Sunday, August 16, 2015

Transform Your Effectiveness: You Are What You Eat (1/4)

I thought I’d share some tips on improving effectiveness at work. About a year ago, I became frustrated at the lack of a linear relationship between my effort and the quality of my results; I thought it took me too long to get things done. I was convinced there was a faster and smarter way to work, so I set out to find it. I spoke to people, attended trainings, read books and blogs, and kept a daily journal of what worked and what didn't.

What I found was surprising. The little changes that have made a big difference in my work and life effectiveness are simple, so simple that I doubted their efficacy when I ‘discovered’ them! I already knew about most of these tips before commencing the journey to ‘find’ them; I simply did not practice them.

I now share them in the hope that you will find them useful, but first a disclaimer. These worked for me, but are not necessarily universal. I recommend them based on my experience. You may keep those you like, and discard those you don’t.

Here’s the first one.


Eat healthy. You are what you eat.
If this was alright - wouldn't we all wish it was this easy?
I outsourced the preparation of my breakfast to Mr. Biggs when I moved to Lagos. I knew all the servers at Agidingbi by name, and had the supervisor’s phone number for days when I needed to pre-order. I ate a variety of pastries for breakfast every morning, ate every piece of cake that landed on my desk during the day, and often ate a sausage roll on my way home. I piled my plate full at lunch, and ate two or three packs of noodles for dinner – every day.

I quickly became bloated, and even worse – I nearly always felt like sh*t.

My energy levels were a mess. I would have fleeting periods of alertness due to the sugar rush from the quick-digesting simple carbohydrates. These would be followed closely by periods of extreme distraction and drowsiness. On many days, I was effectively used up right after lunch – reducing my quality work-time to four or five hours per day! I sure hope Carole isn't reading this.

An often used allegory describes the human body as a car, and food as its fuel; methinks there is no truer example. Your eating habits influence your mood, energy levels, performance, and overall effectiveness. If you eat the right foods for you, you can stay alert for longer and avoid energy slumps. I cannot thoroughly discuss this subject in this post, but here are my favorite three tips. You’re welcome to expand the discussion via comments.

Always eat breakfast. A healthy breakfast jump-starts your body and gets your metabolism going. Eating breakfast also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, regulating your appetite and energy. Grab some whole-grain cereal, toast and fruit, or good ol’ oatmeal. Whatever works for you is fine, so long as it’s not a soft drink!
Eat regularly and practice portion control. Eating small meals and healthy snacks regularly during the day ensures a relatively steady supply of blood sugar, stabilizing your energy levels through the day. Don’t miss meals except you absolutely don’t have a choice. The drop in blood sugar causes your energy levels to slump, and you may end up eating larger portions later to make up for the miss.

Reduce consumption of sugary drinks. Consuming sugary drinks causes a rise in your blood sugar level, causing an energy spike that doesn't last long because your body metabolizes it quickly. The energy spike is then closely followed by a longer-lasting slump! I submit it is fine to enjoy a soft drink from time to time, so long as it does not substitute for a healthy meal.
How about you just drink more water?

There are many other tips, including drinking water frequently, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and combining carbohydrates and proteins – but I’ll leave it at this. I’d also like to acknowledge Chioma Ede and Opeyemi Awolesi – who helped me in my quest to eat healthier! (And DKB, who didn't!)

Try eating healthy this week if you don't already. I guarantee you'll feel better, more in control, and you'll get more done!

In the next installment (out 5 pm next Sunday), I’ll write about a weekly thirty minutes exercise that is the real game-changer!

See you then!

Use the following links to read more about eating healthy:
1. How to eat healthy (President's Council on Fitness, Sport & Nutrition - US).
2. Eight tips for healthy eating (NHS Choices - UK).


  1. I'm sticking with my coke a day :p

  2. Koye of life, I couldn't agree more. Eating healthy is no small feat, but the rewards are so worth it! Kudos my friend.

  3. I totally agree with you. You are indeed what you eat. Time to start taking breakfasts regularly

  4. I agree bro. My body taught me a big lesson on how I should treat it right just last week and trust me, I'm up for whatever it takes. To eat right is to live right :)

  5. I want to add a fourth one. Take water regularly while working. At first, I didn't believe in all the dehydration talks from our HSE officials but I have experienced over time that taking water refreshes and eases one while working. Good piece of advice from Mogbekelolowa - Eat well, work well, stay healthy., Gracias!

    1. Thanks Segun... I agree it is important to drink water as frequently as possible while working :). I try to drink 2-3 liters every day :).