Back to basics

Words by Kylie Spencer senior careers manager at NABS

It’s been a day of back to back meetings, I know I should be paying attention to what is being said but I can’t shake off the feeling tired and fuzzy-headed. Cue grumbling stomach. I look down at my watch, is that the time already? It’s 3pm and I’ve missed the lunch run!

What and when you eat can have a profound effect on your energy levels explains Jo Travers, dietician and this week’s NABS (the advertising industry support body) wellbeing expert. If all-day energy currently eludes you, your eating habits and food choices may need a shakeup.

Over the years, I’ve tried cutting out carbs, sugar and alcohol, introducing super foods, consuming foods that are either high or low on the Glycemic Index , not eating after 7pm and my share of fad diets; intermittent fasting, juicing, protein only – you name it, I have tried it!

It’s time to rip up the rule book and go back to basics.

No foods are forbidden explains Jo, but what is important is to include as many varied food groups into your daily meal plan as possible: carbohydrates, protein, fat, fruit, vegetables and calcium. It’s about getting a balanced diet.

Diet can often suffer when we are troubled and under stress; due to the increased level of cortisol the “stress hormone” which stimulates feelings of hunger and food cravings; my downfall is takeaway pizza. Eating these “comfort” foods however not only leaves you feeling sluggish and tired but actually increases your stress levels. It becomes a vicious cycle!

It’s a known fact that well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress.

It’s not rocket science but eating regularly throughout the day helps to control and maintain a steady blood glucose (sugar) level and overall energy. Thus avoiding the 3pm slump, crabbiness and chocolate run to the nearest news agent for a sugar hit and pick me up!

That said, Jo points out that chocolate is not the enemy – phew – and like most things in life it’s about moderation.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when the day simply runs away with me – I feel totally uninspired and disorganised and popping into my local grocery store after a late night at the office is just a hassle. That said, there really is no excuse for my laziness, as Jo notes we live in the age of convenience. You can now order your weekly shop right from the comfort of your living room.

Planning your meals removes a lot of the guess work. And if it happens to include a few ready meals, I’m pleased to hear it’s not the end of the world.

So the next time you are dashing between meetings, reach for a piece of fruit or a hand full of nuts to tide you over and keep you firing on all cylinders.

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