I read an awesome article in the New York Times Magazine yesterday about decision fatigue. I’d never heard that term before, but when I read about what it is, I quickly came to understand that decision fatigue is a major part of everyone’s life.
Think of how many decisions you have to make each day. You’ve got the big ones like: Should I go to the gym today? What should I wear? What to make for dinner? Should I call in sick to work today? But you’ve also got the small ones: Which website should I surf first? Rainbow or chocolate sprinkles. Cup or cone. I mean, we make thousands of decisions each day. I think back to the other week when I purchased my car. I was so inundated with papers to sign, car colors, people to talk to, that by the time I sat down to discuss “add-ons” I was just too exhausted to make a rational decision. I probably ended up with a lot of extras I don’t need.
And what about all those magazines and candy right by the check-out line in a grocery store? They put those there because you’re tired of making all those choices of which bread to buy, which low-sodium can of soup, and by the time you get to the cashier, you’re tired, you’re worn out, and you are more likely to impulsively buy a candy bar or Us Magazine. I know it’s true cause I’ve done it…multiple times.
So where does nutrition fit in? Well, studies show that we can be proactive against decision fatigue if we arm ourselves with glucose (aka sugar). Subjects in studies who were given pure glucose (which is absorbed quickly) felt a surge of energy and were better able to make decisions…for longer periods of time. Now, we’re not about to go downing glucose tablets left and right, but here’s what’s important and healthy: Keep your blood sugar levels steady. A diet rich in proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats eaten at regular intervals (you know, 5-6 small meals per day) will keep your blood sugar more stable throughout the day. And will give you the endurance you need to keep making those choices.
And what else? Researchers suggest not making any big decisions at the end of the day–morning is best!
Do you experience decision fatigue?