By Allison Fahrenbach | Published on November 6, 2017
Today’s office workers, professionals and executives are the most susceptible to the two greatest contributors to poor physical health and obesity: bad dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle.
With such a fast-paced, stress-heavy schedule, it’s more important than ever to be mindful about eating well.
The ability to be productive in your chosen career while nailing your physique goals is dependent upon both the health of your mind and your body. The following tips are just a few things you can change to make a big difference to your energy levels, weight management, health and overall wellbeing…
Set your alarm to gorge
Most busy professionals rush out of the door without eating much, if anything, first thing. However, breakfast skipping has been linked with an increase in obesity and diabetes risk, as well as moodiness and an inability to focus.
It’s important because it breaks the overnight fasting period, replenishes your glucose supplies and provides other essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
Loma Linda University looked at 50,000 people and found the healthiest BMIs were associated with the following habits: eating 1-2 meals a day, fasting overnight for 18 hours, eating breakfast instead of skipping and making breakfast or lunch your biggest meal of the day. Other research shows if sufficient nutrient intake is missed at breakfast, it can lead to cravings and over-eating later.
If you’re pressed for time, try a quick smoothie combining protein powder, almond butter and fruit. With the flick of a switch, you’ll be good to go.
Practice makes perfect
The five ‘Ps’ of success apply just as much to weight control as they do to business: proper planning prevents poor performance. If you’re used to food appearing at the behest of a clicked button, it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of making your food yourself. But if you do, you’ll net yourself more time.
First, tally how long you spend waiting for food per week. This can be in restaurants, coffee shops or fast food outlets. Compare this to allocating a two-hour block each week to cooking in bulk and planning your food ahead, so when the work week begins you’re ready for success.
There’s an excellent chance you’ll save more time by preparing your food yourself, while getting more nutritious meals into your body. Cook lean protein (fish or chicken) and carbs (rice, wholegrain pasta or sweet potatoes) in bulk, or use your crockpot for a simple one-pot meal.
Purchase plastic containers to store your meals in that can be refrigerated or frozen and conveniently grabbed each morning on the way out of the door. There are also personal catering services that can help you do this; just search for them in your local area.
Plan for your weak moments
It is much easier to pass up the candy bowl or vending machine in the break room when you are fully armed with healthy snacks. Plus, having a few quick “convenience” options on hand, just in case, is never a bad idea.
Items such as protein powder, raw nuts, rice cakes or wholegrain crackers don’t require refrigeration and can be kept in a bag, briefcase or desk drawer for anytime snacking.
Chopped veggies (baby carrots and celery), hummus, non-fat Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit are other great snacking options to keep on hand in your cooler or a nearby fridge.
Excel + eating = big data
Multitasking, like eating and working, is disastrous to your body fat, found a paper at Harvard University. The faster you eat, the more likely you are to be unsatisfied with your meal and the more likely it is that you will continue to over-eat.
This is because it takes approximately 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate a sensation of fullness to your brain box, so instead of distractedly munching on a salad while you’re fine-tuning a proposal, set your work aside, sit down and focus completely on your meal. Alternatively, take your lunch outside and enjoy the combined benefits of fresh air with mindful eating.
– RELATED: How To Weigh Yourself Properly –
Adopt a ‘worst case’ mentality
Often, that 12-hour day turns into a 14-hour day, or days seem to morph into one another. No matter where you go – whether you’re stuck in a long commute, a long meeting or traveling for work, be sure to always have some form of healthy food on you at all times.
Plan for the unexpected, and don’t allow yourself to be caught on a layover without a healthy snack, or stuck in traffic after work with a hunger so fierce, you could eat the tail feathers off a low flying pigeon.
Hunger is non-negotiable, so always travel with long-life snacks or a small cooler, so you’ve always planned for the worst.
Decode the menu
Eating out is inevitable. No business deal is going to happen while huddled around your water cooler, so learn to be professional with paperwork from a restaurant. Almost all restaurants – even fast food chains – have healthy dining options available, so look for grilled or steamed protein options, ask for it “plain” and for sauces, seasonings and dressings to be put on the side.
Look for steamed vegetables, fresh salads and healthy sources of carbohydrates, like baked potatoes, rice pilaf and sweet potatoes, and you can still eat out and be a boss about your health to boot.
Identify your weakness
When grocery shopping, don’t leave the house while you’re hungry, or bad choices will follow. Once there, try to avoid walking down the inner aisles, which tend to be filled with packaged, preservative-laden, calorie-dense foods. Keep to the outer sections of the grocery store, and this tactic will ensure you stock up on plenty of fresh vegetables, meats, poultry and eggs.
Most importantly, don’t purchase items which are known triggers. If you get home after a long day at work and reach for the tortilla chips, don’t purchase tortilla chips. That’s not to say you can’t have them: just purchase on the day you plan to eat them.
Optimal vitamins and minerals are required by the body to properly eliminate toxins, and promote the health needs of your digestive and cardiovascular systems, metabolism and total body strength. And despite the best efforts, most Americans are deficient in at least one, or more, nutrients, which can cause mood issues, cravings, muscle cramps, joint pain, headaches, dizziness, hair loss and dry skin.
One of the best ways to ward against this is to supplement with a total spectrum multi vitamin and multi mineral supplement, to help fill in any gaps that might be missing in your diet. For busy working professionals, a solid multi can help increase alertness, enhance energy and keep you healthy.
If you take care of your mind and body, you’ll find you’re more productive and have more energy. Take care of yourself, and it’s not just your health that benefits – your business will, too.
Allison Fahrenbach is a natural pro figure athlete, trainer, nutritionist and owner of AFS Training.