Success is right under our noses; in fact, it’s in our mouths.
It is widely believed that our mindsets are major factors to our success, whether it is in a leadership role, in sales, on teams, or at home. When we are happy, empowered, and balanced, people want to be around us. They work harder for us. They buy more from us. And that equates to more money in our pockets.
Yet, stress is at an all-time high. Antidepressant usage is off the charts. Sleep disorders are common occurrences. Health care costs are skyrocketing. People are unfocused, distracted, and overwhelmed. How can we start turning the tide in the other direction so we can cultivate the success we so richly deserve?
We all know this: The better our food choices, the better our moods. Conversely, the junkier our food choices are, the more likely we are to fall into a more negative attitude. (Anybody ever get cranky after overeating at Thanksgiving or feel terrible after a night of inhaling nachos and beer?)
When we make choices that are in alignment with what our bodies need versus what our stressed-out emotions want, we are able to focus more, listen better, and work harder. The better we eat, the better we feel. The better we feel, the more quality work we get done. The more quality work we get done, the more bucks in the bank.
Scientific research is now catching up with what we all intuitively knew: Food Dictates Mood. Check out this article, “World’s First Clinical Trial Finds Diet Works for Depression” from Psychology Today. This new study shows the proven psychological impact of changing one’s diet to a more whole-food based approach. Personally I have found that the simple (but not always easy) choice to remove dairy, simple carbs, and processed sugar from my diet has dramatically improved my disposition and helped me to look and feel better than I ever have in my life.
Of course, the devil is in the execution. We all KNOW we should eat healthier; we just...don’t. Here are some tips I use to make (nearly) every mouthful a mindful one:
Reorient yourself to food as fuel. Instead of seeing the act of eating as one of life’s great rewards, see it instead as going to the gas pump. Fill up your vehicle with the best possible fuel, and stay away from the candy aisle.
Buy only the good stuff. The easiest way to follow a healthy diet is not to buy groceries that are unhealthy (Duh!) If you’ve got a sweet tooth, don’t buy Double Stuf Oreos. If you love salty snacks, don’t buy Flamin' Hot Cheetos. If the only things in your refrigerator and pantry are healthy whole foods, you’ll eventually figure out how to make meals that benefit your body and mind. Don’t rely on willpower when it comes to your culinary Achilles heel. You are setting yourself up for failure every single time.
Plan every meal. Before you get out of bed, know what you’ll be eating throughout the day. Imagine the protein-rich meals you’ll be enjoying and when. Identify what fruits and vegetables will accompany them. Pre-select your snacks (Don’t skip the snacks! They are critical to having a healthy eating lifestyle.)
Have emergency provisions. Have a Ziploc bag of almonds and dried fruit with you AT ALL TIMES. Seriously. If you don’t like fruit and nuts, come up with something else that works for you. Keep your emergency food in your briefcase, car, office desk drawer, or purse. You never want to be caught hangry without a healthy option. We all know how that ends. (Taco Bell, anyone?)
Create non-food stress-busting rituals. Identify other options for you to manage your stress that doesn’t involve a trip to Dunkin’ Donuts. Listen to your favorite music with your headphones. Take a long hot shower or luxurious bath at night. Go outside and breathe in some nice, clean air. Call your best friend or make an appointment with your therapist. Your stress reduction strategies do NOT have to involve food. You get to decide.
Cheat consciously. When you do want the delectable desserts, naughty carbs, or chunks of cheese, by all means, do it! Just do it when it counts. Splurge during a special occasion or vacation. If you want a cheat day every week, go for it (as long as it really is ONLY THAT DAY.) It’s good to have a balanced approach, and you should give yourself full permission to ease up on the food-as-fuel methodology every once in a while.
Invest in your success by elevating the importance of quality food in your life. You’ll waistline will thank you, your team members and customers will thank you, and your pocketbook will thank you.
Theresa Rose is a business motivational speaker, award-winning author and expert on mindful productivity who helps organizations and their teams find more time, get more done, earn more money and have more fun. For more information, visit TheresaRose.com.