Eating to fuel my body and produce the most energy possible has been the number one reason for my success as an entrepreneur and parent along with mindful eating. If we imagine our bodies as a luxury car, the “fuel” we put into it will determine how well, how clean its engine runs and how long the car will last us. Well, the same goes for our bodies, what we put into it will determine our productivity, mental health and focus. Simply eating to curb our appetite with empty calories can leave us feeling fatigued and unmotivated to create what we envision for life in our business and personal lives. Understanding that a wholefood diet and minimal intake of processed foods is one of the key foundations in the life of an entrepreneur, and it can make your business or break it. A well balanced diet that benefits both our nervous system, endocrine system and our digestive system is a priority for your success. These important systems control both our rapid and slower-longer lasting responses in the body. Also, how well we break down and process the foods that help support these feedback responses will help move us forward with greater confidence and mental, physical and emotional strength. Eating to fuel our bodies for success will benefit our blood sugar levels, which helps prevent irritability, brain fog and a late afternoon crash. These are the most common reasons I see entrepreneurs fail, not because of their vision or clarity, but because of chronic fatigue, “burnout” and understanding the power of optimal health in their lives.
As a leadership mentor, holistic nutritionist and a mother, my nutritional intake to fuel my body has always been the number one priority for myself and my clients. Without proper nutrition it can become very difficult for our bodies to keep up with the demands of everyday life and optimal energy. My focus in eating as an entrepreneur increased after coming very close to chronic fatigue, where my energy output in my personal life was declining as my focus in my personal practice with my clients was increasing. Something had to give and I refused for it to be my health. If we don’t have our health in life, we have nothing. It’s very difficult to run a successful business, be a parent and have energy left over for yourself at the end of the day.
The increase in our stress hormone cortisol can become very demanding on the rest of our body systems; an imbalance of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, dopamine, serotonin and even melatonin (our endocrine system) These crucial hormones need micro and macro nutrients to function as their optimal levels to help us show up mentally, emotionally and physically (our nervous system) as leaders in our community. Running on empty calories is not sustainable, it can seem like a quick and easy way to get a dose of energy but it will eventually check up on us. The effects from the lack of optimal nutrition can show up in our daily mood, how present and aware we are. If we are easily irritated, lack of quality sleep (insomnia) and dips in blood sugar levels leading to sugar cravings and in some women even undesirable weight gain over time.
As a high performance leadership and health coach for women, paying close attention to my gut health and how I approach my nutritional intake to support my gut microbiome and mental health to keep up with my daily needs was crucial. Once I had clarity in my health goals, it helped me stay intentional with how I fueled my body vs not prioritizing my food intake, or skipping meals, reaching for quick high sugar content snacks. My personal motto is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.
So my “why” for personal success was:
To increase a healthy environment for my gut microbiota.
Balance my blood sugar levels to maintain energy throughout the day.
Decrease mental fatigue and increase alertness.
Nutritional intake for hormone function.
Photo by Yan Krukau: https://www.pexels.com/photo/group-of-women-doing-yoga-exercise-8436719/
How to fuel your body for success:
Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast in the morning. A protein-rich breakfast will help you start your day with sufficient amino acids to fuel your hormones, give your cells energy and recovery power and decrease sugar cravings throughout the day. If you workout in the mornings like I do, a protein smoothie is a great way to get quick protein, antioxidants, fibre, and healthy fats for energy. And help to control appetite.
Incorporate antioxidant rich foods. They are great for hormone support and help counteract free radicals, stress and inflammation. Eg Berries are a quick and easy way to get powerful antioxidants. Also found in fruits, nuts and vegetables.
Omega 3 fatty acids for proper function of our nervous system. They are important for the proper function and maintenance of our brain. It also improves mood disorders and cognitive brain function and is anti-inflammatory. Eg cold water fish, flaxseed, chia, hemp seeds, omega 3 good quality supplements.
Probiotics to help with the integrity of the gut and boost the immune system. This is critical for your mental and emotional well-being. Research shows that certain strains of probiotics can help lower levels of stress hormones. Feeding out gut bacteria optimal nutrition may help fight chronic fatigue as well. Eg. kimchi, sauerkraut, organic kefir, miso paste, kombucha.
Vitamin B is an important factor in energy production and synthesis of dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin. Vitamin B helps support our nervous and the endocrine system and I call this the powerhouse to prevent or support recovery from fatigue. Eg. Dark leafy greens, meat/fish, eggs.
Vitamin C is critical for brain function and helps support the nervous and the endocrine system. Eg. Red and green pepper, berries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, winter squash.
A diet sufficient in calcium, magnesium and iron is essential for nerve impulses related to our thoughts, perceptions, memoires, mood fluctuations and energy levels. Eg. supplements of wholefoods. Fish, dark leafy greens, nuts, fruits, veggies and meat.
Hydration is key to maintaining energy levels, mental awareness. Also improves sleep, cognitive behaviour and regulates mood. And supports our vital organs, including flushing out toxins to prevent fatigue.
Eating to fuel for success shouldn’t be a chore. Keeping it simple with easy to prep meals and snack options available at home or at the office is key. What works best for me is looking at my week in advance and meal prepping at least 3-4 meals ahead of time. This allows me to stay connected to my health goals and have a continent of energy for days of increased productivity. Our cognitive health for focus and mental wellbeing is a priority. Focusing on getting a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and good quality protein options will help sustain productivity levels, promote optimal gut health and fight oxidative stress with a high demanding life of a woman in her 40s and 50s. And last but not least, remember rest is the missing link with most female business owners. We can have all our ducks in order but if we do not take rest into account and re-energize, it can take a toll on our creativity and mental well being. Our bodies need to rest and recover inorder to process and use the nutrients from our diet. We have this one body and we owe it to ourselves to take good care of it.