Feeling tired after lunch? Do you feel like you’re carrying a spare tyre around your waist? Are you sleepy as you read this? (it’s only 11AM in the morning)
If you have answered YES to any of the questions above, then you are probably loading your gut with sh*t.
I don’t claim to be nutrition expert (I’ll leave that to our associate nutritionist Elle Kelly) but neither do you need to work for a space agency to understand the basic relationship between what you eat and how you feel.
Let me talk about my own personal experiences here:
I love sugary foods; I have a sweet tooth – what can I say. I used to start my day (usually around 7AM) with a sugary cereal or some form of buttery, sugary pastry and a coffee of course. I used to find that after the initial high, post the sugary treat, I would come crashing down at around 10 to 11AM in the morning. Driven by hunger I would start my search for a second sugary treat to fill the gap until lunch.
What I found was that I’d be eating more nutrient poor food and still feel hungry, which would impact my mood and temper throughout the morning.
I started eating porridge in the morning. I must admit at first, I hated the gloopy wallpaper paste texture and earthy taste of the stuff. Soon enough I started to add some fresh fruit, blueberries in this case and a tiny amount of honey (I still have a sweet tooth). To bulk out the breakfast I added a slice of toast usually topped off with either the tiniest suggestion of butter or when I was feeling really flash, mashed avocado and a sliced boiled egg.
This turned out to be a much heartier breakfast and I felt good about eating it because I the recesses of my mind I knew this was also a much healthier breakfast.
I felt much fuller for longer (I could go until lunch time without a snack) and I didn’t get that 10 to 11AM crash. More importantly for me was the impact this switch had on my mood. Because I was now feeling fuller for longer, hunger no longer made me irritable nor did it interfere with my focus or concentration.
I know preparing something healthy to eat in the morning can be a pain in the arse, but the solution is simple – GET UP 10 MINUTES EARLIER!
This is a big one, how many of you feel lethargic after lunch?
You get back to your desk, your inbox is full, your boss is hunting you down for that presentation you were meant to be finishing off by the end of the day. All you want to do is snooze off.
This is completely self-inflicted (in my case anyway). The clock would strike 12, I know because I would be watching it from 11AM onwards. I would coral my colleagues. Big decisions needed to be taken, pizza? burger? rotisserie chicken and sweet potato fries? katsu curry from our favourite Japanese place?
After some quick-fire democracy, the choice would be made, and lunch would be served…bang!
I’d get back to my desk feeling satisfactorily full but now the problem was trying to focus when I all I wanted to do was kick back and sleep – my body devoid of any energy, my entire being trying to digest the food I had just consumed.
I grew tired of being tired especially as my working days got busier and I needed to focus. Being the basic person that I am I thought I would see what happens if I started to change my eating habits at lunch time.
I started off cautiously, by reducing the amount I would eat. This helped a great deal, its amazing how much more energetic you feel when you aren’t being weighed down by food.
Feeling good I decided to start switching around what I was eating. I started to replace salty, greasy items such as fries with salads…it’s true!
Next, I moved onto larger salads with some form of protein (either chicken or fish) on the side.
I was eating a healthy lunch which was both filling and tasty.
To my amazement I started to feel so much more energised post lunch.
My transition was gradual, and I still eat the foods I love but now as more of a treat once or twice a month. Food is a great source of joy therefore it should be enjoyed.
This is the biggest one of them all.
We are all pressed for time, so it isn’t easy to eat clean. To add to this there is so much convenience food readily available so why bother cooking at all!
For those of you who have just entered the world of work for the first time, this is an even bigger challenge. Your working hours will be erratic which will mean that it will be hard to plan meals every evening – some of you will start fuelling yourselves with crap.
The problem isn’t necessarily the lack of good healthy food, it’s one of not having enough time to prepare healthy nutritious meal.
Plan, plan, plan.
Go shopping on a Sunday and prepare your entire weeks’ worth of meals and put them in the refrigerator! Not only will you always have something healthy to eat and quickly, it will also save you money in the long term (you will soon become a stranger at your favourite take-away).
If you are good you can even prepare your lunches, so you don’t end up buying overpriced tasteless sandwiches.
You won’t need to keep your favourite take-away on speed dial any longer. You will have a hot healthy meal ready by the time it takes you to have a shower. Because you are preparing your own meals, you can control what goes into them.
You can control the portion size, so you don’t end up overeating just because that pizza cost you £14.99 and you don’t want to waste it. Your body will thank you for it, trust us!
Added to the health benefits is the fact that you will also save yourself a ton of money so its really a win win… you can’t say fairer than that.
How and what you eat is entirely up to you, all we are saying is that try experimenting with your food switch the fries for a salad and see how you feel afterwards. If you feel better, great! try the next switch and so on.
The sequence of a good breakfast, clean lunch and then healthy dinner will result in you feeling good all day long. You will go to bed looking forward to the next day and then the next and so on. Good habits (eating being one of them) will last a lifetime. Build the best possible life for yourself full of vitality, you owe it to yourself.
Let us leave with you with this final thought, your body is a finally tuned machine that will serve you well if you look after it. There is a very good reason behind why you don’t put diesel in a petrol car…
Sanu Miah, founder, CheekyLittleCareers