This week, I fell victim to a trap I set for myself. I know that one of my colleagues has fallen this week, as well. And I’m sure it’s happened to you too. If not this week, then definitely at some point in your recent past.
I was rushing out the door, heading into a full day, when I realized I hadn’t packed lunch. I knew I was tumbling into a day with back-to-back appointments and meetings, but I was in a hurry, so I left my house thinking “It’s okay, I’ll figure something out.”
I’m sure you all can guess what happened. Around 3 p.m., I was ready to admit that I’d made a mistake. My day was booked for another several hours and my hunger cues transformed from polite requests to angry protests. When I finally sat down for dinner, I was famished and cranky—basically, not my best self.
Missing meals can lead to symptoms many of us probably remember experiencing on days that we haven’t adequately nourished ourselves: shakiness, fatigue, difficulties with attention and concentration, shifts in mood, irritability, nervousness, racing heartbeat. Any one of these symptoms makes it more challenging to meet the demands of your day.
March is National Nutrition Month. It is also a good time to review those New Year’s resolutions – especially the ones that featured promoting healthy habits. We are very good at ignoring our basic needs for rest and nutrition at the expense of other demands, but the irony is that we are less productive, kind and satisfied when we sacrifice our body’s basic needs.
As I think back on what I could have done differently the day I neglected to fuel myself, I know planning ahead would have made the biggest difference. Next time I’m facing a busy day, I can set a reminder to pack a lunch the night before. I can also stock my office refrigerator for hectic days. With some problem-solving and small changes, we can come up with an alternative to being undernourished. I would be happy to help you troubleshoot your way into better health. When we take care of our bodies, our minds have a clearer path to wellness. Let’s come up with solutions that work for you!