8 Reasons You’re Tired All the Time
Redbook, Amy Gorin
June 24, 2016

Your diet could use a tweak

The combo of protein, healthy fat, and fiber provides lasting energy. So if you’re not getting enough of these important nutrients throughout your day, your food may be zooming through you.

The fix: Aim for a mix of protein (from lean meat, eggs, and beans), healthy fat (from avocado, olives, and nuts), and carbs (from whole grains, vegetables, and fruit) at every meal.

You’re a glass half-empty kind of gal

“Pessimism is by definition exhausting,” says Michelle Gielan, author of Broadcasting Happiness and founder of the Institute of Applied Positive Research. “Pessimists don’t believe their behavior matters in the face of challenges, and that is a debilitating thought that can leave us stuck and unmotivated to take positive action.” On the other hand, optimists expect positive things to happen in the face of setbacks and believe that taking action is necessary to success. “Just knowing there is potential for good things to happen fuels productive energy,” says Gielan. One study confirms this: Optimistic sales professionals outsold their pessimistic counterparts by 37 percent according to research at the University of Pennsylvania.

The fix: Get in the habit of creative problem solving-recognizing an optimistic belief and talking about solutions is energizing. “Simply listing a handful of things we are grateful for ahead of a workout or a project can put our brain in a more energized state,” says Gielan.

You’re low on steps

Ever felt completely wiped, then ran a few miles or powered through a spin class and felt ready to conquer the world? Research shows there’s something to this energy amp-up: When fatigued college students ran at a low intensity three times a week for six weeks, they felt less tired after six weeks, versus volunteers not instructed to exercise, found research in PLoS One.

The fix: Instead of giving into exhaustion related relaxation (watching TV, shopping online, or reading) after dinner, consider a walk or exercise class.

You’re coming down from a sugar crash

Sugar equals energy, right? Nope. The sugar in a handful of jelly beans or a soda can cause a fast drop in blood sugar, taking a tolll on your body and causing feelings of tiredness.

The fix: Aim to limit added sugars-such as granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and molasses- to no more than 10 percent of your daily calories, so about nine teaspoons of sugar for a 1500-calorie diet. This rule will be easier to follow once the new food labeling guidelines are enforced in July 2018; at that point, added sugars will be a separate line item on nutrition labels. For now, watch out for sugar synonyms on ingredient lists. When you’re baking, swap in a pinch or more of vanilla bean to reduce sugar content in a recipe by up to 25 percent.