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According to the American Time Use Survey, employed Americans ages 25 to 54 spend their days like this: 8.8 hours working or in work-related activities, 7.7 hours sleeping, 2.6 hours doing leisure and sports activities, and 1.2 hours caring for others, including children. The remaining time was spent doing other activities, including eating and drinking, attending school, and shopping. (Well, regarding shopping … they weren’t talking about me!)
This may not reflect a typical day in your life, but what is obvious is that we spend more time at work than we do with loved ones. For this reason, a “healthy” work environment is essential to enable you to have the strength and energy to get through your workday while looking and feeling your best.
What drove me to write this story is that this week I gave a keynote presentation to 100 well-educated, top-level management employees. My audience was made up of men and women of varying backgrounds, who discussed a wide range of nutrition-related issues. A pre-conference survey revealed that their top three concerns included the desire for more energy, stress-busting ideas and tips on how to make quick, balanced meals.
Although my workshop lasted for more than three hours, here’s a taste of how you can stay happier and healthier during the majority of your day:
1. Boost your breakfast. Skipping breakfast leads to an invitation to overeat at lunch. There’s a greater chance that you’ll make breakfast a regular habit if you make it simple: Add some high-fiber cereal to Greek yogurt, toss some sliced almonds into your cold cereal, bring a packet of instant oatmeal to work, grab an individually wrapped pack of cheese and whole-grain crackers. Even a small breakfast is better than none.
[Read: Unusual Uses for Greek Yogurt.]
2. BYOS (Bring Your Own Snacks). Just in case lunch is delayed by a meeting that runs overtime or hunger hits in late afternoon, your desk drawer could be your savior if it’s stocked with a jar of almond butter, a bag of plastic knives and some whole-grain crackers. Deciding on snacks ahead of time could save you from spending extra money on vending machine regrets or dipping into that bowl of candy at the receptionist’s desk.
3. Don’t leave home without it. No, I’m not talking about your credit cards. For those who travel for business, I’m referring to packing snacks you can rely on without having to break the calorie bank at the airport. Include energy bars that will give you energy instead of zapping it by choosing one with at least 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and sugar that comes from real ingredients like dried fruit. Check food labels to see what you’re really getting.
4. Raise a glass. Dehydration can lead to a lack of concentration, irritability, constipation, bloating, fatigue and weakness – not something you want to bring to work with you. It’s easier to drink water at room temperature than when it’s too hot or cold. Drink herbal tea in a big mug, or enjoy a “mock Sangria” with co-workers by keeping a pitcher of water with cut-up ripe fruit in the office fridge.
5. Catch a smile. The only thing that is truly “one size fits all” is a smile. Happier people are healthier people, so try to drink only from glasses that are half full.
6. Don’t just sit there. As the tech world explodes, the exercise we seem to be getting most of is surfing the web and racing around a keyboard. Exercise will stimulate your circulation, ease digestion and help you think more clearly. Even if you have a desk job, you can take a mid-day walk, stand up and stretch, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. (Jumping to conclusions does not count!)
7. Fight de-zzzzzz. By shutting down before shutting your eyes, you’ll give yourself a chance to decompress. Unplug your computer, tablet, TV and phone at least an hour before bedtime to rest your eyes and relax your mind. Studies show a lack of sleep could lead to a lack of attention, an excess of weight and a host of other illnesses.
[Read: Trouble Sleeping? Ask Yourself Why.]
One of my father’s favorite expressions was “health is wealth.” As a kid growing up, I never really knew what that meant, but now the sentiment behind those words is crystal clear. If you don’t value your health, the amount of money you make at work will not be worth all of your efforts. Invest in your health, and you’ll enjoy the rewards throughout your lifetime. Start by adding yourself to your to-do list today.
Read Bonnie’s other US News & World Report blogs here.
“I don’t have time to eat in the morning.” “I can’t eat so early.” “I don’t want to waste my calories at the beginning of the day.”
Sound familiar? If these are some of the mantras you use each morning, it’s time to change your tune. Ditching breakfast can affect your mood, weight and well-being. Sadly, most people don’t realize the important role breakfast plays in their day until after physical and emotional upheavals have occurred.
According to the National Weight Control Registry, a research study that includes participants who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept the weight off for at a year or more, breakfast is a major key to weight control. The overwhelming majority of their participants – 90 percent – reported eating breakfast at least five days a week, and an outstanding number, 78 percent, eat breakfast every day. Other common strategies practiced by registrants include weighing themselves regularly and exercising consistently.
[See: Avoid These 5 Breakfast Mistakes.]
Breaking your fast in the morning should not be negotiable, and here are just a few reasons why:
When was the last time you had a bad cold or the flu and, at the same time, you had a hankering for a big juicy steak? I’ll bet your answer is “never,” even if you’re a steak lover.
When we don’t feel well we usually revert back to comfort foods – the toast, potatoes, and pasta we were given as kids when we had tummy aches. Our moms knew that these were comfort foods that didn’t require a lot of work to digest and absorb – when you’re sick, your body simply does not want to work hard.
Surrounded by cellphones, search engines, and apps at our fingertips, we expect to get everything we seek with lightening speed. But it’s not just information we want quickly—we also expectweight-loss diets to take effect immediately, and we want our workouts to make us look like body builders as soon as we join the gym.
You may never have to pick up a telephone book or encyclopedia again; but when it comes to losing and maintaining your weight, you’ll need to put in some time. On the other hand, there are some digestive problems that can be controlled in a relatively short period of time just by manipulating some foods in your diet. Although these tips may not “cure” your digestive conditions, this quick reference guide may help keep some of the following ailments from disrupting your daily routines. Continue reading
According to Jewish tradition, everything a person does is written in the Book of Life. No deed goes unrecorded, whether good or evil. During the Ten Days of Penitence, beginning with Rosh Hashanah this Sunday and leading up to the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, we reflect on days past, as well as ponder the future.
These High Holy Days are a time for deep thought, self-examination, and contemplation. What better occasion to look back on the past year and ask yourself: Did I take care of my body?Am I making the healthiest food choices for myself and my family? Am I setting a good example when it comes to my eating habits?
For some people the sound of the shofar—a ram’s horn whose blast signals the end of Yom Kippur—is like the sound of a gunshot before a race: There’s a mad dash from temple to table after evening services. Following the Yom Kippur fast, there seems to be a feeling of “entitlement” to eat one meal that’s the size of three! Would you ever think of going into a restaurant and ordering some cantaloupe, a dish of pickled herring in cream sauce, one bagel with cream cheese and lox, another bagel with whitefish salad, and then topping it off with a piece of babka and a few cups of coffee? I’ve never seen this ordered by one person in one sitting when dining out, but I have certainly seen this array of food consumed countless times by friends and relatives (who shall remain nameless) at my table.
So, you ask, how can you make this diet-challenged event guilt free? Continue reading
Harriet was one of my first patients. She kept a food diary diligently yet she hardly shed a pound. After several weeks, I suspected that she wasn’t accounting for the foods she “tasted” while cooking and entertaining. As an experiment, I suggested that she put tape on her lips while sheprepared meals. Sure enough, to her surprise, she banged into her lips more often than she ever expected. Only then did Harriet realize that total honesty was missing from her daily journal. She went on to change her faulty habit—and lost quite a bit of weight.
Buds are blooming, sweaters are stashed, and calories are cut. It must be Spring!
This is the time of year when many of us realize that the pecan pie at Thanksgiving, pastries at Christmas and Chanukah, and Valentine’s Day chocolates are still appearing somewhere on our bodies. If even the thought of a pair of shorts or a bathing suit puts you in a cold sweat… this story is for you.
I am here to guide you to a diet that will help you shed pounds without feeling deprived. You won’t need to buy fancy products, your food won’t resemble cardboard, and you won’t feel like you need to lock yourself away until the calendar turns to June. This unique plan is called, “The CS Diet” and here are the rules: Continue reading