It can’t really be that much of a surprise, can it? That your productivity is directly influenced by what you eat? I mean, if you throw the wrong fuel in a car, then of course it is going to have less oomph when you press down on the gas pedal. The same happens in our bodies. You’re going to get out what you put in.
Put in junk and your productivity will drop. Put in the right stuff and you’ll get more hours out of every day, by remaining at peak productivity until long past when the cows come home.
But why is that? That’s what we’re going to explore today.
The release rate
Not all foods release their energy at the same rate. Some food sorts – and here I’m talking about pasta, bread, cereal and soda, give up their energy easily. That means that they give us a real boost for a little while, after which it will quickly drop.
Others like high-fat meats, in the meantime, give up their energy more slowly – which is good – but require a lot of digestion to do so – which is bad, as it means things like oxygen get diverted downwards instead of to the brain, which makes us groggy.
We’ve got a pretty good intuitive idea of this kind of thing, but this doesn’t always mean we make good choices. Often when we go to have our lunch we’re at low energy, as we’ve already used up our reserves from our breakfast. And so, we end up intuitively making choices that are going to give us a quick and easy bursts, like french-fries or mozzarella.
After all, these are often cheaper, get served up faster so that we can go to work more quickly, and – as our self-control is also dependent on our glucose level – are the go-to choice for most of us. They feel like the right choice, even though the advantages are short-lived, while we’ll suffer in terms of productivity for the rest of the day (to not even mention what it will do for our health and life-expectancy).
What to do
The first step is to realize that you can’t just get more information and hope that that will change things. After all, we’re collecting more and more information about global warming all the time, and how much has that changed your behavior?
Instead, what’s going to be far more effective is putting together an action plan.
The first step is to start making decisions before you get hungry. This means choosing what you’re going to eat for lunch in the morning, for example. If you’re ordering food, make sure you’ve had a snack about 10 to 15 minutes before you do so. This will satisfy some of the sugar cravings you’ve got, raise your self-control, and thereby make it far more likely that you’ll end up making the right choice.
In fact, taking regular snacks is a very good idea. Don’t wait until lunch. Instead also install snacks throughout the day. Again, it’s best to choose your snacks before you’re hungry. So, put a few things into your bag for the day.
And don’t punish yourself with snacks that might be healthy but aren’t very appetizing, as they’ll look even less so when you’re looking for a snack. Also be aware that granola bars might have managed to market themselves as healthy, but they’re not.
Instead, aim for nuts, fruit and perhaps a few vegetables like carrots. These will keep you going for much longer and will help you avoid spikes and falls.
Good for the body and mind
Yes, you’re right, it’s ambitious for you to take in fruit and vegetables to the office. That said, it really does make a big difference. If you can manage to eat more of these kinds of things this won’t just make you physically better off, but will also serve to make you mentally better off – in that they don’t just make you focus better, but also make you happier and more engaged, which is just as important.
After all, it’s so much easier to work if we don’t have to push ourselves to do so but instead are simply interested, motivated and engaged. Now if it is true that eating a few pieces of fruits and more vegetables will mean that we don’t have to spend as much time fighting that inner battle, then that would be fantastic, wouldn’t it?
Because when you do that, you can be more productive, keep working longer and make certain that you can do everything that you’re supposed to do, instead of being forced to look at top websites or considering taking on a partner so that you can get others to do the work you can’t.
And that will mean you’ll just have that bit more money to take home at the end of the month!
Putting the right fuels into your body is a matter of understanding that we’re weak when we’re hungry and creating a plan that makes it easier for yourself to make the right choices when you’re there.
A great way to do that is to make certain that we’ve made the choice about what we’re going to eat before we no longer have the self-control to make the right ones. Another way is to make certain that we take in enough foodstuff throughout the day that we don’t actually experience a massive crash and therefore don’t have to worry (quite as much) about making the wrong choices.
If we can take these precautions then it will be far easier to avoid the wrong fuels and make certain that our engine keeps purring along. Now that has to be worth it, don’t you think?
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- How Your Productivity is Determined by What you Eat - October 11, 2016