sleep quality. 10
Lavender essential oil is particularly beneficial and gentle in topical application, but also effective when added to a bath, or used aromatically in a room diffuser.
If you can keep stress under control, then you’re less likely to make poor food choices, and you're more likely to get a good night's sleep.
Losing weight should not be a miserable experience. If you're tired and hungry all the time, then you're probably either not eating the right foods or you are eating too few calories. Remember that you should be aiming to make changes to your diet that you can sustain permanently and that does not leave you feeling deprived.
It’s true that weight loss can be difficult and takes time, effort, and dedication, but when carried out to completion, provides a range of important health benefits that will ultimately improve quality of life. So, if you’re thinking about it, don’t be afraid to take the step, and if it becomes difficult and energy feels like it’s at an all-time low, try some of the energy-boosting strategies mentioned above.
With time, your body will adjust to the changes you have implemented and a diet and exercise routine will transform into a permanent lifestyle change.