Full disclosure upfront: I am not a dietician or a nutritionist, but I do get asked every day what I eat, what diet I follow and what should other people do. I am a firm believer in one size does not fit all, especially when it comes to taste, lifestyle and personal beliefs. But I do think there are some underlying principles that can apply to everyone on a whole, which then also got me analysing my own relationship with food.
This is what I have discovered:
So what is your relationship with food? Do you eat it out of habit? Is it to fuel you, is it your source of happiness or do you eat based on emotion? Whatever the answer, if you really want to make a change then you need to step up, as you are the only one who is capable of doing so.
Corporate wellness programs... do they really exist?
According to a company recruitment brochure maybe, but in reality 90% no. Sadly in 2018 it seems very few employers have managed to get employee health and wellness right. Most healthy "benefits" are fruit once a week or maybe a yoga class, but guess what... that isn't effective!
Through projects I have worked on it turns out that most employees (somewhere around the 80% mark) are not fit, don't exercise and don't eat well. So putting on a free bootcamp at lunchtime or after work will attract the 20% already fit people (who don't need the motivation), and simply be way too intimidating for the other 80%. Point in case with a client I was working with who gave out FREE one-year gym memberships to all 800 employees at a huge cost to the company. How many actually activated their free membership?
26 people! Yes 26 people out 800.
And if that wasn't enough they actually made the decision to renew the all-company gym membership for a second year knowing how little uptake they had achieved.
So what should the answer be to developing a corporate health, wellness and fitness program be? Firstly it should not be one size fits all. Anything relating to this topic is hugely personal and should be treated this way. Providing some bespoke options to employees really isn't anymore expensive than a blanket approach, you just need a good plan and providers to help execute. I have seen a great one in place and the results are truly amazing both for the employee and the company - it is possible.
So where does your company rate with this? I can't wait for the day when there is a Chief Wellness Officer on management teams, only then will we be taking corporate health and wellness seriously.
If you don't get exercise guilt, lucky you!
I would say 90% of my friends feel some sort of guilt if they can't do their planned exercise for the day, and I am definitely at the top of this list. So why do we feel like this? I think it's a combination of a few things.
So as much as it looks crazy on the outside that someone can be so upset just because they missed going for a thirty minute run, on the inside it means so much more to them.
Now as I struggle through my day of being injured and not running (praying that my calf is fixed miraculously today), I am trying to direct my energy towards something that will benefit me in different ways, just without sweating so much. Oh... and maybe the odd workout that is adjusted to only using one leg!
This topic was inspired by someone saying to me the other day... "you're so lucky that you aren't tempted to eat anything bad"
Let's be clear here. I love food as much as the next person and would happily down a donut in 2.5 seconds flat, the difference is I choose not to. And making that choice is still as hard for me, as it is for anyone (that's why I cherish my treat once a week).
So what actually goes through my mind as I was past a bakery to stop me from walking in there? Two simple things:
Sorry everyone but in reality 'luck' has nothing to do with being healthy, that's just an excuse people make to feel better about being unhealthy. Everyone is responsible for their own choices and their own body, and whatever one you make you need to be at peace with.
I was reminded this week that everyone has their own struggles, and a lot of the time it's the people who you least expect who have had the toughest journey. I met a gorgeous young woman on Friday at an event who asked for a photo with me. She then proceeded to share her story with me which revolved around her being thin and on a strict diet for two years (competing in body sculpting competitions) and then resulted in her being too scared to eat when she decided to stake a break from it. This lead to her overeating and putting on weight, which progressed to eating disorders after there was so much pressure with people constantly asking her "what happened"? At 29 years old she is now at a healthy weight but through tears told me she struggles everyday still with her relationship with food.
Sadly, this is almost the norm now for society, not the outlier.
So next time you see a gorgeous healthy looking person in the gym, never judge on the outside, until you know what’s happened on the inside!