Focus, concentration and a cluttered mind affect our productivity.
Your weight loss diet could be to blame.
Dieting creates a focus on external rules to control your food intake, your activity or your body size. You were not born with a set of societal rules telling you how to eat, or what body shape to desire. These external rules come from your culture.
The problem is these cultural ideations clash with your body's natural shape while external rules contradict your body’s internal eating cues. You are born with innate messages that guide you to eat and move in a way that is healthiest for your body. External rules from your culture can create confusion and distrust with your body’s natural shape and eating behaviours, essentially leading you into a war with your body.
Dieting can create a conflict between your external rules and internal messages
Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to survive food shortages through mechanisms that drive our desire to seek and eat food. In times of food shortage, we are drawn towards food to keep us alive. Rarely will your mind win this war, and if it is managing to hold the power for any length of time, it will feel like a constant ongoing fight.
How does dieting impact productivity?
Restricting your food forces your body to simply survive, rather than providing the nutrients and satisfaction it deserves to thrive. Let's consider some of the side effects of dieting that impact on your productivity.
Skipping meals or simply not eating enough at a meal leads to a lack of energy for your brain. Your food and some drinks provide energy in the form of calories (this is a good thing). Trying to eat low calorie or restrict how much you eat, means less energy for your brain to function. You won’t think as clearly and are less able to achieve complex tasks.
Just as your brain needs energy to function, your body needs energy too. There’s so many life dependent processes for your body to carry out, such as keeping your heart beating, these take priority. So if you are short on energy you will likely feel it in your daily tasks. You may feel sluggish, tired and lazy. You are less likely to want to be active outside of work which in turn affects your mental capacity at work.
Constant food thoughts
If you are trying to restrict certain foods from your diet, you will likely think about them all the time (and end up eating more of them). Likewise, if you are eating less calories than your body needs, your biological drive to eat is increased. This means that your desire toward food increases and food thoughts can become consuming, leaving you unable to properly focus on other aspects of your day.
Being in a war with your body is stressful. The constant battle against your body’s strong biological drive to eat invokes chronic stress. When you are chronically stressed, you are less productive and more likely to pick up viruses, causing you to take days off work.
Eating in a way you feel you *should* eat rather than finding true satisfaction in your meals causes ongoing thoughts of food, even in the absence of hunger. Finding foods that satisfy your hunger means less ongoing food thoughts. However, satisfaction is also affected by many other factors such as your environment while eating and how the food makes you feel after.
Having an insufficient amount of calories for brain function, constant thoughts of food and experiencing stress related to your eating behaviours affects your ability to concentrate to your full potential.
Does this sound familiar?
Do you feel your diet could be impacting on your productivity at work? It may be time to give up the battle with your body caused by dieting and find peace, freedom and enjoyment in eating; all while improving your physical and psychological health.
Moving away from the external rules of dieting can take time, especially when you have been using external rules of dieting for many years but it will offer you a lifetime of rewards.
Written by Emma Townsin, Registered Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor
Emma is the founder of Food Life Freedom and the host of the Food & Life Freedom Podcast. For personalised support to stop stressing over health and heal your relationship with food and your body, learn how you can fast track your way food and life freedom.