Why Work is Running Your Diet
We have never been as connected as we are in 2018 and our roles within our jobs and businesses are expanding and evolving at a rapid rate. This change means leaving work at the end of the day has become a near impossibility for many people. Conference calls from home, emails from the other side of the globe all night long and that nagging feeling that your phone is going to drop a work grenade into your inbox at any second, stopping yet another good nights sleep.
Having worked with a wide range of professionals from a multitude of different backgrounds, I see all to familiar trends appear from those who struggle to get on top of their diet and lifestyle change. Many of these individuals are suffering not (entirely) because they lack the desire to change, but because their work environment is extremely challenging to overcome without a solid plan to implement.
When changing your diet, you need to consider your environment both at home and at work. Who is going to be supportive, who is going to be a hindrance and where in the day and week will you hit roadblocks to your progress and ultimate success?
Highlight Your Road Blocks
Do you get lost in work meeting lunches, or do you have a secret snack drawer for those mid-afternoon slumps? When you are able to highlight these roadblocks you can start planning for them just like any other work based challenge. It is understandable that this might feel like a lot of extra work and that it would be easier to pick up a done for you meal plan or, an all in one diet solution. This might well work, for a while. The problem with this approach as I am sure you are already aware is that it doesn’t focus on you as an individual and never really fits your personal routine or circumstances.
Our work routines are incredibly varied these days and a personalised approach is more realistic for long-term success. Equally, in my professional experience, the majority of individuals I see cannot sustain or deal with the level of dramatic overnight change required in a standard diet plan, hence it doesn’t last very long. Most do better focusing on just a few things at a time, getting them fixed into their routine and then moving onto the next area of their diet or lifestyle having the biggest negative impact.
Common areas I see people struggle are desk drawer and office treats unhealthy canteen food choices, eating on the go without a plan and the ever-increasing requirement to eat and drink at networking events and business lunches.
I also see an increasing number of clients traveling for work meaning they must tackle airport food, time zone challenges, hotel breakfasts and again increased eating and drinking habits above their normal, as they slip into “mini work-holiday mode”.
Remote workers are not immune from this either as I regularly see the worryingly low amount of physical activity on average, from these types of individuals. This low activity coupled with working so close to the kitchen often means snacking becomes a major hindrance to their goals and health in general.
Because so many of these factors are environmental (work) it is not a case of following a diet plan, but, instead analysing your current lifestyle as a whole and building new habits and routines that can limit the impact of these more challenging areas.
This is why when I work with any new client I have them complete a food diary and a lifestyle assessment. This breaks down the clients current eating habits and lifestyle so that the advice is not simply cut some calories and move more if you want to lose some weight (although this is clearly important too), but practical advice that gets to the heart of their struggles and not just the superficial food choices they are making.
Instead, it’s a realistic approach that incorporates all the areas in which they are struggling, quality of sleep, eating habits and routines, daily physical activity, sedentary time, weekly exercise and stress management. This allows us to coach on the bigger areas of their lifestyle and working life which are creating a ceiling to their progress.
Even after all of this, some individuals will still only be able to progress to a certain point based on their work limitations and their willingness to push forward and make the bigger changes to transform their health and lifestyle. This, however, is not an excuse not to try or to live the healthiest life possible. Our health and fitness should not be a second thought or something we always leave for another day, this is why so many of us feel so negative about our body image, self-confidence and how to fit change into our busy lifestyles.
Don’t be a passenger in your diet and lifestyle as you will only end up resenting your job. Take control of what you can, plan for the roadblocks and aim to be the best you can be.
Our pace of life is very unlikely to ease off anytime soon as we pull closer together and the digital revolution continues to tear up the rule books in all industries. If you feel the same way then you should be asking yourself the question, if things aren’t going to slow down then how do I look after myself better for the future? Not answering this question leaves work dominating your health, your life, and your future health as well.
If you would like to learn more about how I work with many professionals in similar positions then why not check out our online nutrition coaching services. We offer a complimentary Consultation in our online clinic and a free Kitchen Audit to help start your dietary overhaul.