Improve your diet, improve your life

Feeling good is a big part of executing well and performing at a high level. One of the things that I’ve found that’s really helped me over the last year is having a much cleaner diet. I know that this is fairly outside the realm of topics that I usually cover but I believe it to be very important. As I’ve adjusted my diet I’ve seen several benefits:

  • lost weight
  • accomplished several personal goals that I’ve had
  • felt a lot better overall in mind and body
  • It’s helped me to execute on a day to day basis to perform a little bit better

The diet that I’ve been following is called the “Paleo diet” which if you want to read more about it, Mark Sisson has a book called “The Paleo Blueprint,” and a simple web search will turn up thousands upon thousands of resources that are out there. Essentially, you can eat meat, vegetables, and fruit, but it keeps you off a lot of the processed foods, baked items, grains, and things like that. Even so, there are some weird rules in there like you can eat macadamia nuts to your heart’s content but no peanuts because peanuts are a legume.

Now I don’t intend to debate with anyone the specifics of the diet and to be quite honest, I’m focused more on the how to parts rather than the why. I’ve heard people debate the why of this food or that food but all I know is I’ve followed it and had great results. For a long period of time I had followed a pretty strict exercise regime and I think I’ve covered it here and there in my blog. That is just part of keeping an overall level of fitness up to help you sustain through times of stress and sprints at work where you really have to go hard. Being in good physical condition helps you make it through those times. I had never really put a lot of focus on the diet aspect of that and consequently, I think I was in pretty good physical shape but I was nowhere near as healthy as I could be. I wasn’t eating very well or at least the diet I was eating wasn’t producing a body that was able to sustain through tough times. I never really knew that because I assumed that I was doing everything I could do. It’s not that I was eating poorly before and I suddenly went from eating a diet of eclairs and sodas to this strict diet. I felt that I was eating pretty clean before but for whatever reason, this diet just works for me and I’ve actually dropped about 50 pounds. I’m actually a little lighter than I was the last year that I played college athletics and I feel absolutely fantastic.

I think that has contributed a lot to better performance. I feel better on a day to day basis, my moods are more stable, and I don’t get hungry as often. For example, one thing that I do almost every day is a pretty big breakfast and if I end up working through lunch, a lot of times I don’t notice it because I feel full. I’m getting a lot of the energy I need from that breakfast and I really do feel great. It took me about 6 weeks on the diet before I started feeling that way. For the first 6 weeks I was hungry constantly. I had some real anxiety around the foods I was eating. I missed things. I really missed sugars. I struggled a lot with not having cream and sugar in my coffee. Now, I’ve come to a point where my taste has adjusted a little bit. I can really notice sugar in things. Now, if I’m out at a restaurant or if somebody serves something, even if it’s maple sausage, I really notice the sugar in it. My tastes have slowly turned over to where I like a little bit simpler foods and that’s the goal. That’s what makes this diet sustainable. Anyway I’m curious what other people think about how their own diet affects their overall ability to perform on the job. For me at least, this has been something that has really improved the quality of my life and I certainly encourage anybody and everybody to give this a shot.

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