Dieting is always in the media, but increasingly in my industry we are growing aware of how unhelpful dieting really is.
More and more of us being diagnosed with diseases such as type-2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, hypertension and depression, to name a few and that includes your staff. Autoimmune diseases are also on the rise and whilst science is proving that the self-care and therapy objective is helping people to heal, what we can’t ignore is the fundamental fact that a well-balanced diet gives us all our necessary nutrients for optimal health and which is an integral and still overlooked part of the process of recovery and staying well.
Fuel for Healthy Living
Our ability to be well in the future is found in the day to day habits we adopt. From the minute we wake up to the second we go to bed what we do, how we think and what we fuel ourselves with plays a big part in how productive we are, how we treat our lives and the people in it, the amount of rest we will need and the odds of illness occurring.
How much does it cost your business when people are taking time off to nurse a cold or a child’s cold
How would an employee having a heart attack or stroke affect your business?
How much does it cost your business when people are diagnosed with depression or mental health issues?
How much does it cost your business when the afternoon slump kicks in and productivity wains?
How effectively do your staff deal with stress?
How much time do people take off with stress-related or lifestyle issues?
How many off your staff are tired daily?
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people suffer negative mental health and 1 in every 16 are diagnosed with diabetes. Look round your workplace, how many employees are there? How many people in your department or workplace alone would that potentially effect, including you?
Our food has the ability to leave us vulnerable to illness both physically and mentally, or the ability to heal us. Our food choices matter. But whilst we know this it seems society and most definitely workplaces are not understanding how to eat for need, the very fundamental of fuelling to be fit for purpose.
Progress and Understanding
I’ve heard of changes in some kitchen canteens where the fresh food available is of good quality and plentiful. The issue however is that we don’t distinguish a shepherd’s pie lunch for an active worker from a lighter lunch for an office worker. I am not for one minute suggesting an office worker cannot eat shepherd’s pie, but we confusing basic things like eating carbohydrates, binging on processed protein bars and shakes and being scared of fats, fruit and portion sizing. People’s knowledge needs updating to restore balance rather than causing doubt, confusion, low-mood and costing us confidence and health.
Food is our primary source of wellbeing. Understanding the nutrients food gives us and what we need as individuals helps everyone gain autonomy over their food choices backed with confidence which is something diets can’t sustain in people long term.
Looking at our relationship to food and unravelling the mystery of the 3pm slump, the 9 o’clock chocolate binge and why we turn to sugar and highly processed foods for comfort is one of the ways we can make progressive sustainable a quick change. Putting on a workplace challenge for a specific team can help alter mindsets and bad habits.
Marketing myths around food to stop guess-buying the latest marketed product that promises better health for a higher price but never really satisfies in the same way a good home cooked meal does.
Why we indulge in things we know will leave us ill in the workplace and stop us chasing our career goals by inhibiting our productivity.
Why we choose unhealthy sugary and high-carb foods over what we know to be the healthier options, and it’s not strictly to do with flavour!
Wellbeing is about habit and reminders, if anything is going to work for us long term we need reminding and we need to find a habit that we can easily achieve without thought.
In short we need the advertising in front of us daily so our conscious minds catch up with our subconscious mind and we become early adopters of the new habit leading us to individually and collectively buy into and support healthy nutritional habits that help us bond through familiarity, conversation, self-awareness, with confidence.
Changing Nutritional Habits
Our food affects our mood, it affects our productivity, our energy levels, our physiological and mental health and wellness with every bite.
If we are not to bury our current youngest employees with our eldest, we need to help them change their nutritional habits by adopting that habit ourselves.
Bill Bryson’s latest book ‘The Body, a guide for occupant’ it is cited that middle age American workers will die of ill health and lifestyle disease before their northern European peers. In the UK we are closer to the mainstream American nutrition lifestyle than we are to our neighbouring northern European brethren.
Diseases that can be holistically treated with nutrition and wellbeing practices without medication or excessive time of work are all the lifestyle diseases mentioned above as well as suicide which is mental health related, food related and Britons 10th highest killer.
So what would it mean to your workplace to have available a course that teaches the fundamentals of food, food mindset and wellbeing practice?
Lifestyle and autoimmune diseases are on the rise. People suffering chronically from diet and lifestyle related illness are getting younger and younger. Education can help this stop and your workplace thrive.
You can find out more and see details of nutrition courses that address the issues discussed here on the Embrace Life UK website.