By Dan Jeffs
Personal Trainer/Accredited Exercise Physiologist/Exercise and Sport Science Australia full member
3pm slump and fight weight gain
We have all done it. The 3pm pick me up. The office bickie jar, the caramel koala you stash in your desk drawer or a double hazelnut, mocha frappe (yep, I love them) – sugar makes you feel good – for a moment. But I bet it’s not surprise to you when I tell you it doesn’t last. Sugar is copping a blasting on social media for all the ‘bad’ things it can do for you, but the stuff is so addictive! How do you stop that day-to-day habit when it has you in a strangle hold? Here are the top 3 three strategies that my clients use to keep that rush to the cookie jar under control.
Now, I here you – “Of course the exercise guy is going to tell me to run!” but hear me out. Picture a day where before you get to work you have already blasted out 3km on the rowing machine, 3 sets of squats and a million lunges (okay, an exaggeration but it sure did feel like it, right?). The chances of you putting that piece of chocolate in your mouth is going to be a lot less when you’ve got that rush of great endorphins in your body! You won’t need the cookie rush. Exercising in the morning is not only going give you a tonne more energy heading into your day, but it also sets your mind firmly into ‘fitness mode’.
At 3pm your brain is going to go into overdrive with the ultimatum of whether your sugary afternoon snack is really worth undoing all that great work you did this morning. By being active early in your day you can drastically boost your energy, improve your decision-making skills, make you more productive and enhance your ability to lose weight at the same time!
- Be prepared
Staying in shape for work and having a Dietitian for a wife, it’s not going to surprise you that my ‘diet’ is on track a majority of the time. But I fall victim to 3pm fatigue as much as the next person and this is especially dangerous when I forget (or run out of time to pack) my lunch. I challenge anybody to walk into a shopping Centre, acquire 10 almonds and a small tub of yoghurt before the temptation of a doughnut is so overwhelming you sit down and just eat a dozen!
You need to be prepared. Whether you are the type dedicated enough to prepare your whole weeks meals and snacks on a Sunday or just toss it together in the morning before work, preparation is essential. Allocate time in your week, write a menu and make your afternoon snacks healthy, filling and delicious. Avoid the trap of using sugary options to give you an energy kick!
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
Go to bed! I know you have heard this before, but listen. The main reason you are feeling tired at 3pm, is well… because you are tired! Sounds simple but so many of my clients fail to get enough sleep and suffer for it. We all function differently on widely varying amounts of sleep but a good starting point is 7hours+. Get to bed early, rest, recover and charge through your usual afternoon lull. This will not only make you more productive at work but also hugely decrease the chance of you reaching for a sugary treat to save you in the afternoon.
Exercise, prepare your food and sleep. Use these three techniques to help you wipe out those 3pm sugar cravings and accelerate your weight loss results.