Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Are You Spent?
Are you feeling spent? I'm not talking overspent from the holidays, but spent in terms of your energy level, your passion for life, your sex drive (did you forget you had one?). In a recent issue of More Magazine, Dr. Frank Lipman, a NY-based specialist in integrative medicine, penned an article describing the unexpected reasons women feel run down. And it's not just our imagination. It's modern exhaustion taken to new heights.
After working with many women over 40, Dr. Lipman has identified common complaints - brain fog, bloating, allergies, aches and pains, sleepless nights, decreased sex-drive and mild depression. Does this sound familiar? You may have Spent Syndrome, a condition that has become accepted as "normal" in many women, yet is something that we can snap out of without the aid of prescription drugs, fad diets or expensive treatments.
Dr. Lipman is the author of Spent: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again. His philosophy is that feeling spent is simply the result of an imbalance in our lives. Human beings weren't created to be sedentary, get by on no sleep or subsist on a diet of processed foods. Instead, he touts the benefits of eating seasonally, enjoying fresh air and sunlight and getting in touch with our natural body rhythms.
What Dr. Lipman describes really hits home for me. As an early-40's mom, I just chalked up my feeling "blah" to the winter blues, or peri-menaupause. As it turns out, a lot of these feelings can be eradicated by simply changing our diets. I, for one, can attest to this fact and have been able to turn my blues into a peaceful feeling of contentment.
If you've been feeling spent lately, try these tips to help get you back on track:
1/ Give up sugar - I know this is a hard one, but sugar gives you a burst of energy in the short term, but results in a crash in your blood sugar. It can also age you prematurely - reason enough to give up the white stuff. Try agave nectar, which is lower on the glycemic index and more gentle on your body.
2/ Eat Breakfast - Start your day with a healthy smoothie that includes two restorative ingredients - avocados and whey protein powder. I have made this a daily ritual and trust me, it's delicious and makes me wonder why I ever reached for a cup of coffee. Here's my daily concoction - 1/2 avocado, 2 T vanilla whey protein powder, 1/2 c. frozen blueberries, 12 almonds, 1 T. soaked flax seeds, 1 banana and water as needed. Somehow the avocado takes the sweet edge off the protein powder and gives it a smooth creaminess that is simply delicious. Try your own personal recipe and see how you like it. BTW, my two-year old son shares this with me and asks for more at snacktime. I'd love to hear your personal favorite recipes!
3/ Sleep Tight - Get plenty of rest and sleep in a dark room. Turn off (or cover) all light sources (TV's, clocks, your PDA or computer monitor, etc) to create the most restful atmosphere.
4/ Eat a Healthy Lunch - Make this your biggest meal of the day and include some protein. Make dinner small and full of high-fiber carbs like veggies and whole-grains.
I'd love to hear your feedback on Spent Syndrome and your own personal experiences. Please feel free to share them here.
Read more about Spent Syndrome and Dr. Frank Lipman.