How to eat your way to the top

They have been saying for decades that business can be a dog eat dog world.

We all know what they mean. But have you ever thought that what you actually eat might affect your career?

Some recent studies have shown that your work colleagues subconsciously judge you by what they see you eating. And the way you eat. And how often you eat.

Can you get to the top by eating your way there?

Ok so, going into the office with garlic breath probably isn’t going to help (unless maybe you were doing pasta with the boss).

What to do and what not to do.

Don’t ever eat sandwiches at your desk. Especially cheese sandwiches. And especially not cheese and pickle sandwiches. No great thinkers and entrepreneurs ever ate sandwiches at their desks. You can google and check.

What you can do is have a full healthy breakfast. By a full breakfast, we don’t mean it has to be fruit or muesli or yogurt, there’s nothing wrong with some eggs, bacon, and toast every now and again.  And, later in the day, while everyone else is hungry and rushing off for a lunchtime sandwich (cheese or not), you are busy on the next project. And when they are MIA you are right there, willing and able.

Food is what gives you the power to get through the day. The more nutritious the food, the better your brain is going to work, and the more energy you will have. Get to the top by starting with making your own food. Cook it the night before and make it tasty. Research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that people who cook at home “consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight.”.

Getting to the top means being at the top of your game. And the food you eat puts you at the top of the game.

Don’t eat that salad

Yes, it sounds weird but ditch the salad at work. If you like salad — and yes, we know it’s healthy — eat it at home. Colleagues often don’t admire you for eating salad. They resent you as they tuck into their burger. You will get this when you hear someone say, “wow that’s the biggest salad I’ve ever seen”.

Along similar lines don’t be the girl or guy who counts out 6 raisins and eight almonds. You will be hated.

When you are feeling great about yourself and attributing it to good diet choices and a bit of exercise it’s very easy to start dispensing advice. It’s natural. Why wouldn’t you want to share something that has been working for you? But, realistically, it doesn’t always have that effect. People understandably feel disempowered. A good rule is “don’t try to convert”. It won’t help your relationship with work colleagues.

The science of the diet to being top dog

There are many dietary advice articles out there. What works best for you will be between you and the doc. But being lean has been proven to be a help in advancement at work. Studies indicate that overweight people are judged adversely for promotion. Yes we know it sounds like fat-shaming but we are just going by the science here.

While that may seem unacceptable in some ways these days, it’s a generally acknowledged fact that slimmer, more active people, may be able to deliver better performance on some levels. So, eating to the top inevitably means eating healthily. So-called “brain foods” have become popular over the last couple of years but read up first before you choose new foods.

Genetics can play a big part, but healthy eating habits can transform you into a superhuman at work.

Try and drink water, especially before meals.

Drink green tea or ginger tea instead of coffee. Although, coffee can be good too — just don’t overdo it.

Have protein of some kind in the morning: eggs, avocado or even breakfast sausage.

Eat less carbohydrate-based foods — ease up on the bread, pasta, and potatoes.

Some experts have suggested using smaller plates limits your calorie intake.

Exercise when you can, even if it’s just a quick walk.

And remember, eat slowly.