Working as a healthcare professional can be stressful, hectic, and oftentimes too demanding to focus on maintaining eating habits. No matter how much you want to incorporate healthy foods into your lifestyle, it can feel like there is absolutely not time to do so. And let’s face it, restaurant food is just better. Food choices each day eventually affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. It’s reasonable to think when healthcare professionals take care of their own health, it will help them provide better care for patients.
Here are some ways successful people manage their health while working in healthcare:
Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body.
Our bodies are 60% water by weight, and proper hydration is absolutely essential for our overall health. The daily four-to-six cup rule is for generally healthy people. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
Limit caffeine intake:
Caffeine has been shown to raise blood pressure levels due to the stimulatory effect it has on the nervous system. High intake of coffee for example— 3 to 5 cups per day — has also been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Avoid energy drinks with sugar, to avoid extra calories and a sugar crash.
Don’t skip meals:
Eat smaller, frequent meals throughout the day rather than skipping meals. Remember to always eat breakfast. Not only does skipping meals take a toll on your system, it conspires against you, setting you up for a slower metabolism and crazy hunger pangs that are tough to resist giving in to.
Whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle and strength, meal planning is essential to that success. When you have your meals planned out, you don’t have to cook every day and waste time trying to figure out what to make for lunch or dinner. The benefits of meal planning go beyond weight loss. It’s one of the best things you can do for improving your health and staying organized.
Stick to a diet:
There are a ton of new-age diets out there that claim to be better than the rest. Whether you’re going keto, doing intermittent fasting, or sticking with a Paleo diet, it is imperative to stay accountable to the diet you started as long, as it’s working for you. It’s not necessarily the calories; it’s the habits that you form!
Pack your own meals and snacks:
Pack simple, balanced meals full of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Packing your lunch, compared to eating out every day, is cheaper and is typically healthier due to the amount of sodium in most restaurant meals. Plus if you pack your lunch wisely, your lunch will be much healthier.
Avoid fatty, fried, spicy or sugary foods:
When eaten in large amounts, all fats, including healthy fats, can contribute to weight gain. Fat is higher in energy (kilojoules) than any other nutrient, so eating less fat overall is likely to help with weight loss. Too much sugar can cause you to crash later on the shift.
Relax while you eat:
Being in a relaxed state allows the production of digestive enzymes and lets our parasympathetic nervous system – also known as the “rest and digest” system – do its thing. It’s also important to remember that the gut is super connected to emotions, so having feelings of stress and anxiety when we eat is tied to digestive malfunction. Side note: don’t eat fatty foods if you’re in a hurry; it will not digest well.
Success comes with careful planning and strategy. With these eight tips, you can start your healthy eating habits today. Being a busy healthcare professional, doesn’t have to harm your health. What have you done during your work week to maintain healthy eating habits?
Author: Harlee Toothman