Everyday at 2:00pm it hits. It’s been about an hour and a half since you finished lunch and you start to hit a wall. You’re sitting at your desk and you start to get the dreaded googly eyes. You know what I am talking about, where you are struggling to keep your eyes open, you start to head bob and all you want to do is nap. At this point you realize that the only hope of getting through this day is a snack or an afternoon cup up coffee. Hurray, Starbucks is nearby, and you decide to get yourself a nice tasty slice of banana loaf while you are at it. I mean, it contains Banana…it’s practically salad. That’s it, its all over, the afternoon loaf got you again.
In the biz, we call this afternoon crash the “loaf”. Ok, that’s not true at all, but I think it’s pretty on point and we should all start referring to it as such. Your vice may not be the Starbucks banana loaf per se. My downfall is usually just a prayer that someone else in the office also suffers from afternoon loafing and has left an unattended tray of cookies in the staff room. (BTW, this never happens…thank god). So, what steps can be taken to avoid the dreaded loaf that sends you spiraling into an abyss of regret that results in you polishing off a bag of chocolate covered almonds later that night?
1. Have a protein packed breakfast. Consuming protein first thing in the morning will help to keep you full for longer. Eggs or meat and veggies, combined with a fat like coconut or mct oil is a great option. The fat will help to slow the digestion of the carbs and the protein and fat combo will keep you satiated. Try to avoid combining protein and starchy complex carbs!
2. Keep lunch light. Avoid eating a carb heavy lunch that will weight you down and send your blood sugar levels crashing in the afternoon. A large meal takes more effort to digest and as a result your blood is diverted to digest the meal properly, resulting in less oxygen and nutrition reaching your brain during the digestion process. Try a salad with grilled chicken and nuts, or a left over stir fry from the night before.
3. Go for a walk. Get outside for 10 minutes of fresh air, this will help get the blood flowing and wake you up.
4. Drink Water. To avoid dehydration and its sleepy side effects chug back some H2O. Aim for 11-16 cups a day. Yes, I am dead serious and especially if you an athlete.
5. Enjoy a spot of tea. Imagine that I just said this with a British accent and then go drink some herbal tea. Peppermint or caffeine free green tea are great options, but be creative.
6. Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint is an energy enhancing smell, just rub some on your hands and face and badabing badaboom you are feeling awake. Mostly cause you just got peppermint in your eyes and now you are in pain, having a panic attack and in the bathroom vigorously tossing water on your face. BUT, you’re awake!
7. Take an exercise break. You don’t even have to do secret squats in your office. Try isometric exercises where you flex different muscles in your body. Tighten your abs and hold for 20 seconds, then your glutes, chest, shoulders and back. You might start to sweat but that’s awesome cause you will have a really sexy glow about you for the rest of the day.
8. Curb your caffeine and sugar intake. Caffeine and sugar become a case of diminishing returns. You end up needing more and more to keep your energy levels and blood sugar sustainable. Give yourself a few weeks to get used to these missing stimulants and you won’t even miss them.
9. Sleep. Last but not least, sleep is the life blood. If you want to see #gainz you have to get sleep. When you sleep your body produces human growth hormone. That awesome hormone that makes people perform and look amazing that I would love to get my hands on a bottle of. (Does it come in a bottle???) Anyway, if you miss sleep, you miss stocking up on this hormone so make it a priority.
These all seem pretty simple, but it’s true. Eat a healthy balanced diet high in protein, fats and healthy carbs, drink a shit ton of water, avoid sugar and excess caffeine, move around and get enough sleep. Do this and forever avoid the loaf.