Insights from the author
Recently, I was coaching a client, and she shared a story that rang true for many of our clients. She said, “I feel like I have no energy, and my brain is foggy. I know that my food choices are a huge part of the problem, but to be honest, I am so overwhelmed and exhausted that I don’t even care. I don’t have the energy to change my diet.” Does this sound familiar?
She looked at me with surprised skepticism as I told her to just focus on one meal and not worry about all the other food choices. While she agreed that it was much more possible and realistic to change one meal, she was hesitant and curious if it would be enough to make an impact. The truth is that sometimes starting slow and building momentum is exactly the right approach, especially if you feel overwhelmed and fatigued. Let me explain how and why that is.
One small step can get you on the right path
We adjusted what she would eat for breakfast to ensure she got the proper amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats so she'd be fueled and energized for her morning. She also decided on two easy breakfast options she could alternate day to day. These recipes were simple to prepare and helped remove decision-making and time spent pondering what to eat each morning, which freed up some cognitive energy for other things. After a few days, she began to feel more sustained and consistent energy and better cognitive focus throughout the morning and early afternoon. This gave her a sense of achievement and affirmed that she was doing something right with nutrition.
While small steps can appear “small,” they always give you a sense of achievement. Combined with the self-talk of “you’re on the right path,” this triggers the release of dopamine, the neuromodulator related to motivation, pursuit, drive, and focus. Dopamine helps to buffer adrenaline – meaning it helps to build your resilience to stress while motivating you.
When you are overwhelmed with fatigue and surrounded by uncertainty, focusing on what’s in your control, however “small” it may appear, is a powerful and impactful tool. Those small actions can typically be done quickly, and you regain a sense of control, reset your brain and physiology, and set yourself up for success.
Build momentum with these quick, easy actions
To help you start small, try one of the following strategies:
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.