One thing your body needs
I feel like I do most things well when it comes to food and nutrition. But I don’t exercise. I knowI need to but I just don’t do it. If I did one thing, what would you suggest? Thanks, Kris.
Hi Kris. Build muscle. The greater your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic rate and the better your energy.
Your body is made up of about 50 trillion cells. The best way to picture this is as 50 trillion tiny, little circles. Inside most of these circles is a mouse on a treadmill, pedalling really fast, generating the energy you then experience. The mouse is the mitochondria, the energy producing unit inside the cells. The more muscle we have, the more mitochondria we will have.
Instead of there being just one mouse (mitochondria) inside one circle (cell), with a greater muscle mass, you may end up with 10 mice inside one cell. Now that packs a mighty energy punch for you to enjoy!
Unless we actively build muscle from the age of 30 onwards we lose it. Embrace resistance training. This doesn’t have to mean going to gym unless that spins your tyres. In a yoga practice, you resist your own body weight. Pilates, too, is excellent resistance training, as is walking, gardening, farm work, carrying groceries and children. Don’t avoid movement. Take the stairs. Build muscle.
My children tell me I overreact to things after I’ve had coffee. I didn’t believe them until one of my friends asked me if I was ok in the later part of a catch-up we’d had where I’d had two coffees. Have you heard of people getting tense after coffee? Thanks, Alexis.
Hi Alexis – the short answer is yes. What you are describing is very common and a sign that you are consuming too much caffeine for your body. I had a client a few years ago who shared the following with me. I have her permission to share it here:
I always liked to start my day with a latte that I make myself. I sometimes then buy a coffee midmorning when I amout and about. If I don’t speak to anyone all day, I feel OK.
I do notice my energy crashes about two hours after the second coffee, but so far as the feelings of being overwhelmed go, they don’t kick in.
But these days, at the age of 41, I only have to get a phone call from my husband, and, if he is panicked about something or seems frustrated with me, I can’t stop shaking on the inside after I hang up. I feel like the smallest task on my to-do list is overwhelming, I get so tense and I make mountains out of molehills for the rest of the day. I Email your questions for Dr Libby to email@example.com. Please note, only a selection of questions can be answered.
can end up in tears or shouting, which I don’t like about myself, even though I felt fine when I woke up.When I came to see you about my periods, you asked me to take a break from coffee for two menstrual cycles.
Not only did my premenstrual tension go away, but those feelings, even when my husband was worked up, did not arise the whole time I was off coffee. I can’t tell you the difference it has made to my day and to my health.
I now have one coffee on the weekend if my husband and I take the children out for breakfast, but it took that break for me to realise that the coffee was like the straw that broke this camel’s back!
Alexis, use the feedback from your body and take a break from caffeine or certainly cut it right back.
Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.
You don’t need to be a bodybuilder, but you must have muscle.