July 13, 2016
By Tamara Brown, MPH, RD, LD
Are you struggling to keep up with your “to do list” and still expecting to get everything done without a wisp of hair out of place? Between the cooking, cleaning, kids, career, spouse, and daily activities, who has enough time in the day to get everything done? And more importantly, who has enough time to get everything done perfectly? Many women find themselves caught in just this predicament, often referred to as “Superwoman Syndrome,” the idea that fulfilling all these roles and responsibilities well will lead to a lifetime of happiness and balance. Instead, many women find themselves feeling stressed, anxious, fatigued, and depressed. While it may be difficult to find time for self-care, making a personal pledge towards balanced eating throughout the day is crucial to provide strength and energy for all the activities that are important in your life.
The impact of not-so-super food choices
Your food choices have a huge impact on the way you feel and function. Often times the more overwhelmed a person feels, the more sugar, fast food, and processed food one eats. But these foods only increase feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to keep your energy level high and stress level low is to keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day. Rapid changes in blood sugar levels contribute to depression, stress, and sugar cravings. It is critical to prevent the blood sugar high that occurs after eating a snack rich in carbohydrates like cookies or crackers, as well as the blood sugar dip that follows the spike. When you are riding a blood sugar high, you feel energized and ready to tackle anything, but once your blood sugar drops, you may find yourself feeling low, irritable, fatigued, and craving more high-sugar foods like candy, chips, and soda. Riding a blood sugar rollercoaster throughout the day definitely does not leave you feeling super!
Eating real food in balance helps put a stop to the blood sugar highs and lows that contribute to feelings of fatigue and depression. Changing your food choices is one step toward feeling less stressed, more energetic, and having better emotional balance. Eating balanced means including real protein, healthy carbohydrates, and good fats at each meal and snack. Even a few small changes in your diet can lessen the stress and anxiety you feel.
Here are a few quick and easy balanced snack ideas to enjoy while on the go:
- A boiled egg and celery sticks with peanut butter
- Sliced turkey, apple slices and nuts
- Salmon Salad Supreme on Wasa® crackers
- Sliced ham on Wasa® crackers spread with cream cheese
- Cottage cheese with fruit and sunflower seeds
Every superwoman needs her rest
Balanced eating is one of the most important steps to take on the path to increased energy, but sometimes you may have so much stress in your life that your food choices alone may not be enough. At times like these, it can be difficult to turn off your mind and relax at bedtime, which can lead to insomnia and sleep deprivation. Without sufficient sleep, it can be a struggle to get through the day. If you are sleep-deprived, you may want to try supplementing with magnesium which helps reduce tension and calms the mind and body for better rest. Magnesium is essential for overall health. It helps relax muscles, maintain normal heart rhythm, and supports healthy blood pressure. Magnesium in the glycinate form is especially beneficial for restfulness and can be taken right before bed (400-600 mg) to help relax the brain and body for better sleep.
Self-care is necessary to be the best superwoman you can be
When a packed daily schedule leads to feelings of stress and fatigue, make a commitment to nourish your body with the fuel it needs to stay healthy and strong. Eating real food in balance, five to six times per day, will help you meet all the demands in your life. Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity, and every superwoman needs self-care to be at the top of her game!