The continuous struggle and balancing act between work, career, relationships, parental duties, academic efforts and personal goals, often take a toll on our health. For many executives, the increase in stress leads to an increase in alcohol consumption, be that for social reasons, or when entertaining clients and attending corporate dinners. High alcohol consumption coupled with inactivity leads to increased body mass index and, as such, results in increased fatigue and heart disease. Obesity and being overweight also increases the chances of stroke or cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure and strokes by 33%.
Here are some useful tips for avoiding excess weight gain while busy at work or travelling:
1. Make A Healthy Meal Plan
Not planning your meals throughout the week can lead to mindless eating and overeating, which only compounds issues associated with obesity. Busy executives working at desk jobs should avoid starchy sugary drinks, and fried or processed food, as these are full of unhealthy saturated fats, which lead to cardiovascular disease.
If you are very busy during the day, avoid large meals and opt for small frequent meals instead to avoid mindless snacking. Plan to bring healthy snacks to work, such as dried fruit, apples with low fat cheese, and nuts with low fat yogurt. The fibre content in these foods also helps digestion and increases energy.
During work trips or vacations, people often tend to overindulge in treats and alcohol, or may even skip meals, which can lead to overeating at hotel buffets. Try to stick to at least three meals a day, and exercise some portion control during those meals so that you do not overindulge.
Some of us rely on fast and packaged foods, frozen meals, and sugary sodas, with the perception of ‘convenience’; however, such processed foods are low on nutrients and high in unhealthy saturated fats, which lead to digestive and cardiovascular disease. Here are some meal tips and snack options to consider when travelling, which will help to manage your waistline:
- Fruit and veggie slices: Fruit and vegetable slices are easy to carry and rich with nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron. Apples, for example, are high in antioxidants and rich in vitamin C, which is an excellent immune system booster.
- Healthy snackbars: Choose a healthy snack bar that is made from whole and minimally processed ingredients. Ensure that the snack bar is typically high in protein and fibre. A good example is Larabars.
- Choose your airline meal: Call the airline ahead of time and request a healthy meal that is low in fat, vegetarian-based, gluten-free and low on sodium. Alternatively pack your own meal while travelling.
- Read the restaurant menu: Choose food that is steamed, boiled, baked or grilled instead of deep-fried. Choose vegetables that aren’t over-sautéed.
2. Make Time For Exercise
Exercise has many benefits, which includes lower stress levels and increased immunity. Try some or all of the quick workouts below, at least three times per week:
- Jogging: For busy executives and travellers, jogging to your workplace could be a convenient and effective full body exercise that will also help you burn a few unwanted calories. Jogging helps to boost your metabolic rate and shed unwanted body fat, and increases endurance and fitness levels. Just remember to pack your running shoes.
- Cycling: Cycling to the office is another effective method of cardiovascular exercise. You can avoid the traffic jams, save on petrol, and burn calories simultaneously.
- Swimming: For travelling executives who stay in hotels, swimming after a hectic day at the office can be refreshing. It burns a lot of calories, increases overall fitness, and helps to soothe stiff muscles and sore joints. Aerobic exercise, such as swimming helps strengthen your heart and increases the blood flow.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator: Another inexpensive way to look after your health is to choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Climbing the stairs increases fitness stamina, builds your glutes (thereby preventing lower-back pain), and burns a few calories too.
Long office hours and frequent traveling often have serious repercussions for your physical and mental health. Similarly, desk jobs and lack of exercise put you at risk of heart disease and increased levels of “bad” cholesterol, and make you vulnerable to insulin resistance. It is, therefore, important to maintain some balance with nutritious food, physical exercise, and proper rest.