3 Surprising Ways Your Diet is Affecting Your Productivity

Your food can either help or hurt you at work – let it help by avoiding these pitfalls. 

Most of us see food as either a distraction, a necessary evil, or a time suck. We have to eat – not we get to eat. But, here’s the thing, what, when, and how you eat affects how much you get done at work.

That’s because your diet impacts more than your weight. It affects your focus, mindset, and energy. All things you know are critical to output and your success. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to up your productivity at work through food and beverage. 

1.     Drink more water at the office

Think about it. Your body is ~60% water. Your brain is ~70% water. So, it only makes sense that you need water to function at your best. Yet so few of us get enough water in our day-to-day. This is a big problem as lack of water literally shrinks your brain, causing headaches, irritability, and reduced cognitive function and motor skills. And, this shrink by the way, starts happening if you go just a few hours without water. So, the fix here is simple – drink more water. If you want to know how much to drink, start with two liters during the 9 to 5 hours and go from there.

 2.     Skip sugar before 3:00pm

If you can cut out sugar for the majority of your day, you’ll see a drastic improvement in your energy. You see, the sugar in your coffee and in that bar you call lunch is actually causing your mid-afternoon crash and your need for more caffeine. This is a complicated topic, but the quick and dirty of it is when you eat sugar, your blood sugar rises and what goes up, must come down. And, as you can imagine, the more sugar you eat, the higher your blood sugar rises and the bigger the drop down (imagine it like a roller coaster ride).  So, the less sugar in your system, the less crashing and the more productive you’ll be. So, if you’re up for the challenge, remove any added sugar and grains – including whole grains – until the afternoon.

3.     Eat your meals slowly – particularly breakfast and lunch

I don’t need you to take 30 minutes to eat your every meal, but I do need you to eat slower. Most of us inhale our meals as we run from one meeting to another. This is problem because, when you inhale our food, your body isn’t given enough time to prep for the contents you’re putting in it. When this happens, it has to catch up – which leads to that bloat and gas you often feel after your meals (which, side note, is not normal after you eat). By slowing down, you’ll eliminate these stomach pains and you’ll eat only what your body needs – which ups your focus, clarity, and output. In an ideal world, you’d take at least ten minutes to eat your food, but, if you don’t have the time, grab some digestive bitters to take pre-meal to prep your gut.

My clients have had massive results by shifting these three things. So, give one – or all three – of them a go if you’re looking to get ahead. And, if you need motivation, check out my latest podcast episode on The Full Plate. I’ve got Peter SerVaas on explaining how he, an Inc. 2015 30 under 30, fit health into his life and the massive results it had for him.

Erica Ballard is a Healthy Living Expert and Coach who helps working professionals increase their productivity and success through food. If you liked what you read, and want more of it, sign up for her newsletter today.