Nothing says regret like a day filled with bad food and drink choices. “Ha ha,” you say. “That’s funny.” No it’s not! You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
The morning you thought a donut would be a nice treat before a 5-client day. The afternoon you ate 4 slices of fresh watermelon and then did a 90-minute session. The night before when you lost your mind and had just one too many. Just one. Yikes me noodle. Catastrophe.
I have been blessed with great stamina and good strength, but nothing throws me completely for a loop like the wrong food or drink. Hypoglycemic, allergic, with a tendency towards acid reflux and the occasional gastrointestinal distress (well, why not lay all my cards out on the table), I’ve learned a few lessons the hard way when it comes to eating for my work day, which on average is 4 clients spread out over 8 hours, with about 15 minutes to eat (and maybe sit down too).
Water first thing: The time to start drinking water is first thing in the morning. A couple glasses. You can do it. Sip sip! Then your hot bevvie of choice: tea or coffee. Then: sip. Sip. Out the door. In the office: another glass. Siiiiiiiiiiiip. Ahh. (and pour one for your client, they love it)
Solid breakfast: protein please. Two eggs are great, with gluten-free toast (my favorite). I’ll also do steel cut oats in the winter, with walnuts and raisins, or gluten-free cereal with hemp milk and fresh fruit in the summer. If you’re a smoothie drinker, put some yogurt in there, or have a handful of nuts on the side. Doesn’t have to be a lot, in fact it’s probably better if it’s not – but you do need it.
(I’m not a gluten-free eater by nature but I’ve found since my husband started eating that way, and I along with him, I have better energy without wheat flour in my system. Try it for a week and see what I mean.)
Watch the fiber: Remember what I said about the 4 slices of watermelon? One of the few and only times I have had to re-drape a client and leave the room was because 43 minutes into the session that watermelon churned through me faster than a tourist through a Maine lobster roll. ” ‘scuse me, I’ll be riiiiight back,” as I boogied for the bathroom.
In this category as well: salads. Just raw veggies and dressing are great, and they give you an inital burst of energy, but for the long haul (and lots of us need energy not only for our physical labor, but so we can concentrate -! No donut is gonna help with that!) you need protein, and raw foods are carb heavy. C’mon. Just a little cheese, or some garbanzos, or something.
Did I say garbanzos? I meant grilled meat: Let me say something perhaps a little surprising here. I am all for the fresh, raw and sprouty. But again: the work we do requires energy for the long haul, plus food for our brain so we can focus, change direction in the moment, make quick adjustments and communicate with the client annnnnnnnd….well, we’re right up near someone, and if you have “problems” with legumes? Like I have?
And by problems I mean, you know what…the odiferous kind…BEANS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND as a massage therapist. Neither is garlic, onions or any buddies in the allium family. FRESH FRUIT IS ALSO NOT YOUR FRIEND, especially the super-watery/diuretic kind. I am telling you. Such a good idea at the time, and then 43 minutes later, you are filled with a few things, including audible distress.
So honestly, I would rather eat some meat — a little bit of it, mind you, not deli-style reuben — before I go with beans, and I do not eat a whole portion. I eat until I am just full, and then go back to work. As massage therapists we labor, and it’s asking a lot of our dear bodies to be so physical and digest a meal. (Nibble nibble)
Know your body. Know how it digests (or doesn’t digest) the food you’re about to consume, and plan accordingly. If what you just ate makes you:
- sneeze – too much sugar?
- nose run and your sinuses hurt – maybe you just had dairy? I used to eat yogurt and this happened to me all the time. Had to stop. Hard to do. But the plus is I’m not constantly fighting a drippy nose while working, nor does my face hurt anymore.
- incredibly sleepy – too much white flour and/or carbs? No more sandwiches made with wheat bread for you. Protein and veg only please. How about a small piece of meat and a two steamed veggies? That’s just about perfect.
- gassy – gee, could be anything, but most likely your meal is too fiber-y or garlick-y/onion-y
- unable to focus – this is a serious one, because we need to be able to hone in on clients and give them our full attention. Crafting a session, responding to their verbal and non-verbal cues, being open for in-the-moment inspiration can all depend on whether or not we are “there.”
All of us have bad days where concentration is way off, due to a variety of issues, but don’t let something you ate be the cause if you can help it. If you eat and then you can’t think right, make a mental note of whatever it was and try to not eat that again. Even if it’s fresh corn off the cob. Or a tomato salad.Delight in it on a non-work day, and when you’re working, treat your body with the care it deserves. What you put past your lips makes a difference for your practice.
What you just read is not my fault. It’s because my friend, colleague, co-conspirator and pants kicker Rowan Blaisdell talked me into it, and also, because I cannot resist a write-off: 31 Posts in 31 Days August Blog Challenge, Business Blogging School. Caution snuffed, perfectionism cast off like a smelly cloak: this is blog #15.