Business executives and career-driven individuals are constantly reeling under the pressures of targets and deadlines. Some of us are also known to put in over 50 hours a week at work. And such sedentary work style, frequent travel, lack of exercise or physical exertion and over-dependency of processed food often result in excess weight gain.
Risks of excess weight gain
The continuous struggle and balancing act between work, career, relationships, parental duties, academic efforts and personal goals, often takes 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, then leads to increased body mass index, and as such, results in increased fatigue and heart disease. Over-weight and obesity also increases the chances of stroke or cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure and strokes, by 33%.
Some Tips to Manage Excess Weight Gain
A Healthy Meal Plan
Lack of planning your meals throughout the week, can lead to mindless eating and over eating, which only compounds issues associated with obesity. Busy executives working at desk jobs should avoid starchy sugary drinks, fried and processed foods as these are full of unhealthy saturated fats which lead to cardiovascular disease. Avoid large meals and opt for small frequent meals instead if you are very busy during the day, to avoid mindless snacking. Plan to bring healthy snacks to work such as dried fruits, apples with low fat cheese, and nuts with low fat yogurt. This also helps digestion with the fibre content from these foods, and increases energy.
During travel or vacation, people often indulge in excess intake of treats, higher alcohol consumption, and meal skipping which can lead to overeating at hotel buffets. Try to stick to at least three meals a day, and exercise some portion control at those meals so that you do not overindulge. Other time, some of us are prone to rely on fast & packaged food, frozen meals, and sugary sodas, with the perception being ‘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 quick meal and snack options to consider when travelling. They will also help to manage your waistline!
- Vegie Slices & Fruits: Fruits 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 rich in Vitamin C, which is an excellent immune system booster and contains antioxidants.
- Healthy Food Bars: Choose a healthy food bar that is made of whole and minimally processed ingredients. Ensure that the food bar is typically high in protein and fibre are usually rich in protein. A good example are Larabars.
- Choose your airline meal: Call the airline ahead of time and request a healthy meal which is low in fat, vegetarian based, gluten-free and low on sodium. Alternatively pack your own meal while travelling.
- Read the Restaurant Menu: Choose from the menu, food that is steamed, boiled, baked or grilled instead of deep-fried. Choose vegetables that aren’t over sautéed.
Daily Exercise for Busy Executives
Exercise has many benefits, some of which include lower stress levels, and increased immunity. Try some or all, of the quick workouts below at least 3 times per week:
- Jogging: For busy executives and travellers, jogging to your work place could be a convenient and effective full body exercise, that will also help you burn a few unwanted calories. Jogging helps to boosting your metabolic rate and shed unwanted body fat, increases endurance, and fitness levels. Just remember to pack your running shoes!
- Cycling: Cycling to office is another effective means of cardiovascular exercise. You can avoid the traffic jam, save on petrol, and burn calories simultaneously.
- Swimming: For travelling executives staying at hotels, swimming after a hectic day at office can be refreshing. This low impact exercise, burns a lot of calorie, increases overall fitness, and helps to soothe stiff muscles and sore joints. Aerobic exercise such as swimming helps strengthen your heart and betters the blood flow.
- Use the Stairs instead of Elevator: Another inexpensive way to look after your health is when you choose stairs instead of elevator. Climbing the stairs increases fitness stamina, builds glute muscles (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, increased levels of “bad” cholesterol and makes you vulnerable to insulin resistance. It is therefore important maintain some balance with nutritious food, physical exercise, and proper rest.
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