If you find yourself lacking energy in the afternoon at work, it’s not because you haven’t had your energy drink yet! It’s because of the way you are eating and taking care of your body.
A recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine indicated that workers who eat healthy the entire day are 25% more likely to have better job performance. Not sure how they measured this, but I’m sure the range is much greater in many cases.
A healthier, stronger body will give you the confidence and energy needed to bring your “A” game all day, every day. It’s also a good long-term strategy.
Did you know that most cancer cases are linked to diet and lifestyle? Did you know that being overweight increases your chances for developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other mental disorders as you age? Did you know that eating right and exercising more often can improve your sexual functioning? (Next time you are thinking of eating a big fat cheeseburger and French fries for lunch, remind yourself of that last one!)
As a Certified Nutrition Coach in my free time, here are 3 really easy “secrets” for eating your way to better productivity at work:
1. Eat a great breakfast every day. Breakfast is the foundation for how you will feel and what you will eat and be tempted to eat for the rest of the day. Stick to lean proteins (i.e. egg whites, skim milk, soy milk, nonfat or low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese) and good carbohydrates, such as fresh fruit, 100% whole-wheat bread, bran cereals, or oatmeal. You can also just mix up a smoothie or protein shake with skim/soy milk and some fresh fruit or yogurt. Starting your day with the typical breakfast (i.e. donuts, bagels, muffins, pastries, pancakes, or sugary coffee drinks) is analogous to starting a long road-trip by filling up your gas tank with maple syrup!
2. Don’t drink calories. You are what you eat and what you drink. If you drink a glass of orange juice for breakfast, a can of soda for lunch, and a sweetened iced tea in the afternoon, you will consume one pound of sugar each week! Think of the damage that does to your mind and body. Stick to water, skim-milk or 1% milk, and unsweetened tea as much as you can.
3. Eat fresh, not processed. Perhaps the main cause for obesity and lack of energy is over-consumption of processed foods. Your body was not built to eat many of the foods created in the last 50 years. Focus on high-fiber, fresh foods like beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Minimize your consumption of processed foods from boxes or cans.
Fitness expert Denise Austin once said “Nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels.” If you are overweight right now, you have no idea how much more energy you could have by eating better throughout the day (and by exercising at least a few times a week). Just follow these 3 simple steps consistently for one week, and you will be hooked. You could become a brand new person and a much higher performer at work…
Pete Leibman is the Author of the new book titled “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You” (AMACOM, 2012). His career advice has been featured on Fox, CBS, and CNN, and he is a popular Keynote Speaker at career events for college students and young professionals and at conferences for people who work with college students and young professionals.