Diet.com blogger Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author of The Exhaustion Cure, and professional speaker. She is president of The Productivity Pro, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress firms.

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The Exhaustion Cure

by Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro

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If you keep telling yourself you don't have the time to eat properly, you're shooting yourself in the foot, energy-wise. Balanced meals and nutritious foods are absolutely necessary for maintaining high energy.

Your diet needs to include whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables, proteins, and heart-healthy fats in order to give your body the protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals it needs to keep going. That said, a big part of eating right is knowing what to eat, and knowing when to stop.

These tips can help you put together the kind of diet you need to keep going strong.

1. Cut the calories. Eat the proper amount of food and no more. Otherwise, you may find yourself flirting with the consequences of obesity, not least of which is a constantly low energy level.

2. Find your balance. Don't toss out good nutrition in favor of losing weight. Fad diets are never the answer; you'll pay for any weight-loss with lower energy. The best weight-loss plan is the one that's the most nutritious on a consistent basis.

3. Track your eating patterns. Eating randomly throughout the day or evening can prevent you from getting a handle on just how much you're actually consuming, so keep an eye on how and when you eat.

4. Create a customized meal plan. The good news is, you don't have to count calories to customize your meals; to stay on track, you just have to know the proper serving sizes.

5. Cut the portion sizes. Standard portion sizes may seem disappointingly small, but "supersizing it" is a sure way to pile on weight and lose energy.

6. Make better choices. Learn how to tell good foods from bad, and switch out the bad choices for the good ones whenever you can.

7. Plan in advance. If you're unprepared for difficult food situations, you may be seduced into eating more than you should -- or you may give in and eat the wrong things altogether.

8. Stop counter-productive thinking. Brush up on your self-talk. Maybe you still feel guilty about all those starving kids your Mom told you about years ago, but that doesn't mean you have to stuff yourself when you're not hungry.

This is a fantastic time to be on a program for healthier eating, because the food industry is finally responding to the trans-fats issue and is actually using more whole grains in their products. Try these simple changes in your daily choices, and you'll soon discover a big difference in your energy level.

Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier with Maximum Results in Minimum Time. She is the president of The Productivity Pro, a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations. She is the bestselling author of The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).

Click here to buy a copy of The Exhaustion Cure.

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@ 3:45pm ET on May 19, 2008
Thanks Laura! I think sometimes we exchange real food for 'diet' food that has no nutritional value but fewer calories. I am trying to eat real food and manage my calories and portions. I appreciate all the information that I can get - it helps!

@ 12:49am ET on May 22, 2008
Thanks!! I love to eat smaller portions of real food! It makes me feel in control!


@ 6:08pm ET on July 1, 2010
Good advice! I just find it hard to remember my healthy habits when I am in such a rush in between work or going from point A to point B. As for the "diet" foods that is something that fools everyone, but in reality how good is all the "diet" food??

It is easy to stray from the food pyramid that we learned growing up and being tantalized by the 100 calorie snakcs or the light versions...But now i will try to stick with the good old fashioned meat, dairy, veggies and fruits because that seems like the true "diet."

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