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What’s Zapping Your Energy?

11 surprising things may be draining your energy without you even knowing it.

8. Not Enough Food

Cutting back on calories helps you lose weight, but not eating enough can leave you feeling drained, say Alex Lluch and Sarah Jang, authors of Simple Principles to Eat Smart & Lose Weight.

If you maintain a diet that severely restricts calories for long periods of time, your body will have the tendency to go into "starvation mode," they say. Your metabolism will slow down and your energy level will be low. During times of severe calorie restriction the body tends to store calories as fat and burn muscle as a way to conserve energy. Figure out your recommended caloric intake based on your age, weight, level of activity, and the rate at which you want to lose weight.

Waiting too long between meals can also sap your energy, they add. Increase your metabolism by eating enough calories at regular intervals during the day. Try to have something small to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Avoid large gaps of time without food where your hunger completely takes over. If you skip meals, your body starts conserving energy because it lacks nutrients.

9. Stress

Conflict and stress can quickly deplete your energy resources, say Lluch and Helen Eckmann, EdD, authors of Simple Principles to Feel Better & Live Longer. To deal with stress, they advise, communicate, compromise, and problem-solve. Cope with anxiety and stress by meditating, taking a walk, or breathing deeply and slowly. Keep a journal or diary by your bedside and write down the top issues that are stressing you out that day, says Rose Forbes, co-author of 101 Great Waysto Improve Your Health. "By putting your thoughts on paper, you're giving your brain the approval to let them go for the night."

10. Lack of Self-Esteem

Spending all your time pleasing others and trying to fit in can be a big energy zapper, says confidence coach Kathleen Hassan, co-author of Square Peg in a Round Hole. "It takes so much energy to wear a mask to the world ... so that others will like you," she says. "It is exhausting and leaves you feeling utterly powerless."

Hassan offers these tips for building self-confidence: 

  • Get to know yourself. Who are you? What makes you unique and different from anyone else?
  • Don't get caught in the comparison trap. Stop comparing your insides to someone else's outsides. Instead, shift your focus and attention within and learn to become more congruent by having your insides match your outsides. Check in with yourself several times during the day and notice how you're feeling.
  • Affirm your own self-worth. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Affirmations are statements made in the present tense as if they've already been achieved, such as: I am worthy and deserving. I make a difference.
  • Rid yourself of jealousy. Stop focusing on what you don't have, and start appreciating the gifts in your life. Jealousy is one of the most negative energies and attracts more scarcity and lack. Gratitude, along with joy and love, is the most powerful energy.
  • Learn to love and accept yourself -- just the way you are. Know that you're worthy and deserving of only the best. We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves, and unconditional love has to begin with you.

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