In America, there is a pill for everything – anxiety, insomnia, depression, fatigue, obesity – and while modern pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and Western medicine have improved the length and quality of life for countless millions of human beings, there is simply no replacement for a consistently healthy diet.
If you’re struggling at work because you’re anxious, tired, depressed, fatigued, or overweight, before you go looking for the right pill, look in your fridge. A healthy diet coupled with even modest exercise is likely the cure for much of what ails you.
Find a way to fit healthy eating into your career – your job performance will thank you for it.
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” ~Walter M. Miller
We all get a body that we’re trapped inside of for use to navigate our reality – what comedian, commentator, philosopher, and martial arts/workout guru Joe Rogan refers to as your “meat vehicle.”
We don’t get to pick ours, but we do get to chose how we take care of it. As with any other vehicle, it does deteriorate with every mile traveled and, also as with any other vehicle, maintenance is key to preventing breakdowns.
“Heights plummeted because of a little disaster called civilization… As late as the 1800s, male Cheyenne Indians, who hunted bison and collected berries, averaged a whopping 5’10″, towering above even today’s Americans, not to mention General Custer’s cavalry, which averaged 5’7.” ~ Arianne Cohen, The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life from on High
Modern people are roughly 700 generations removed from a time when every single human being on the planet was a primitive hunter/gatherer whose short, difficult life consisted of traveling enormous distances, lifting, throwing, jumping, and running toward his potential food or running away to avoid becoming food. The grueling physical exertion that was the whole of their daily lives was fueled by fruits, nuts, vegetables, and animal protein.
Fast-forward a few thousand years, and most of us have jobs that entail sitting on our booties for huge chunks of time and putting mayonnaise on just about everything.
“The second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day, you’re off it.” ~Jackie Gleason
What’s the right way to eat? There are a hundred – a thousand, a million – philosophies on dieting, healthy eating, and nutrition. Most of them are totally re-written every generation or so. Don’t eat carbs, eat only carbs, eat before working out, eat after working out. It goes on and on.
Here’s the thing: If you drink only or mostly water; eat smaller meals five or six times a day consisting of whole grains, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables; and do modest exercise (let’s say three sets of 15 jumping jacks or a brisk walk around the block) a few times a week, you will look and feel dramatically better inside of two months.
Will your work performance improve? Yes. Almost certainly. You’re not going to be perfect, and you will and should occasionally slip up and cheat. Legendary NFL player and coach Mike Ditka said of healthy eating, “It’s not something you have to do 365 days a year, but I think it’s something you have to do 25 days a month.”
Find the Time to Eat Well
For busy entrepreneurs, it is often the ever-present time crunch that prevents us from eating right. One great trick is to pick a day each week to block out a few hours for cooking large amounts of healthy food.
Pick two or three of your favorite meals — don’t be afraid to look at other people’s recipes for inspiration — and make double or even triple the recipe. Break it up into individual serving portions, put each in its own container to go in the freezer. This will alleviate the need for cooking throughout the week, as you can simply heat one of your ready-made portions whenever you need. You’ll guarantee a steady supply of homemade health food and be able to resist the urge to eat quick, easy junk food. You’ll also become a great cook!
You’re a young professional looking for an edge in the world of business that is oh-so-competitive. True, it is competitive – but not nearly as competitive as the world in which your health-nut ancestors struggled to survive. They made it, in part, because their diet kept them strong. They had to eat well in order to survive. Guess what – so do you.