Nutritionist Kate Taylor provides insight into the importance of fuelling for optimum performance both at work and at home.
With productivity being a buzz word in almost every corporate environment, is our lack of focus on fuel letting us down when it comes to being at our best.
It’s common theme now that many of us work more than we should. Forget how many hours we are contractually obliged to do, that went out the window a long time ago, yet in this age of working longer and actually being less productive what are we doing about fuelling for optimum performance. Add to that the ever increasing number of us suffering with stress and the picture is bleak.
We have the ability to fuel ourselves in two ways, one through physical energy, calories, food and drink. The other through mental ability, strength and determination. Couple the two and you have the makings of a winning team, sport is perhaps the perfect example. However when we look at the workplace, where many have the mental capabilities, they are let down by failing to fuel themselves in line with the day ahead. How many of us think about what’s ahead of us and how our food for that day, week or month, needs to sit within it? How many of us feel we have the time do so?
And yet with the constant demands for more output this should be our number one priority.
How many of us think about what’s ahead of us and how our food for that day, week or month, needs to sit within it?
Education must underpin the above, there is a responsibility of the employer to ensure their teams are being provided with the right information and the right sustenance, but there is an onus on the individual themselves to take the action. After all, we can be provided with all the information available, but it’s up to us what we do with it.
All of what I’ve mentioned above was brought to the forefront of my mind whilst running a recent weekend escape with the premise of getting people to make positive changes and build healthier habits which will support them in achieving their goals.
The consistent theme from all was around stress and how to fit the simplest of things into their already busy schedule. These are things like, walking, thinking about food, controlling boredom and funnily enough putting themselves first. The standout for me was the lack of focus on food intake when it really should be number one on the to do list and this is common for many people.
You feel amazing after a weekend away drinking green juice, attending endless yoga classes and “detoxing” only to realise when you get back to reality that’s not really possible.
Collaborating with founder of The Well Plus Group, Ria Ingleby, we knew there was a need to create something that provided people with the platform to learn new skills that were achievable to use in their daily life. Conquer was born with the principle of building healthier habits in all aspects of life. Too often “retreats” are promoted and run by wellness bloggers and health fashionistas with a very structured plan and unrealistic goals which for most people simply won’t work at home. You feel amazing after a weekend away drinking green juice, attending endless yoga classes and “detoxing” only to realise when you get back to reality that’s not really possible. Those who attended Conquer, situated right in the heart of nature, found themselves setting achievable goals which included everything from walking 10,000 steps a day consistently for the next month to prepping one back up dinner every Sunday for those evenings when you walk in the front door to two kids screaming and three days worth of washing to do.
So as employers we need to give our people the tools to do this. We need to coach them, guide them because they will be so focussed on giving their all to get the job done, the likelihood is they aren’t looking after themselves. Through education workshops, real life hacks and realistic changes that work this can happen. These sessions are now being built into senior leadership programs and I’m pretty confident it won’t be too long until we see full time nutritionists and coaches built into every successful business.
Here’s a few questions worth thinking about:
- How much movement have I done today, or am likely to do?
- Am I hungry?
- Is this what I really want to eat?
- How will I feel after I eat this?
- If we know how we are going to feel from eating something, and its not good, then why are we doing it?
You see it all matters, the less we’ve moved the less energy we need to consume. That doesn’t mean cutting a meal or maybe just having soup for lunch and nothing else for the day. That means spreading out your food intake throughout the day.
Hunger isn’t really used anymore to dictate the need for food, however it should be now more than ever.