To kick off the New Year—and all of the healthy resolutions that inevitably come with it—we asked Eric Wingard, Customer Service Representative and resident sports and fitness junkie at 4CTechnologies, to weigh in on how to stay healthy in a busy workplace.
As a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, I have always tuned in to their games in the evenings and stuck around after the conclusion of the game for a segment called “Ask Teke” which features former Pirates pitcher Kent “Teke” Tekulve. During the segment, fans submit baseball questions that Teke will answer and do his best to explain to the viewers why a play happened, different approaches to the game, and many other things.
In my segment titled “Ask Eric,” I surveyed 5 friends/family/coworkers and asked their biggest obstacles when it comes to balancing work with a healthy diet and exercise. Working 40, 50, and 60 hours in a week can become tiresome and really make it hard to be able to find time to eat healthy and exercise on a daily basis—and for many of them, they made it a resolution to be healthier in 2014. With a few simple solutions, you can make sure that you are ready for “bathing suit season” year-round.
“I’m too busy in the morning to eat before work. Is there something I can do in the morning to jumpstart my metabolism?”
Lace a double: Mornings can be hectic. Whether you are running around after your kids attempting to get them ready for school, making them breakfast with no time to eat for yourself, or have an errand to run before getting into work, sometimes it’s hard to find time to sit down for breakfast. There are a few ways to combat this. Grab a piece of fresh fruit such as a banana or grapefruit on your way out of the door or even keep a stash of protein or granola bars at your desk. One of my favorite things to do is have a container of whey protein at my desk, throw a scoop or two in a bottle, add water or milk, mix it up, and voila! Breakfast. You don’t always need a big breakfast, but rather something to kick start your metabolism. If you are a fan of breakfast sandwiches, as I am, cook one or two at night, assemble it, place it in your refrigerator in a plastic container. When you wake up, grab it, throw it in your back and when you get into work, heat it up in the microwave. It’s as simple as that!
There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get to the local gym, what are some suggestions that I can put into my daily routine?
Turn on the afterburners for a triple: Some of us aren’t lucky enough to have a gym at our work place, or even close by. Others aren’t able to secure an hour lunch break to be able to get to the gym, workout, shower, and be back to resume work. This is a perfect time to get your smart phone out, load a podcast or your favorite musician onto it, put your headphones in, and go for a walk around your office building. A brisk walk has many benefits including reducing your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. According to a study in Diabetes Care, brief 15 minute walks following meals are best to regulate your blood sugar levels. This is especially true after evening meals. Another benefit of walking? It’s free! Gone are the expensive gym membership and “initiation fees,” plus, you get to enjoy the weather!
I am too busy to make separate meals, what is the easiest way to combat this?
Crush a homerun: This one is my favorite….because I love the long ball! If you are anything like me, you don’t have time to prepare separate meals throughout the day. I am constantly on the run, whether it is to basketball, softball, or kickball….yes, I said kickball, and the easiest thing for me to do is cook my meals ahead of time the night before. I then package them in separate Tupperware containers and off I go.
There are always sweets in the break room. Is it okay to indulge in them once in a while?
Take a walk: I had to dodge this one this morning. Coming into the office and going in the break room and seeing donuts in the morning can be a big hurdle. My advice? Take a walk….walk right out of that break room. Now, that’s not to say to never have any sweets. The last thing you want to do is deprive yourself of something that you enjoy: if you forbid yourself from having sweets ever again, you’re bound to fail in your diet resolutions. You have to create a diet plan that is sustainable, and that includes the occasional indulgence! But be strong for yourself, and have sweets only in moderation, as a reward for, say, going on that walk you just took! And the healthier the sweet, the better, like fresh fruit and frozen yogurt instead of that fried donut!
I am constantly going to lunches with clients….what are the healthiest options when out with them?
Smack a single: When out to eat with clients, look for healthier options on the menu. More and more restaurants offer healthy salads or healthier entrée specials. I am a sucker for French fries, but lately I’ve realized how much better sweet potato fries are for you. With healthier being a trend, more restaurants are serving sweet potato fries, which works perfectly for me. If you want a burger, try to find a turkey burger on the menu. Another thing you’ll notice at restaurants are a wide variety of salads, however, some of these can be deceivingly unhealthy. Just because you get a salad, does not always mean it’s healthy. Simple things like choosing grilled chicken over fried chicken can make a big difference in your fat and caloric intake. Also, be sure to shy away from fattening dressings like ranch and blue cheese and never drench your salad in dressing. Remember, moderation is key!
- Eating breakfast, even if it is something small, helps to kick start your metabolism for the day and helps you’ll be able to concentrate on your work better.
- Preparing meals the night before for the next day and packing them in Tupperware can help combat eating out during the days.
- Get a pair of comfortable walking shoes and go for a brisk walk at lunch for 15 to 30 minutes.
- MODERATION IS KEY! Especially when it comes to sweets and condiments on your food.
A few more tidbits:
A cup of coffee in the morning can be good for you. Caffeine can help getting your metabolism started in the morning. Just be careful of loading it up with sugary and fattening sweeteners!
Cut out sugary drinks. A simple practice of cutting out soda and other sports drinks can help you to lose weight. Replace these drinks with water. Not only is water good for you, but it has zero calories and can help you feel full, meaning you’ll want to eat smaller meals.
Allow yourself cheat days on the weekends. Nothing can be more frustrating than completely cutting out your favorite foods and drinks. Allowing yourself cheat days on the weekends can help you be able to cope with this. Once you start eating healthier and exercising, you’ll begin to see results and feel healthier. Eventually, you won’t even want a big juicy burger on the weekends and you’ll opt for a healthier option because it just makes you feel better!