Improving your energy and stopping the afternoon sluggishness from hell often means:

1. Calculate your calories for a week or two to make sure you’re eating enough. You’d be surprised how many women don’t eat way under their daily calorie requirements. No need to be super pedantic about this though. Just aim thereabouts to give you an idea of how much you need.

2. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. If all your meals are all over the place, focus on improving one meal at a time. Often the best place to start is your breakfast. Probably add a morning or an afternoon snack. Or both.

3. Aim for around 20-40 grams of protein and a hefty serving of vegetables per meal. Other than that, include fats and carbohydrates however you see fit to ensure you eat enough calories. And fruit, too, because it’s good for you and helps you poo.

4. Try to eat at least half of your daily calories in the first half of the day. Blood sugar fluctuations, energy zaps and mind-numbing cravings are often signs of hunger carried over from the start of the day.

5. “Indulgent” foods can and probably should be a part of your diet. Having your main meals in order gives you a lot of flexibility to eat the things you love to eat without affecting your energy.

6. Improve your sleep, stress management and recovery. This should probably be number one, but let’s agree that these are not in order of importance.

7. Exercise. Not because it burns calories. But because it helps sharpen your hunger cues and boosts your mood and energy.

And because you might be wondering… Does this mean you must eat three meals and two snacks daily for the rest of your life?

Absolutely not.

But doing so for a while builds the foundation to experiment with different ways of eating that might suit you better.

Yes, there are all kinds of other hacks you can do to improve your energy (spending time in the sun first thing in the morning etc.). But those are just bandaids unless the basics are in place.