7 Food Habits That Can Make You More Successful
Most Americans working and living near large cities while chasing the American Dream suffer a daily grind of rush-hour traffic, packed schedules of work and personal life demands. The hustle and bustle many value make it so that getting more work done is seen as more productive and effective than eating or exercising, even though there is overwhelming research showing how important food and exercise is to cognitive function (which allows us to focus better and process information quicker).
In fact, about 30 million Americans report skipping breakfast because they aren’t hungry or are too busy, with 53% of the population skipping breakfast at least once per week.
But what happens when we skip breakfast? Research shows we eat more later and over time, are more likely to develop diabetes (about 4.5x more likely)!
Although food is no longer scarce, our bodies have not yet adapted to our current environment. Therefore, when we skip meals or go extended periods of time without eating, our bodies start to push for more calories to survive on in anticipation of being without food again. Our body does not know the difference between someone consciously choosing to not eat versus not having food available to eat.
For our survival, the body protects itself by preparing for famine. This is because not very long ago humans who were unable to survive famine died. Our ancestors who survived had to over-eat, when they had access to food, to survive the periods of time without food. Those of us alive today came from these ancestors who adapted these ways to survive their environments. These reasons may be why no diet has been proven to work long-term.
In terms of breakfast however, certain breakfast choices may also be just as bad as not eating at all. According to David Ludwig, an obesity researcher, nutrition professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, and author of the book Always Hungry?
“If breakfast is based on highly processed carbohydrates [such as sugary cereals or sweet rolls], it may be as bad, or worse than, skipping breakfast. The high insulin programs the body for fat storage, making it hard to cut back calories.
This means starting our day with these foods will likely lead us to feel hungrier later in the day. However, this does not mean we should completely eliminate these foods from our diet. Depriving ourselves completely from one type of food will make us more likely to binge on it later on. The goal should always be to eat everything in moderation, aiming for healthier foods more often but allowing ourselves to eat other foods when we want to.
Another reason to be concerned with food choices? Food affects our mental and emotional well-being such that certain foods are linked to depression and anxiety. Therefore a poor nutritional diet can make us more ineffective at our jobs and more likely to need increased time off work.
What else happens when we go extended periods of time without eating? We lose our hunger and satiety cues (regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain) and are more likely to eat when we are starving and more likely to stop when we are uncomfortably full.
So how can you use food to improve your
chances of achieving wealth and success?
Here are 7 Ways!
1. Plan your food for the day. If your meals and snacks are not easily accessible, you are much more likely to skip eating. Take some time the night before work to pack a lunch and some healthy snacks. (If you need some options check out Mind Over Munch or The Domestic Geek
2. Start the day with hot lemon water. This helps jump-start digestion, making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients for the food you eat in the day, boosts your immune system and prevents infection, decreases bloating and constipation, and improves the appearance of your skin.
3. Eat a protein-based breakfast to slow down digestion. Highly successful people eat things like oatmeal, protein smoothies, fruit, eggs, yogurt, and granola.
4. Eat more foods that increase brainpower such as: fish, chicken, blueberries, tomatoes, eggs, pumpkin seeds, nuts, whole grains, brown rice, and broccoli.
5. Eat regularly. Ideally you should be eating 3 meals and 2/3 snacks per day, every 2-3 hours. This will allow you to eat when you are at a 3 on the hunger scale and stop at a 7 on the satiety scale.
If your body is no longer giving you hunger and satiety cues, set alarms on your phone to remind you to eat a meal or a snack. If you rely on yourself to remember you are much more likely to forget as you go about your busy day! Eat when your alarm tells you even if you aren’t hungry so that your cues start to build, this should take about 2 weeks.
6. Practice eating mindfully. Mindful eating allows you to slow down and enjoy the food you are eating so you are less likely to overeat (since it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to the brain that it is full.) To practice mindful eating, make sure you are not distracted from things such as your phone or a television. Sit down at a table and observe the food through your senses (how it looks, smells, and tastes).
7. Practice intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is listening to your body’s signals and providing it what it needs. This means listening to hunger and satiety cues as well as natural cravings. The philosophy of intuitive eating believes that cravings are our bodies way of communicating the nutrients that it needs. For example, hormonal fluctuations women experience during menstruation may lead them to crave sugar.
(For more information, click on the intuitive eating link.)