We’re all about corporate wellness and putting your personal health first, but we also know you’re driven, busy and don’t always have the time to concentrate on eating well. You’re always looking out for your employees and clients rather than yourselves. (You’re too humble to admit that, so we’ll go ahead and toot your horn for you!)
Thriving at work isn’t just about your mental capacity – there’s no doubt you have that by the bucket load – it’s about your physical wellbeing too. Imagine having that extra burst of energy to stay a little later at work. Imagine your employees being so wonderfully healthy that the number of sick days taken in your office drops dramatically. Imagine a world in which your first hour at work wasn’t spent stifling yawns.
Come in close, because we have a secret. That world exists. We’ve joined forces with London based nutritionist Angelique Panagos to give you the ultimate guide to health, wellness and productivity so that you can keep up with your busy schedule and feel fit enough to soar in your career.
Angelique knows first hand that sometimes being so driven can have a detrimental effect on our health; by her mid-twenties, her health was on a downward spiral. She was stressed and burnt out from working long hours, and had a very unhealthy relationship with food, going from anorexic to borderline obese.
“I always knew what I should have been eating – I just didn’t do it!” But then something clicked: “I started making small changes and saw a massive improvement in my weight and vitality, and I knew I needed to continue on this journey and share this feeling with others.”
So, having been there and done that, here are Angelique’s top tips for you to pack alongside your lunch this week.
Looking good isn’t the same as being healthy.
There’s a big difference between looking lean and actually being healthy. There are signs you can look for in order to identify certain deficiencies in your diet.
Angelique explained to us that there are so many ‘food-like products’ that come with a huge claim that they’re healthy, but are void of any real nutrients.
So be savvy, and listen to your body, not marketing strategies disguised as healthy living labels: “Our bodies are amazing at giving us signs when we’re lacking nutrients. These can manifest in weak or brittle nails, decrease in hair health and luster, changes in skin health, menstruation irregularities, belly fat that won’t shift, lack of concentration, feeling more stressed and experiencing insomnia.”
Staying strong when there are sweet treats in the office.
The very nature of birthdays is that they do come around every year, and people do like cake. We get that you don’t want to be the office party pooper who refuses to get involved in the festivities, but there are some little tips and tricks to help your waistline.
Angelique suggests having a balanced lunch first and then, if you still feel like indulging 20 minutes later, allow yourself a small piece of cake and move away from the rest of it. Most importantly, don’t eat more than you usually would just because it’s a treat and a ‘one off’ …remember it’s another co-worker’s birthday next week!
Sleep is just as important as food and exercise.
Angelique is adamant that good quality sleep is not optional; it is a necessity. She suggests starting by adding an extra 30 minutes of sleep at night. Not only will you wake up feeling less tired – obviously – you’ll also be less likely to be on a constant hunt for the sugar high that leads you to snack on unhealthy comfort foods during the day.
Snacking tends to be your sugary, refined carbohydrate foods; Angelique explains this in turn has its own negative impact on blood sugar, mood, concentration, belly fat, stress and hormonal health, which can often lead to sending the body on a downward roller-coaster with continuous energy slumps. This defeats the objective of keeping you in the zone and leads to you relying on a constant flow of sugary refined snacks just to keep you functioning.
And if you’re struggling to sleep at all? “Eating a meal which is rich in magnesium can help, for example almonds and apricots, an apple with nut butter, chicken dipped in pesto (you have to plan ahead for this one), 80% dark or raw chocolate or superfood green smoothies.”
‘Fats’ and ‘carb’ aren’t four-letter words.
Don’t be afraid of good fats and carbs. Angelique was keen to stress how much we need them. “We live in a very ‘fat free’ world, and let’s face it, if the promise worked we would all be healthy and supermodel thin. Instead we’re now facing a Diabesity crisis – yes, the word obesity and diabetes, which go hand in hand, have now had to be combined to make one word essentially spelling a health disaster.” As a general rule, stick to natural fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish and olives!
Carbohydrates are also misunderstood. Yes, eating the wrong carbs (those that are white and refined) can cause an entire host of health issues like belly fat and insomnia, but opting for dark and fibrous carbs can have a positive effect. Think brown rice, rye and seed breads, brown pasta and quinoa.
Most importantly, where does coffee come in to all this?
Now, we know we’re meant to drink eight glasses of water every day to help our mental clarity, but what about those inconvenient and frequent toilet visits at work?! (We had to ask). “Spread out your water intake through the day. If you’re drinking a lot of caffeine this could also be what is causing the need for constant bathroom visits as caffeine acts as a diuretic.”
But, wait! Caffeine. What does that mean for our beloved coffee? Luckily, Angelique told us that the problem that comes from our intake is when people consume it in excess, or drink it as a meal replacement. Phew.
Angelique specialises in the management of stress, hormone balancing, fertility, digestion problems and weight. She sees private clients in her clinic as well as running corporate wellness workshops. You can find out more about Angelique’s work as a nutritional therapist, discover more great tips, and get in touch with her via her website www.angeliquepanagos.com.