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How to Keep Up Energy When Dieting

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
How to Keep Up Energy When Dieting
Eat enough so you can exercise to support weight loss. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

If dieting is leaving you without energy for workouts or daily tasks, it is time to re-examine your plan. Setting unrealistic calorie goals or feeding yourself the wrong kinds of food can lead to irritability and significant drops in energy. Consider making some tweaks to your diet plan to invigorate your body and make your plan more manageable.

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Step 1

Eat at least 1,200 calories per day if you are a woman and 1,500 calories per day if you are a man. Eat fewer calories, and you might experience dips in your energy as your body slows down -- and hangs onto fat for self preservation. If you are trying to lose weight quickly, slow down your expectations and aim to lose just 1 to 2 lbs. a week.

Step 2

Make the calories you do eat come from quality, nutritious foods. Do not waste your calories on small portions of junk food and sugary treats. Aim to include at least the minimum portions from each of the food groups put forth in the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. Go for a minimum of six servings of grains, with half coming from whole grains; 5.5 oz. of lean proteins; 3 cups of dairy; 2 cups of vegetables; 1 ½ cups of fruit; and 5 tsp. of oils. Limiting any one of these food groups can lead to dips in your energy and nutritional deficiencies.

Step 3

Eat a breakfast that combines lean proteins and healthy carbs to kick-start your energy for the day and prevent morning sluggishness. Try oatmeal with skim milk and berries, egg whites scrambled with veggies and low-fat cheese or plain yogurt mixed with shredded wheat and bananas.

Step 4

Curb your caffeine intake. Stop drinking caffeine in the mid-afternoon, as it might be preventing you from experiencing a good night's sleep – leaving you groggy the next day. Caffeine can remain in your body for 8 to 15 hours. Allow yourself an energizing snack midday, such as a handful of almonds, a fruit smoothie or one-half of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, instead of a diet soda or cup of coffee.

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