One of the biggest challenges of having irregular schedules as a contract lawyer is the inability of having regular eating patterns. While this isn’t an issue for some, others do struggle with feeling hungry or light headed during important meetings. After all, not everyone is able to concentrate on an empty stomach. As a result, one may overeat and/or get bloated because they were so hungry, which again doesn’t help concentration and efficiency.
The best way to stay on top is to plan, and here are my top 5 tips:
1. Aim to eat, or have a snack, every 4 to 5 hours. The body needs fuel on a regular basis, and research shows that eating every 4 hours allows your blood sugar levels to remain constant. Depending on what you eat, this may mean never feeling hungry again, but also being able to keep your figure. Eating too much and too often, or too little and only rarely, both encourage weight gain.
2. Planning is the key to success, and this is also true when it comes to nutrition. Suggestion: add meals or snacks reminders to your calendar, including what you’re going to have. This way, you won’t rush on the convenient or unhealthy options at the first opportunity.
3. Have healthy snacks readily available at your desk. Suggestion: what about keeping mixed nuts (only eat a handful), fruits (e.g. apple, or other seasonal fruits), or dark chocolate at your desk? Have something high in protein and/or fat so that it will help you keep going until your next meal. But do stay away from sugary sweets: not only will they trigger more hunger, and sugar cravings, but you will also put on weight.
4. Try to never have the same food more than twice every week. A recent study showed that most people have the same meals every day, for years. While this may be convenient, it is not the healthy option. Our body needs a variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fats and proteins. Giving it the same mix every day will create deficiencies in the long term. Suggestion: get your food from a different place each day of the week, and try something different every time.
5. Create meals that work for you. Ideally, you should have vegetables, starches, proteins and fats at each meal. That’s the winning plate for most people. Listen to your body and don’t hesitate to ditch what is not right for you: if you have an energy slump after lunch, there is something you eat that you shouldn’t.
Creating this new routine may take an extra 15-30 minutes of your time every day at first, but after a while, you will know what works for you. You will feel different, you will feel better. That’s when you know you have successfully planned your meals around your schedule.
‘Severine Menem is a Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach that specializes in gastrointestinal health and weight management. For further information please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org’.