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Why you've been so tired over the holidays

Did you find yourself exhausted during your holidays?

If you answered yes > read on....

Ever wondered why you're so inexplicably tired during what is supposed to be the most relaxing time of the year? Well, the holidays are officially over; but phew they can be exhausting.  Juggling work, ferrying the kids around, sorting play dates, parties and travelling...whew....even thinking about it can be exhausting!

Outside of the physical exhaustion from all the running around; there is a bunch of things that might be happening on the inside *without you even realising it* that might be part of the reason your energy is low.

Your energy levels greatly depend on the bacteria in your gut.

The gut microbiome is the ecosystem of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that live inside our gut.  These bacteria regulate our metabolism and stablise our blood sugars, amongst other important functions.  And one way we can ensure these bacteria thrive happily is by eating a diverse range of fruits and veggies. We know that people regularly eating 30+ different types of plant foods per week had a more diverse microbiome than those eating 10 or fewer different plant foods a week.

On the flip side, certain foods (*we're looking at you, simple carbs and sugars*) can allow unfavourable bacteria to flourish and diminish our gut bacterial diversity. Not to mention, the energy high from the dopamine surge you get from these sugars and simple carbohydrates will only get you so far.  And your body can get used to that 'high' and you start to crave the sugars to keep that energy up; but ultimately it just leaves you cranky and tired. This is where the vicious cycle begins and where the gut microbiome gets thrown off kilter.

microbiome diversity

Caffeine, alcohol, and portion control are also major players in your holiday fatigue.

Now, I adore my morning piccolo latte, but despite some of the known health benefits of caffeine, we certainly don't want to be turning to it to top up our energy levels throughout the day. FYI I let my patients have a maximum of 2 per more!

You may have also noticed the drinks flowed freely over the holidays, but alcohol affects our beneficial bacteria > not to mention how alcohol affects sleep > which affects the bacteria > which affects energy get the picture...

On top of that, you've probably eaten outside the way you normally eat (I'm looking at you, you delicious cheese platter!).  All the additional foods that you have hopefully thoroughly enjoyed, might have upset the microbiome and insulin levels which ultimately lead to you feeling tired.

So, while I hope you enjoyed the holidays and had a good time with family and friends, all of the above may be the reason you've been feeling more tired than normal.

As we propel into 2020, we can start to improve our metabolism and energy by protecting our gut microbiome by focussing on what we put on our plate.

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