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Better: eat less lunch. Ever since I've started having no more than a moderate bowl of low-cal (not "diet", just not "vitamix'd pizza") soup, the second half of the day is just as productive as the first. If I eat enough for a food coma, I go home; I'd provide no useful anything for the rest of the day, nap or no, so no sense hiding it by merely being around.

This isn't meant as an Ad hominem, but do your team members ever show any disdain towards having to tolerate working with a person who leaves work early because they ate too much? Are you the boss? Genuine curiosity here.

No, not really. People leave work early for all kinds of reasons, people work late / from home for all kinds of reasons. Everyone is expected to carry their own load. I'm at Microsoft now, but this was the case at my previous two companies too. Granted, nobody ever says "I ate too much and am useless now so deal with it", more "I have something to take care of this afternoon". (Which is often the case anyway if you have kids / house.) So long as you eventually put in the lost hours and hit the deadlines, that's all anyone cares about.

Though still, don't do this often.... That's kind of the whole point, right?

Same. On the rare occasion I get more than about 500 calories at lunch, and i have to be very careful about what I eat or I'm dozy half the afternoon. A salad is fine, or a bowl of ramen or similar if folks happen to be going out somewhere that serves it, but anything heavier than that and I'm going to have a bad time. A nice side effect is that a normal-sized supper generally does make me sleepy, which helps with getting to bed at a reasonable hour.

I can recommend the practice, especially to skinnier folk who would like to stay that way - too late for me, I'm afraid, despite three miles' worth of foot commute daily, but it does wonders for my afternoon productivity nonetheless, and if it doesn't actually help lose weight then it does at least help keep it stable.

Isn't more about the type of food you eat instead of just calories? I tried to eat less but then I end it up having to eat again in the middle of the day.

I don't know. I've been limiting myself to ~400 kcal. About half of the time this is chicken, veg, and whole-wheat noodle soup. That's still a reasonable size portion, and I guess has some vitamins but I'm not a vitamin counter by any means. I do whatever makes me feel good, and this does the trick for me. I used to go to restaurants a lot more, but now hardly ever. And I really do stick to the "if I'm not going to be useful I go home" thing, and fortunately I'm in a group that's fine with it so long is it doesn't affect deadlines. Maybe once a month I'll cave to the urge to eat a big whatever and immediately regret it.

To a point, yes - but to a point, no. Candy doesn't fill me up like veggies, for example - yet I'm not packing in protein to try to keep me full either.

For me, part of the equation was finding out when I'm most hungry naturally. Eating a proper breakfast makes me more hungry later in the day. The same goes for eating a large lunch. So I tend to skip breakfast, have a small lunch - usually just a cheese sandwich, some fruit, or a piece of bread. Possibly have a small snack (fruit, nuts, chips), and then a large dinner. This also follows my own natural energy level - I'm a night owl. My mother is the opposite.

Anecdata: for me it's not calories, it's carbs. I used to get so insanely tired in the afternoons that I would take a nap in my car even in the ~100 degree Texas heat. After switching to a low-carb paleo diet, I entirely stopped getting sleepy in the afternoons. YMMV.

I'm glad that you've found something which worked for you, and perhaps it will work for others as well. But it doesn't seem to me like "eat less lunch" is a direct alternative to napping, generalizable to the whole population as "better".

For me, almost entirely, yes, it's a direct alternative. If I eat a big lunch, then I need a nap, and if I eat a small lunch I don't. Maybe that's just me. As far as whether it's better or not, if anyone can produce a study where eating more than you need is healthier than eating just as much as you need, nap or not... I think most research shows that eating less is a big deal.

Funny thing is, until you challenged it, I'd never really rationalized it all. But now I'm seeing something bigger than "this makes me more productive".

EDIT: I'm super curious why this would have been downvoted. Not offended at all, the opposite really, just curious what anyone found offensive here.

For me it was enough to stop with carbs, no more afternoon naps needed. And no need to starve yourself :)

What's your typical lunch look like, out of curiosity?

It could be a fried slice of cauliflower with bacon and a fried egg on top. Or gratin on any mix of broccoli, zucchini, meat, cheese, cream, mayonnaise, other low-carb vegetables and herbs. There are also some kelpnoodles? that we eat with a sauce from crème fraiche, tuna and lemonjuice. Or just a big green sallad with some meat.

I do both nowadays but completely agree. I started drinking Huel for breakfast and lunch around 8 months ago and the difference in energy levels when I only have 500 calories (exactly weighed out) is huge. Every month or so I go out for lunch then proceed to regret it for the rest of the day.

I'm generally a lot more productive when I'm hungry. Eating, for me, leads to lethargy.

I once read something about Julius Caesar being trained never to eat until satiated. Can't find it now. Granted maybe that's why he's now named after a salad.

My Austrian grandfather had the same habit, and while I never inquired, I suspect it had a similar sort of origin - of his brothers, all those I had the chance to know shared it.

Whether this had any effect on their all having been successful small business owners, one of whom manufactured parts used in every Space Shuttle orbiter, I can't really speculate - that's just one of the many conversations I'll never quite be done regretting the preclusion of opportunity to have with these very worthy and remarkable men, none of whom survived into this millennium. But it wouldn't surprise me all that much.

I think there's a Japanese saying about stopping you're 4/5ths full, and there are other sayings like "tie off the sack before it's full," etc. I have been trying it recently and I definitely feel less lethargic in general, especially after lunch, but after dinner too.

Mice do better on intelligence tests when they're hungry.


That's because digesting food also takes some effort for your body. If you eat a big lunch/food that's hard to digest, you will make that infamous noon sleepiness just that much worse as your body will have to spend energy dealing with all the food in your belly in addition to keeping you awake.

I'm not sure that is better. Human circadian rhythms are naturally biphasic. Even if you went on a complete water fast, it's doubtful you'd completely eliminate the secondary one.

For me lunch is the only warm meal I eat during weekdays so it is usually quite large. I don't really feel tired or anything after it though.

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