How important are our health choices in our trading success? Is what we choose to eat and drink a factor in our profitability? Does it make up a part our edge?
We spend so much of our time focussed on our trading strategy, fine-tuning every detail, tweaking our methodology, we sometimes forget about the other things we can do to improve our trading results. Things outside of the charts.
Imagine you were hanging out with a bunch of traders and started talking about how to improve profitability. If you told them that you had a pill they could take, that would give them increased mental clarity, reduce stress and anxiety and improve their trading results, you’d be sure to get some interest.
On the other hand, if you said that omitting a part of their diet would give them the same results, they might not be so interested. If you went on to explain that healthy eating would improve their bottom line, they would be forgiven for rolling their eyes and going back to talking about their latest trade.
But eating mindfully, and knowing how different foods and drinks affect your inner state, means you can avoid anything that increases your mental fog, or causes you low-level feelings of stress or anxiety.
Mindful eating, quite simply, is paying attention to what we eat, really paying attention to how it smells, feels, tastes, and giving the act of eating our undivided attention. Most advocates of mindful eating stop there, but if we continue to be aware beyond the eating, we start to discover how what we have eaten makes us feel minutes or hours later.
This is the important part for traders. We might eat or drink something for lunch that makes us irritable, tired, wired, or lethargic throughout our afternoon trading session. What we eat late at night might affect our focus the next morning as we switch on our screens ready for the day’s trading.
It then becomes pretty obvious that what you eat and drink will affect your bottom line.
If you haven’t already, it’s really worth giving your diet some attention if you want to experience clarity in your trading.
There are a number of reasons why thinking about what you eat could be of benefit.
Firstly, being disciplined in what you eat helps you become more disciplined in your trading too.
To be disciplined, you have to be mindful of what you eat, and mindful of your thoughts and feelings. It becomes really interesting when you realise the little voice that says “oh go on, just one more glass of wine” is the very same voice that says “oh go on, I know it’s not a plan trade but it’ll be fun to see what happens, just this once”.
Practicing discipline in what you eat is a great way to strengthen the very same “brain muscle” that you need to be more disciplined in trading. So every time you choose the apple over the chocolate bar, you are become better at choosing to walk away from that future sub-optimal trade.
Secondly, anything that helps increase your mental clarity is going to help your trading, be it cutting out alcohol, caffeine or processed foods, or increasing your intake of water, fruit or vegetables.
We are all different, and how different foods and drinks affect us changes from person to person. Some traders can have a couple beers every night and start the next day focussed and alert. Another trader might have half a glass of wine and wake up with an awful headache that makes them feel fuzzy for half the day. But, being aware of how a evening drink might make us feel the next day gives us an opportunity to put the odds in our favour.
Anything that increases our edge has got to be a good thing, right?
Thirdly, choosing the food and drink that energises you and stops you feeling sluggish means you’ll feel so much better and more positive.
A lot of the success in trading is down to self-belief and positivity. Finding ways to maintain this state, even after a losing streak, increases our resilience so that we can bounce back quickly and make the most of the opportunities presented to us by the markets.
Eating well will give you the edge as far as positive thinking is concerned.
Once I started seeing trading as a fantastic way to encourage my healthy eating, it became much more fun. Normally, when you start eating mindfully and giving your body the best support through healthy food, it can be easy to lapse back into eating unconsciously again.
How great is it then, that another benefit is a healthier trading balance at the end of the month. You’re basically getting paid for eating healthily! There are not many jobs that pay you to eat well, but trading is one of them.
Being aware of how what we eat and drink affects us, and then changing some of our eating and drinking habits to improve how we feel, benefits our trading in 3 main way:
1. Becoming more disciplined in what we consume is great practice and improves our discipline in other areas of our lives, especially trading. Being able to choose the best food and drink to support our body and mind, helps us to be able to choose the best trade to support the upward trajectory of our equity curve!
2. Improving what we eat and drink improves our mental clarity. We could start by omitting anything in our diet that has a negative impact, making us lethargic, pesimistic and foggy, and include anything that helps us be more alert, focussed and postitive. These simple steps encourage better trading decisions and in turn better trading results.
3. Feeling better due to an improvement in diet is a virtuous circle that feeds our positivity, making live so much more enjoyable. We start really living life, which puts less pressure on us to live through our trading results, which then improves our bottom line.
So, if you need a little more motivation to crunch into that apple, think of the benefits to your trading account!
Have you seen a direct improvement in your trading performance from improving your diet? Has cutting out certain foods or drinks, or adding anything in, made a difference to your profitability? Have your healthy choices improved your trading results?