Top 3 Tips for Busy Professionals

Are you looking to update your health and wellness routine but don’t know where to start? I get it – change is hard.

Shifting your habits, specifically your eating habits, can be overwhelming and intimidating. On top of that, there are thousands of tips and tools that could be of benefit to you – but frankly, the offering is daunting and confusing to say the least.

So what do you do? Where do you begin? Rather than go on a crash cleanse or subscribe to the next fad diet, try finding success with incremental change and building upon it.

That’s how you’ll sustainably change your behaviors. That’s how you sustainably change your life.

I recommend you start here …

Top 3 tips for busy professionals

  1. Eat breakfast – Eating breakfast is the first change to make. And, yes, I know it can be hard. You’re likely rushing out the door; you may not be hungry; and your morning coffee may hold you over until 11:30 am. So why change anything? Well, if you’re running on empty now, imagine how you’d feel and what you’d accomplish if you were fed. Think of your body as a gas tank. You can’t drive a Ferrari on empty. If you eat, when you eat and what you eat at the start of your day impacts how and what you eat later in the day. It also impacts your metabolic rate and hormone levels. Astbury, Taylor and Macdonald (2011) stated, “Missing breakfast causes metabolic and hormonal differences in the responses to foods consumed later in the morning as well as differences in subjective appetite and a compensatory increase in energy intake.” We know skipping breakfast is not an effective way to manage weight (Cho, Dietrich, Brown, Clark, and Block, 2003). Have breakfast within an hour of waking to activate your metabolism and keep your hunger hormones in check. Take a look at the What You Eat Series – Breakfast post for three quick and easy breakfasts. The basic formula is to have a meal that combines complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat. And don’t worry, this can be as simple as 123:

    1. Whole grain toast, oatmeal or yogurt

    2. Nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew)

    3. Fresh fruit (seasonal – an opportunity for variety)

  2. Batch cook – You’re balancing a career, social life, exercise and who knows what else while trying to get 8 hrs of sleep every night. You barely have time to shower, let alone prepare a meal from scratch; to say you’re pressed for time is an understatement. But you can still learn to cook and eat healthfully, in a sustainable manner. Batch cooking can help you get there. It’s a great tool that allows you to prepare quick, healthy meals when all you want to do is sit on the couch and order in. Batch cooking will help you save time (meal assembly allows for quick meals), eat well (cook whole foods), save money (dine out less) and reduce food waste (repurpose ingredients). Batch cook a few complex carbs, 1-2 proteins and some vegetables twice a week. Add in a couple of sauces, spreads and dips to allow for variety. Use your prepared items to assemble grab-and-go breakfasts and packable lunches to get you through the week. Your dinners can even be made in less than 10 minutes. Check out the Is Batch Cooking For You? post for a sample menu and to learn more!

  3. Always pack a snack – In an ideal world, we’d all be eating every 3-4 hours. Just like having breakfast, eating small frequent meals keeps your metabolism running and your ghrelin levels (the hunger hormone) in check. Skipping meals and snacks leads to overconsumption later in the day as reduced eating frequency has shown to negatively affect appetite control (Leidy and Campbell, 2011). But if you’re prepared, you can be in control of how and what you eat. Pack healthy snacks in your lunch, grab one on your way out the door or have a snack drawer at your desk. Find something that works for you. Some great combinations include a piece of fruit with a handful of nuts, a few dates stuffed with peanut butter or raw vegetables with hummus. Additional information and more snack combinations can be found on my recent post, The Power of Snacks.

 

References

Astbury, N. M., Taylor, M. A. and Macdonald, I. A. (2011). Breakfast consumption affects appetite, energy intake, and the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods consumed later in the day in male habitual breakfast eaters. Journal of Nutrition, 141(7), 1381–1389.

Cho, S., Dietrich, M., Brown, C., Clark, C., and Block, G. (2003). The effect of breakfast type on total daily energy intake and body mass index: results from the third national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES III). Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 22(4).

Leidy, H. J., Campbell, W. W. (2011). The effect of eating frequency on appetite control and food intake: brief synopsis of controlled feeding studies. The Journal of Nutrition, 141(1), 154–157.