BLOG | Staying Healthy At Work by Elizabeth Bracero
With the hectic lifestyles we lead in today’s modern world it can be difficult to look after ones health and diet. It’s paramount that we do not ignore what is important as in the long run it’s good health that matters most. A healthy lifestyle can be adopted at any point in your life and it’s never too late to get onto the health wagon. Although it may sound daunting, adopting a healthy lifestyle is not that hard really. Small changes can make the big differences.
Office spaces are set up to require little movement, making it easy to gain weight. Before you know it, you've added 20+ pounds on your frame. Besides increasing weight, desk jobs also increase the strain on your back, wrists, eyes and neck, and can result in a general loss of muscle tone. To combat the adverse effects of the 9-to-5 routine, it's important to exercise. But when can you find the time? Here are a few ideas.
Walk and talk. Instead of sitting down at a table, take a brainstorming stroll with a colleague. If you have a phone call to make, get up and pace. Every second you don’t spend sitting, you are improving your health. By stand up you are doubling your calories burned while you chat. You can burn up to 225 calories for every hour you pace.
Keep hand weights or resistance bands in your office and set an hourly timer. Each time the timer goes off, do a set of upper body exercises like bicep curls or shoulder presses.
Ditch your trash can. Use trash and recycling bins on the other side of the room (or building) to increase your step count and fat burning potential.
Take the stairs whenever possible. Twice, if you can. Stairs are great for getting your heart rate up and really target the legs and glutes.
Squeeze your abs tight while standing at the bank, store, or coffee shop on your break. To engage the core, pull your belly button into your spine. Remember to breathe throughout. You should never hold your breath while exercising.
Practice proper posture. When you stand and sit up straight, not only do you look more confident, you also burn more calories as the muscles in your neck and back are constantly engaged. When you slump, they go unused.
Find fitness buddies. Challenge coworkers to a friendly step-count competition. Wear pedometers to see how much you walk in a week—winner gets a coffee.
Start "e-mail-free Fridays". Walk messages to colleagues as much as possible. The habit may stick the rest of the week, helping you lose weight faster.
Nutrition Tips For Work:
It’s lunch time… What are your options? Can you plan ahead?
If possible get the ingredients for your lunches over the weekend.
Pack your lunches the night before or at the beginning of the week.
Foods such as leafy greens, beans, meats, quinoa, veggies and fruits can be prepared ahead of time so that you can easily put a lunch together the night before. *
By prepping your meal ahead of time, you know exactly what goes in your body…instead of eating some mystery meat or pasta from the corner deli.
So packing your lunches is just not reasonable for you… that’s ok
Can you choose the place you will eat lunch out ahead of time? Explore your options and know ahead of time what you will eat… Instead of making an emotional decision and possibly letting the “stress hormones” guide your decision making for lunch…
Can you look up the menu ahead of time and make an intelligent/strategic decision for what you will fuel your body with?
Leave out topping such as mayo and full fat cheeses
Opt for lighter/less creamy dressings such as olive oil/vinegar on your salad (always ask for dressings on the side). It’s your food….you choose how much you want on it!
Watch-out for over-processed grains (hero buns, croutons, etc)
Choose something that has plenty of greens, healthy protein and carbs.
Watch portion sizes – often times the sizes served are 2 – 4 times more than what your body really needs.
How long does it take to see results with my program?
I utilize a few different programs, depending on your body type and goal but normally it will take 12 to 16 weeks. Everyone’s results are different since the programs are personalized depending on is or her goals. Some of my clients want to lose weight or tone up and then others are interested in competitions. After a couple of weeks you will start feeling a difference and notice small changes. The more consistent you are – the bigger change you will see.
Start From Nothing, Stop For Nothing.
What you eat all day doesn't just impact your health and weight; it affects your productivity, too.
If you eat high fat, high sugar meals and snacks you will be sleepy and have low energy overall. High fat foods take more work to digest. Candy causes sugar to spike in your blood stream then crash, and you also may have an upset stomach. Who can be productive with all of this going on?
Unfortunately, many people tend to make bad eating decisions during the workday because of stress, lack of time, and sleep deprivation.
Stress often lead to mindless snacking on things like sweets and chips. You may have limited healthy food choices or too many temptations around the office, like candy dishes on your colleagues' desks, cupcakes for birthdays, or greasy pizza during lunch meetings.
Time--or lack thereof--also plays a part. One of the reasons people don't stick to their healthy eating resolutions of bringing their own homemade prepared food, rather than ordering or eating out, is because of a lack of time. In a fast-paced world, fast food comes as the optimum solution.
Sleep deprivation also affects appetite and pushes one to eat twice the amount of calories that they'd typically consume in a day.
The experts say all of these factors make it easy for us to develop bad eating habits at work--but they're terrible excuses.
LUCKILY, THERE ARE PLENTY OF QUICK, EASY, AND INEXPENSIVE HEALTHY SNACK OPTIONS.
ALMONDS: Almonds are a great source of protein and healthy fat that is satisfying. They contain nine essential nutrients; have the highest rate of proteins when compared to other nuts; have the highest rate of fiber (3.5g per 23 pieces) when compared to other nuts; are rich in Vitamin E (23 pieces provide 35% of the daily value of Vitamin E); and contain monounsaturated fats that help increase HDL levels.
LOW-FAT POPCORN: This low-calorie snack will satisfy your craving for something salty and crunchy, and it's also a good source of fiber.
FRESH FRUIT: Fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals, and are full of great natural sweetness. They are also a great source of antioxidants needed for a stronger immune system and a better performance at work.
DRY FRUIT: Fresh fruit is always a great snack option "” but if you want to mix things up, try dried apricots, raisins, apples, or bananas. These snacks are sweet, chewy, high in fiber, and high in potassium.
PROTEIN BAR: Be careful with these! Some protein bars are packed with calories. Check the ingredients and make sure the one you pick has fruit, nuts, and fewer than 200 calories.
FLAVORED RICE CAKES: Rice cakes are great because they are low calorie and come in different flavors. For instance, you can get cheddar or caramel, depending on whether you want salty or sweet.
MINI PRETZELS: Though they're salty, pretzels are low in fat and give you some carbs to hold you over until lunch or dinner.
FROZEN BANANA: This is a great substitute to ice cream, which is rich in sugar and fat. A medium-sized banana contains the needed amount of glucose by the brain to perform at its best.
COTTAGE CHEESE: If you have an office refrigerator, these are good sources of protein to have on hand. "Protein will keep blood sugar levels steady and will not make you sleepy.
WASABI PEAS: These are perfect for satisfying any salty, crunchy, or spicy craving "” and they have protein and fiber, which will energize you and prevent blood sugars from dropping.
HARD BOILED EGGS: This is an excellent source of protein, which will satisfy hunger and stabilize blood sugars. But be aware of the offensive smell! Eat your hard-boiled egg in the office kitchen.
VEGETABLE AND HUMMUS: Hummus and veggies, like carrots, provide crunch, sweetness, and carbohydrates. "You get all the nutrients you need with this satisfying snack," De Fazio says. The chickpeas in hummus are also a good source of calcium, iron, protein, and fiber, which prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly.
TOMATO JUICE: Sometimes when you think you are hungry or crave sugar, you are actually thirsty. Next time this happens, try drinking a can of low sodium tomato or vegetable juice.
YOGURT: Many yogurts are made using "good bacteria," which is great for your digestive tract. Yogurt also contains probiotics, and offers protein, calcium, vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Just watch the sugar amount, make sure it is as low as possible.
APPLE AND PEANUT BUTTER: The apple provides fiber and carbohydrates for energy, while the peanut butter (you can also use almond butter) provides healthy monounsaturated fat and protein, which stabilizes blood sugar ups and downs. This snack is so tasty and satisfying and will hold you over for a few hours
This question is on everyone’s lips when they first want to lose weight “Should I start with cardio or weight training?” Hearing the words that cardio will burn more calories than weight training in a shorter amount of time, is all that most people need to jump on the treadmill and disregard the weights rack altogether. Although this is true, weight training has added benefits for your body that you simply can’t achieve with doing cardio alone.
Generally speaking, our bodies need to burn more calories (energy output) than we eat (energy input) in order to lose weight. Cardio is just one form of exercise that can help contribute to this “energy output”. There are many different types of cardio - the most popular being walking, jogging and sprinting. Depending on what your fitness goals are, there are certain types of cardio that are better suited than others. For example, if you want to focus on fat and weight loss, then LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) is perfect. This is because walking burns the most fat per calorie compared to jogging and sprinting. Without going into too much detail, fat requires oxygen in order to be metabolised (broken down) for energy. The lower the intensity, the more oxygen is available to be used by the body to break down fat. When you are jogging or sprinting, less oxygen is available meaning that your body will use other energy sources, such as carbohydrates, for energy. Regardless of the intensity, cardio is great for increasing fitness levels and building stamina.
RESISTANCE (WEIGHT) TRAINING
Soooo many women get scared of lifting weights because they are afraid it will make them appear ‘bulky’. This is not true, and is honestly one fitness myth which I wish would go away! Although doing steady state cardio (walking or running at the same pace) may burn more calories per minute, resistance training will continue to burn calories even AFTER you have completed your workout! Yep that’s right, if you lie on your couch after and watch a movie - your body is still working and burning off calories. This is known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Another great thing about resistance training is that you lose mainly fat, compared to cardio where you can lose a variety of different body masses. Although losing muscle mass will mean your weight on the scale is lower, it probably won’t give you the body you are after. This is because ‘tone’ comes from well shaped muscles, and resistance training protects, shapes and maintains those muscles.
As you can see, cardio and resistance training have their advantages, but my answer to what is best for weight loss? BOTH! If you have a lot of weight to lose, cardio is a great stepping stone for increasing your fitness levels and burning calories quickly. However in order to have that toned, sculpted body that most people want, you will need to add in some resistance workouts.
In order to lose weight successfully, I recommended implementing a training program that use both cardio as well as resistance training. This is the best way to achieve weight loss and strengthen your muscles, which together, create definition and tone. It also gives you variety and means you won’t get bored with your exercise regime, which is one of the main reasons most people quit exercising.
You may have heard the term “health coach” popping up in nutritional circles and appearing randomly in magazine articles and on TV. However, I often find when I tell someone that I’m a health coach, they have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. Health and wellness coaches are popping up in doctor’s offices, spas, gyms and private practices all over the country. They often offer services and fill gaps that doctors, nutritionists and dietitians don’t have the time or resources to fill.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, largest nutrition school in the country, defines a health coach as “a wellness authority and supportive mentor who motivates individuals to cultivate positive health choices. Health coaches educate and support clients to achieve their health goals through lifestyle and behavior adjustments.” To put it simply, health coaches like me are highly educated guides in the fields of nutrition, wellness, bio-individuality and mentoring. Health coaching focuses not only on the food you eat, but also your lifestyle. We help you to maximize the results of each.
Have you ever been given a list of “eat this, not that?” Have you found that making drastic changes at once are unsustainable and don’t work for you long-term? Perhaps a friend of yours lost a bunch of weight on one particular diet, but when you tried it, the results were minimal at best? That’s where health coaches come in. We help you implement small changes, little by little, at a pace that’s comfortable for you so you can meet all your health goals. We work with you to help you discover your bio-individuality. There is something that will work for you – the trick is finding it.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, increase energy or just get healthy, health coaches take the time to listen to your concerns, help you discover where and why you are struggling, and help you navigate the world of contradictory nutritional advice to figure out exactly what works for your body.
Everyone is unique and different. That’s why no one diet works for everyone, or only works for a small amount of time. Health coaches don’t promote one specific type of diet, or one specific way of eating. They help you experiment with finding what will work for you specifically, and how to change up your diet and lifestyle as you continue to grow and make strides forward.
Doctors and nutritionists are also fantastic resources for you in terms of health and wellness. Many doctors are starting to partner with health coaches for their patients who are obese, diabetic or need to change their behaviors in order to improve their health and keep lifestyle-related illnesses at bay.
Many health coaches also work in private practices. They work one-on-one or in small groups of individuals who want to lose weight, increase energy and get healthy in the most efficient ways. One of the best parts of most health coaching practices is that you can do all the mentoring from the comfort of your home via telephone or Skype.
It’s also important to know what a health coach is not. A health coach is not a doctor. Health coaches don’t diagnose conditions, prescribe medications or recommend lower or higher doses of your current medications. Many health coaches are not personal trainers (although some, like me, are certified in personal training), so it’s important to know what certifications yours holds if he or she is recommending specific exercises for you. A health coach is not a drill sergeant. We do not scream orders at you, or berate you for not meeting goal in a specified amount of time. We understand that life happens, and we work with you and support you in every way we can to achieve optimal wellness.
Health coaches are at the forefront of today’s health revolution. At a time when one in five people will die of lifestyle-related disease, as well as when diabetes and obesity are at an all-time high, health coaches provide the nutritional and lifestyle guidance society desperately needs to find its way back to health.
There are no FAILURES. Only EXPERIENCES and LESSIONS.
If you have any questions, feel free to sent me a message!