Ditch the Decisions to Level Up
We get used to this idea that we need to have a different thing for lunch and dinner every day. Most people are ok with having the same thing for breakfast, because it sets them up for a routine. Why don't we feel this way about lunch and dinner? I know you’re already thinking that eating the same thing sounds boring, but there are more health benefits than you may think with eating this way (as long as they are healthy, obviously).
To help explain this better, consider it this way. Odds are, at some time in your life, you have played or seen a video game that has a health bar or number of lives. In the game when you run out of lives or the bar is empty, you die and its game over. When you win, you level up and get more lives. As humans, we have these life bars. Not as noticeable of course, but the same idea applies to us. Only that instead of a life bar, it's our energy bar. Eat nutrient rich foods, get more lives (energy), but eat crappy food, lose lives (energy). Workout, lose energy. Replenish, gain energy. Get the Idea? It’s a constant cycle of give and take. We need to wake up every day with a full bar (if you don't, contact me to level up 😉). I can personally tell you that it's amazing when you have a full health bar and can level up in the real world. Having consistent energy throughout day and then some is possible, and yes, it feels like winning the game every day.
Coming back now to my original point, what we don't always realize is that making decisions and using our brain contributes to a big loss of energy. Even within the first hour of waking up, most people have to numerous decisions. Deciding how to dress, how to style your hair, how to get to work, all energy lost. Which is why most people eat the same thing for breakfast as part of their morning routine, one less decision. And it’s no different later in the day. Deciding what to eat for lunch and dinner, big energy loss. With so many options odds are you think about it for a good portion of your day. If you can eliminate this loss of focus and energy from your day, why wouldn't you? Think of what you could achieve! Using up your energy on these decisions throughout the day, can make it harder to make big decisions at work, and therefore lead to poor judgement.
When I write my posts, I try to keep myself out of them, but I’ll use my eating habits as an example to explain. Every day, until dinner time, I eat the same thing during the week. No decisions to make, no energy loss. And I still get variety, about every month or so the type of veggies change. It changes usually when my body has just had enough of something or it’s not in season anymore. But either way it's the same pattern. I have a set of foods that I know I need to eat within the day (i.e. protein shakes, certain veggies, nuts, protein bars) because I used food as vitamins. So just as most people take vitamins supplements, I know I have to get these foods in. For dinner I have about 3 different things I choose from. These change about every two weeks, but I always add variety by using different seasonings, sauces, or flavorings. If you follow me on Instagram (if you don't, you should) you’ll see some of my different combinations. These small changes amount to only a small energy loss. On the weekends, when I have the extra time and energy to burn, is when I cook or try new things. Still all healthy, but seems like a treat because it’s not part of my normal routine. Beyond that I eat out once a week, but I get the same thing, from the same place, on the same night. Again, 0 decisions to make, 0 energy loss (and yes I still get just as excited as I did the first time I ordered it). Grocery shopping is also a breeze and only takes me about 30 mins tops, because I need the same basic things. This set nutrition routine gives me so much extra energy and allows me to accomplish bigger tasks in my day.
If you still think this kind of eating is difficult and boring, you should know, that If you are eating healthy, whole foods that your body loves (not your brain), you’ll actually start to crave those everyday as staple foods. For the last month I have been eating a bowl of carrots, half an apple, and frozen cranberries for lunch with a protein shake. May sound boring, but now I get so excited to eat this bowl of food it's crazy. My body LOVES it, I get energy just thinking about it. There’s no need to feel like you have to have some extravagant, 3-course meal every day for lunch or dinner.
For those of you with families to cook for, I suggest asking and planning their meals with them in advance (some energy up front, but no more decisions to make the rest of the week) and then eating your staple foods to stay healthy and use less of your energy.