“I’m a 35 year old manager who never has time to eat. My only meal is dinner, when I’m famished and exhausted. That’s when I tend to eat just about anything I can grab in the fridge, even before dinner!”
First of all, you’re not alone. Your job duties and stress levels at work are probably high. Your priority, the same as with many other individuals is work ; maybe you combine meetings, respond to emails, return phone calls and/or complete reports during your precious lunch time. I know. I’ve been there and done that.
Let me share with you an interesting research study conducted at the National Institute of Aging. During a two month period, a group of women and men in their 40s, all working individuals ate three meals a day. Then, for another eight-week period, they skipped both breakfast and lunch but consumed the same amount of total calories only in their evening meal.
The meal skippers (those that skipped meals during the day and ate only at night) resulted in potentially risky metabolic changes. These included elevated fasting glucose (sugar) levels and a delayed insulin response, which, in the long run, could lead to diabetes.
What to do?
- Identify eating opportunities: If you can’t have your lunch, then try a healthy snack, such as low-fat string cheese and some fruit or a mini-meal. Ask yourself what best fits your present schedule. Can you have a later or earlier lunch before your important meeting? Can you strive for a larger breakfast and then fit two snacks throughout the day?
It’s best to fuel your body than to starve yourself or keep postponing your meal. Energy levels decrease and your performance diminishes too. Mindful eating, sitting down and savoring a meal is ideal but if that’s not the case, make sure you don’t go without eating for more than five hours. Your glucose or blood sugar usually runs out in a couple of hours so replenishing your body with food is a must.
- Plan your meals ahead of time: On Sunday check your work calendar to decide which days you can bring your lunch to work. Use leftovers from home to pack your brown bag. Be sure to include some veggies and fruit to munch on. Think about healthy portable options such as yogurt, low-fat cheese, a homemade trail mix with dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
So remember, we’ve all been in your shoes. And yes, there have been times I’ve eaten at my desk, in a hurry, reading and responding to emails. Yet, I didn’t feel good about it.
Eating away from your office or cubicle will help clear your mind, make you a more conscious eater, de-stress and allow you to rest and be more productive in the afternoon hours. Once you start getting used to planning your meals, you’ll feel much better!