Martyr Syndrome and Starving to Work

by Health, Travel

I didn’t have time to eat.
I’m so busy I forget to eat.
There’s too much to do.
Sigh…you are such a martyr.  

Classic case of martyr syndrome.

As a business traveler, we have all been in the situation where you think you will have time to grab something from the airport in between connections but your first flight was delayed and now you are running to catch the next one. Or, you arrive to the hotel thinking they will have a restaurant but it’s closed and the pantry consists of Advil, toothpaste, Diet Coke and a sugary granola bar. Who I’m talking about in this post are the people who go all day without eating and wear it like some kind of badge to tell people how they are so busy they can’t possibly eat.

I worked in an industry where I would see this all the time. The person would show up around 8am and work all day until around 5pm without stopping to eat lunch or even to eat lunch while they are working. If someone was with them, they may actually try to make them feel guilty for wanting to get something to eat and act ‘proudly’ about how they just work through lunch. Truthfully, I often ate lunch while I was working or I ran out to get something and brought it back to eat but I never went all day long without fueling my brain and body.

That’s what you are doing folks…you are fueling your brain and body. Whether your work is tedious or physical, you still need to eat something. I was with a woman once who had oatmeal for breakfast (about 150 calories) and about 4 ounces of OJ (about 50 calories). She did not eat anything else until 4:15pm. How ‘present’ do you think her brain was by 2pm? Some would argue that if they are sitting all day they don’t need to eat but that’s not true either. I would argue that anything is better than nothing. This poor woman said that she sometimes feels dizzy at the end of the day and ends up hitting the drive thru for a bacon double-cheeseburger at first chance.

Starving traveler = poor food choices

I have had two friends on two separate road trips that were stuck for 3+ hours on the interstate with nowhere to walk to. I keep 100 calorie bags of almonds in my car for just this reason. They are my emergency nuts I squirrel away!

I trained and managed people new to business travel at my previous position. They probably thought I was the member of some kind of Crazy Food Cult because I would emphasize and reemphasize that they need to take care of themselves and fuel their brain and body while on the road. First, you may not know where your next meal will come from (stuck on an airport tarmac for two hours?) and second, this lifestyle is hard and if you expect to come out on the positive side of this race, you have to take care of yourself.

 

 

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Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects