Pop Makes Me More Dumber

I am Pretty Sure Pop Makes Me More Dumber

photo by macwagen via PhotoRee

Your first thought might be what does pop (or soda those who are inevitably freaking out over my Great Lakes/Northern Plains name for a carbonated beverage) have to do with a blog focused on professional topics? Well, if you consider your health and more specifically your brain an essential tool in your professional success then I would argue that it is a perfect topic!

I have had a love affair with pop since I was a kid starting with the full on high fructose syrup calorie charged version to eventually moving to diet, which I convinced my self was the “healthy” alternative.

Over the past few years, I have made a few fleeting attempts to break free from it’s refreshingly fizzy strangle hold and each time I have always fallen back off the wagon. My logical side tells me, like poison, this beverage has no role in my life, but the addicted inner child wins out. Case in point, while getting my lunch today I was standing at the self-serve fountain and I had the option of 6 different pops and an unsweetened ice tea. While internally I heard myself saying get some ice tea, I looked down and my Id had already placed the cup under the Diet Coke and begun filling!

My awareness of this effect has become more noticeable to me as I age. In fact, today, I went out to grab my lunch with all sorts of great ideas and productive thoughts bouncing around in my head, but after just one glass of Diet Coke I noticed my thoughts becoming less organized my focus dwindling. Couple this with the belief that most sodas contain at least some ingredients that are carcinogenic and definitely hold no nutritional value and you have to wonder what a well-educated individual is doing with this stuff. The immediate cognitive effect that I see is concern in many ways but from a professional standpoint, why would I do this to myself. Keeping a sharp and clear mind allows me to be at my best on the job and swilling pop just seems counterintuitive to this goal. It seems like many of us make poor choices with our health not only in food consumption but in how we maintain our physical fitness as well. How can we expect to at our mental best if we don’t take care of the vessel that houses our minds?

A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to elevate the priority to exercise and make sure that it wasn’t one of the first things to slip when my life got busy. My reasoning was that if I didn’t take care of my health, then I wouldn’t be able to sustain long-term success in both my personal and professional lives. It now appears that I need to put this same focus in my food consumption habits. Growing up with an emotional attachment to foods that just aren’t good for me makes this obstacle even more challenging, but if I don’t start now, when will I?

So I reach out to you. What are somethings you have done to successfully adopt healthier eating habits? How have you broken that emotional tie to unhealthy foods? Maybe together we can help each other do what’s best for our health and form into healthier “corporate athletes!”

About the author: Heath

2 comments to “Pop Makes Me More Dumber”

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  1. Curtiss - August 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM Reply


    As self-controlled as I am, I find it best to do things like, DON’T BUY IT and have it at home.

    I have a splurge day 3-4 times a month to help keep this curbed…it’s AMAZING how terrible I feel for 1-2 days after this…too much sugar, high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, etc. Recognizing this, I’ve cut waaaaay back, but it’s been practically impossible for me to not eat poor food altogether.

    Recently, about halfway through a period of fasting, I noticed a HUGE difference in how I felt. I cut way back on my coffee and ate only fruits and vegetables. Even with the dramatic reduction in caffeine intake, I felt really good.

    Generally, I strive to make as few decisions as possible…this applies to my eating, as well. A great example is the lunch I eat at work most days. By deciding 2-3 times a month what I want to eat for lunch, then buying those things for my lunches (and dinner, for leftovers), I don’t have to decide every day, “What do I want for lunch?” My wife is a GREAT partner in this! One of the things we’ve worked out is that she is able to quickly put my lunch together FOR ME. She knows what I plan to eat, she puts it together and I simply grab it when I head out…it’s not an emotional decision for her at prep time…the time I would most likely be tempted to put in something a little extra.

    • Heath - August 23, 2012 at 1:40 PM Reply

      Thanks Curtiss! You make some good points and I think you are dead on with the planning aspect. By planning we reduce the effect of impulse. It’s something my wife and I have attempted from time to time, but typically lose sight of it in our busy lives. I just comes down to commitment and making it part of our lives! Thanks for the comment!

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