This post will deviate from my normal stuff. But, there is something important that we must discuss – your health. Yesterday, I read a new study on the global diabetes epidemic which I cannot get out of my head. The study highlights that the global number of Type II diabetes cases has more than doubled to +350 million, and that at least 10% of the world’s population now suffers from this disease. Projections are that this figure will double again in the next 15 years. Clearly, this is a major problem, but there are steps each of us can take to help minimize the risks of Type II diabetes, and other diabetes related health issues.
First of all, get good medical help. If you are worried, or think you are at risk, see your doctor ASAP. Get tested regularly so that your doctor can establish your baseline and monitor any changes. Please, do not wait if you are at risk for any disease!
Second, getting regular exercise helps, but, it is not the ultimate solution. Studies have shown that up to 80% of weight management is due to diet. Still, I want you to exercise – walk, hike, run, yoga, pilates, and cross fit are all good programs that you can do for +1 hour, 4 x’s per week, even with your busy schedules. But, there is still more…
I am not a dietician so my thoughts on how to optimize what you eat are not based on years of schooling and study. However, based on my work with a San Francisco based Weight Management firm, and from my own studies on the subject, I recommend you entertain the following rules (should be discussed with your doctor or registered dietician before you start):
Rule 1: Avoid all added sugars. This means avoid foods such as cakes, muffins, sweets, breakfast cereals, etc..
Rule 2: Never eat fast food. I bet that 90% of you can make a hamburger at home that is better than one you can get out at a fast food restaurant. So, plan your meals, schedule time to shop and cook, and avoid fast foods. You are experts at planning – cooking and eating need a plan.
Rule 3: Limit your carbs, and when eating them, focus on whole grains carbs and nuts. Do not eat white bread, or highly processed cereal foods.
Rule 4: Check the ingredients on the back of whatever you pick up at the food store. If there are names listed that you cannot pronounce, then please avoid this food, as these are chemically produced substances which are not great for your body.
Rule 5: Eat 2 to 3 different fruits per day. Avoid grapes and bananas if possible (they are high in sugar). Great to have an apple as your morning snack. Variety is important, and will stop you from getting bored with your fruits.
Rule 6: Meat is ok in small quantities. Follow the FDA guidelines of no more than 4 ounces of meat (steak, pork, chicken, lamb), per day. I know this is a small amount, but, get good quality cuts and really enjoy the smaller portions.
Rule 7: Avoid all sodas, pre-canned drinks, and water drinks. They all have sugar or an equivalent chemical that alter the health benefits of regular H2O.
Rule 8: Drink 8, 8 ounce glasses of filtered water per day. If you exercise, drink 8 ounces just before you start, and 8 ounces when you are finished. Your body needs to be replenished often, do not skip this one. We filter with Brita, there are many good options out there.
Rule 9: Eat at least one (two is better), vegetables with lunch and dinner. Choose green leafy vegetables if possible, but look for ones with different colors. Carrots and corn are a little high in sugar, so eat in moderation. Try to eat at least one good-sized salad per day. If you have to, dress your salad up with something…maybe, some crumbled goat cheese, or some added protein (chicken breast, 4 ounces or less). Make the salad taste good and you will want another tomorrow.
Rule 10: You can have 2 to 4 alcoholic drinks per week. The means 2 to 4, 6 ounce glasses of wine, or 12 ounces bottles of light beer. Alcohol has carbs that pack on the fat so use it sparingly.
Finally, do not stress about your diet – if you fall off the wagon for a birthday weekend or a holiday feast with your family, do not worry – tomorrow is another day, and there can be slag in your plan.
I ask all of you to take care of your health, monitor your bodies, and know the risk triggers. You work in high stress positions, and time is at a premium, so take control of your health, make a plan, use all the medical resources that are available, set goals, and complete your schedule.
Make it a great day friends!