As we all know, jobs in tech require long hours and a strenuous workload, especially, if we are just beginning with a start-up company. Some of us have kids, some are married, some live alone, but whichever one it is that we come home to, we always find that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, while balancing work and a personal life can be very difficult to maintain. Two areas of focus that can help us all create a healthier work environment includes increasing physical activity and being mindful of our nutrition practices in the office.
Stepping up your level of physical activity
These days, employees work upwards of at least 12 hours and the physical activity usually only involves walking around the office or sitting at the desk. Sitting for long hours may increase weight around the abdomen, which increases one's risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and other chronic conditions. One of the main solutions for this is exercise!
Recommendations include getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week (30 minutes per day- 5 days per week, or 25 minutes per day- 6 days per week). Adding in strength training at least 2-3 times per week will also help maintain muscle mass, help increase fat loss, and protect the bones. Tips for getting more physical activity throughout your busy day may include going to the gym right before work, going to the gym at work (if there's at work) for 20 minutes during lunch breaks or even taking a walk, parking a few spots further than you normally would, taking stairs instead of the elevator, taking more "exercise" breaks to grab water in order to avoid sitting down and being sedentary for long periods of time.
Stepping up your nutrition game
In addition, to finding ways to stay physically active, focusing on our nutrition goals will be equally as important. Some of us are fortunate enough to have catered lunches in the office. Choices can vary anywhere from high fat to low fat food products. Whatever it is that you are provided with at work, it is important to be aware of what is offered and to choose the healthier option (lower in sugar, lean meats, more veggies). It is so easy to grab anything and everything when we are under high levels of stress and tight deadlines. Some forget to eat and end up binging on food when returning home. Others may stress eat all day and end up forgetting how to eat mindfully. During times like these, it will be important to take a step back, remind yourself of the times you plan to eat and stick to an eating schedule. My recommendation to all clients and patients is eating every 3-4 hours. This helps maintain energy levels and gives the body enough time to properly digest food between meals. If for some reason you still feel "stuffed" by the next time you plan to eat, I would listen to hunger cues to prevent overeating.
Using phone applications that help you keep meals and snacks on track will also help you stick to a plan. It can be easy to overdo healthy snacks as well. By portioning them out before work and keeping them close by, you are less likely to choose unhealthy choices at the vending machine or the coffee shop next door (Try: snack sized portions of mix nuts, cut up fresh fruits or vegetables). Making an effort to stay hydrated will be very important too, as it helps ensure healthy digestion and prevents overeating. Keep a water bottle nearby and make it a goal to drink at least 1 cup every 1-2 hours. If you are someone who enjoys hot beverages, drinking hot water with lemon juice will also help! Try sipping on herbal tea as another way to hydrate!
As driven individuals, we have to remember that it takes self-care to be able to reach our potential and to maintain high levels of optimal performance both in the office and for our families. Putting a little more effort into adopting healthy eating patterns and a healthy lifestyle will increase productivity on the job, at home and will help to prevent chronic disease risk while increasing longevity!
Yasi Ansari is Registered Dietitian for Hoag Hospital, where she provides Medical Nutrition
Therapy to patients with a variety of health conditions (orthopedics, oncology, women’s health,
diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disease). Yasi’s dietetics experience has
also included work for USC Norris Cancer Hospital and for UCLA Athletics providing Bruin-
athletes with nutrition counseling and education for optimal performance and recovery.
In addition, to working with patients and athletes, Yasi is a freelance nutrition and lifestyle
writer. Yasi’s undergraduate degree was completed in Mass Communication Studies from UCLA
and graduate degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Nutrition and
Dietetics from CSUN. Her passion has always been to combine dietetics with educating the
masses through one-on- one patient care and the media. Yasi’s content and nutritional guidance
has been featured on CNN Health Media, U.S. News and World Report, The Las Vegas Sun,
Yahoo Media, and FitBliss Corporate Wellness Health Blog. In addition, she has researched
content for KNTV (NBC) News and reported for Daily Bruin Television.
Yasi is a Bay Area native who is currently enjoying the Southern California sun while sharing
her knowledge of health and wellness to patients, clients and large audiences in the community.