There are some workdays that are simply too much to handle. They’re exhausting, mentally taxing, and seemingly endless. Not only that, but they take away one of the most necessary parts of the day: lunch.
I’m not talking about stumbling into Chipotle at 5:30 PM with a ravenous hanger that can only be cured by 1500 calories of salt, guac, and sour cream. I mean not eating anything at all.
Some projects have a relentless grip on us, preventing us from looking at anything that isn’t work-related. And when we finally decide to take a step back and look at the time, we realize our lunch hour has gone out the window.
Maestro? Cue the excuses:
“I’m on a roll right now. Can’t lose my momentum.”
“There’s too much to do. I just don’t have the time.”
“Eating will just make me sleepy.”
I get it. When there’s already so much on our plates (ba-dum-tss), stopping to eat lunch seems about as inconvenient as jumping into another meeting.
I’m fortunate to work from home, approximately 12 steps away from my refrigerator, and even I sometimes can’t summon the strength to separate myself from what I’m doing to eat some damn lunch.
Here’s the thing. Taking care of yourself isn’t an inconvenience whatsoever. Yes, breakfast is ‘the most important meal of the day,’ but you’re kidding yourself if you think that gets you a hall pass to skip lunch.
Eating provides energy
You don’t have to be a nutritionist to understand the basic notion that food = nourishment and energy. That is, though, if you’re eating the right foods; not just getting by on energy bars and meal replacement shakes.
In an article from Livestrong, the author highlights the physical and mental benefits of eating in the middle of the day. For starters, it re-energizes you after those hours have passed since breakfast. It also raises blood sugar levels, giving you a sustained “sugar rush” to stimulate your concentration and focus.
As a bonus, eating lunch can help with weight loss. Keeping your metabolism active allows you to burn calories throughout the day, whereas skipping lunch can lead you to binge on dinner and eat way more than the appropriate portion size.
An inactive metabolism is a sad one. Facts. Treat it right with real food and you’ll literally feel it thank you.
You deserve to recharge
Yes, you. No matter what your workday looks like or throws at you, you deserve — at the very least — 30 minutes to yourself.
And I know just what you can do with that time: eat!
Hustle culture will have you believe there’s no time for nonsensical things like lunch (???), and that’s a real problem. It starts to breed a total disregard for our overall well-being.
Even the small stuff that makes us feel good — going for a brief walk, reading, or taking our sweet time in the early morning to slowly sip our freshly dripped Yirgacheffe coffee — doesn’t fit into the ‘go-go-go’ schedule.
Our time is valuable and we should treat it as such. Take those 30 minutes (or longer) to show yourself some love with a good meal. Step away from the desk, walk to the kitchen and give yourself a break.
You’ll jump back into your to-dos with a clearer head and more energy to sustain you through the next few hours.
Here’s how you do lunch
What does a good lunch look like? Well, just think about what an LA influencer would pick up from Whole Foods. That’s probably what you want to reach for.
The basics are all you need: grains, veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats. Think burrito bowls, sushi bowls, or big salads with roasted veggies.
Find a way to keep yourself accountable for your lunchtime commitment. Do a little meal prep on Sunday nights and pack your lunches ahead of time — and NO, Lean Cuisine is not an option.
Schedule your mealtime so you can plan for a brief break. Maybe even take the accountability a step further and find a lunch buddy. Do what works for you.
Now stop reading and eat, dammit!
If you think you’re doing yourself a favor skipping lunch, think again. No excuse can compare with well-balanced, much-needed lunch breaks. Give yourself the time, and your body and mind will thank you.