According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 3 adults in the United States are obese and close to 1 in 5 school-aged children are obese as seen by data collected in September of 2016 and January of 2017, respectfully. Student affairs professionals are feeling the weight, due to an increasing obesity epidemic combined with the often stressful, financially worrisome, and 40 hours plus work style. Gone are the days of a beer belly and relaxed body shape being signs of a retired individual enjoying the free life. Now, many are trying to cope with circumstances out of their control that contributed to unhealthy body images and unhealthy lifestyles. Here are some quick ways to help get back on the right track to being healthy.
Putting Yourself First
There are 168 hours in a week with 50 to 60 hours of work built in for many in exempt positions and especially those working with on-call responsibilities. Eight hours of sleep per night is roughly another 56 hours for the week. With these numbers in mind, most working professionals have about 52 hours remaining in a full week to determine meal prep, take children to daycare or school, enjoy their own hobbies, complete errands, and so on. What are you doing with this time? It is time to look at putting your own needs ahead of others and have an honest conversation to make this happen.
The Balancing Act
Take into consideration the question, “How would you keep a work and life balance during the position?” First, write down your own priorities and needs. Next, put in the priorities and needs of others with whom you are connected. See where these priorities and needs intersect and where they differ.
Making healthy choices and physical activity are important daily and weekly goals that will pay dividends in the long-term care of yourself. Can you go for a walk during a lunch hour? Could you wake up 30 minutes earlier to do a yoga session? Are you able to you hit the gym on your way home from work? Might you be able to do bodyweight activities while you are watching your favorite show? More than likely, the answer will surprise you.
Marathon – Not A Sprint
Getting into shape does not mean doing 1-hour burst-of- speed workouts everyday. In fact, this is probably the fastest way to turn you off from working out! Instead, consider easing into it. According to the CDC, you only need to spend about 4 hours a week between aerobic activities and muscle- strengthening activities. How can this fit into those 52 hours away from work?
Food Is An Important Role
Many people have heard about the 2,000 calorie/day rule that is touted on television and on fast food receipts. This estimation works well for most individuals (with the exception of those diagnosed with an illness or those that have a concern that requires a modification of this calorie level). Therefore, for most student affairs professionals looking to lose weight, the real answer is in the kitchen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture website has a “Super Tracker” browser weight manager to track physical activity daily and food input. Remember, the fastest way to drop weight and stay healthy is through a healthy diet mixed with exercise –not just one or the other!
Some Great First Steps to Healthy in the #SA World
1. Talk with your supervisor about your goals if you feel comfortable doing so. Having a supervisor able to recognize your focus allows them to not only be a cheerleader but also to consider your goals during upcoming stressful weeks.
2. Write down your goals. Most people have a digital format to record information but physically seeing and scratching off activities completed will always feel better than a swipe of a button!
3. Most new habits take a little more than 2 months to become an automatic (and not forced) part of a lifestyle. Be patient but persistent!
4. Find an accountability partner! This person should be someone that you trust will call you out when you are not “feeling it”. They will remind you why you are working out even when you don’t want to.
5. Have fun! Enjoy the ride!
This post is part of our #SAfit series for April. With the constant hustle and bustle of our profession, we can’t forget to put ourselves at the top of our to-do list sometimes. It is essential that we remember to take time for self care and this series highlights how our colleagues work #SAfit into their lifestyles. This can look different for each of us and your journey is your own. For more info, please see Mandi Stewart’s intro post. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series too!