Diet, Energy and Lifestyle
“A year ago I started eating really healthy for a month. It felt great, I was full of energy. But I couldn't stay in my cubicle. I kept getting up to go somewhere, anywhere else, sneaking outside for fresh air and sun. Work suffered.
When I'm unemployed I eat well, get daily exercise, adequate rest, and I'm generally healthy and feeling fine. When I work, I don't. It's not that I don't have the time or the energy at the end of the day, because I totally could keep up with the healthy stuff. It's that I need to feel like shit in order to work.”
For example, when I was going through my 30-day raw food diet trial earlier this year, I had a lot more energy — physical, mental, and emotional. This wasn’t a surprise to me because I’d experienced similar energy boosts during other raw food trials over the past several years.
At first it felt great to enjoy that extra energy — especially the feeling of euphoria — but after a while it began to feel uncomfortable. I was trying to contain all this extra energy, but I wasn’t used to it. I felt like an overcharged battery. […]
Eventually I asked myself, “Why are you intentionally lowering your energy? What is it about that higher state of being that makes it so hard for you to contain it?”
I soon realized what the problem was. That extra energy had nowhere to go. [….] It was like sticking a 12-volt battery into a 1.5-volt device.
There's two different things here, but both reflect aspects of my experiments with dietary changes over time. As my job gets healthier (emotionally, intellectually, and to a certain extent physically) I find myself able to eat more healthily. But there's still a limit.
Every few months I'll go on a fresh fruit bender for a few days, eating heaps of fresh fruit — usually in the form of large quantities of fruit salad for breakfast and lunch. But I experience something like both Steve and Ran's reader described; the food is really good, I feel really good, healthy, and energised, but I can't keep it up. I last a couple of days, but then I just can't do it anymore. Not because I'm sick of fruit; if I make myself, I still really enjoy it. There's just some sort of drag, or intertia, and eventually I go back to eating as I was.
While these short-term changes never stick, however, I've managed to make dietary changes that have stuck. It's interesting to reflect on how my lifestyle (and my work-life) paralleled the way I was eating at any given time. There seems to be a chicken-and-egg problem; maybe you need to adjust both lifestyle and diet together for changes to stick?