Spoon {philosophies} : listen to yourself

You probably know the feeling – your over-indulged self thinking “why did I eat that much” and “if only I hadn’t….”. Over the course of career in finance lasting over fifteen years I got used to this feeling. I thought it was normal. Just part of life. Especially as my office-based existence followed hot on the heels of three student years of eating all the junk food I could get my hands on. The corporate world typically provides such an abundance of food at or near your workplace such that it is not necessary to think too hard about where your next meal is going to come from. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (and drinks before, during and afterwards) are all usually very well catered for. Convenience food, restaurant food, sweet and salty snacks and supermarket fresh-prepared food was providing me three meals a day, for at least five days a week.

The problem was, these temporary mealtime and snacking blips aside, I felt great. I felt indestructible. The over-indulgence never lasted long and, after all, wasn’t I doing loads of exercise?

Well as it turns out I wasn’t doing as much exercise as I needed to (sitting at a desk for 10-12 hours a day is not typically what is recommended for a healthy, mobile body). Exercise was not going to be the factor that changed dramatically, as long as I kept going at my sedentary job. I had limited time in the day to move- I could add some movement where I was able – but I could change what I ate, how much I ate and how often.  As I started feeling lower and lower on energy after mealtimes, something that was affecting my work, I felt that I had very good reason to experiment with my diet in order to improve how I felt. It was a case of listening to my body telling me what was not good for it and trying to work out how to improve things. As energy levels got lower, motivation got lower and spirits got lower. It was a cycle I was very keen to get myself out of. 

Over the years (and in-line with increased internet availability on the subjects and my continued experimentation towards a more vegetarian-based diet) I slowly started to learn more and more about diet, nutrition and the nature of the food we eat.

What I always came back to was how I felt in myself. What was my body telling me about the various inputs I gave it – my food, my environment, the people I surrounded myself with. If you feel good, you are probably giving yourself the nutrition and other inputs that combine to giving you a healthy existence. The tools are there for you to look at nutrition in a very scientific way very easily – but even if you know that soy is as effective as getting protein into your body as a steak – does that really tell you what you need to know? 

There are lots of answers out there and no one answer can be right for everyone. There has to be a balance between the physical health factors, the mental health factors, the moral factors and the less measurable ‘human’ factors. Each person should determine the relative importance of each of these factors for themselves and act appropriately. I would encourage everyone to read more on the subject in order to help make properly informed decisions – there’s lots of information around!

I still eat too much now and then, drink too much when I am in the mood and find myself lying on the sofa for far too long when I am obsessing over a TV series. But this is because the occasions that give rise to these over-indulgences are part of my greater wellbeing. My education on nutrition and wellbeing will continue but it will be acted upon in the context of how I feel. Only you can tell yourself what is right for you.

Jonny Shimmin.

Spoon {philosophies} : about

Spoon was started by two people with the common interest of leading a happily balanced lifestyle – starting with a good breakfast. After making the jump to start their company together, they soon realised that keeping things simple was a helpful value to fall back on when times got tough. Simplicity now stands as the company’s core value.

The philosophies series is an open and honest dialogue about Spoon’s values and how they feature in our daily lives as well as the impact they have on how we run our business.  The series is also a way to highlight how our guiding principles are challenged by others we meet along the way.