You’re probably familiar with the term ‘freshman 15′, right? It refers to the weight many students put on during their first semester of college. When you start college, you settle into a less active, more sedentary lifestyle. Add dorm food and beer to the mix and you have a recipe for disastrous weight gain.
The same thing happens when you first start a business (or run a business). You now spend your day hunched over a laptop, wolfing down meals between tasks, and sleeping whenever you have free time.
‘Computer butt,’ as the start up business version of the freshman 15 is jokingly called, occurs for two reasons – lack of exercise and poor diet. Sleep habits and stress also play a part.
Here are 10 things you can do to combat that dreaded weight gain and keep yourself healthy as you grow your business.
1. Observe Meal Times
Take the time you need to cook and eat well. When you first start working for yourself, meals are rushed. You reach for the nearest processed food that you can zap in the microwave. But you need to make time for meals. Meal-time gives you a much needed break. It gives you not only rest but also the fuel you need.
Theresa’s Tip: Make the effort to keep eating well, block the time off in your calendar if you need to.
2. Go for Variety
Planning and thinking about meals seems like a drain on your time when you work for yourself. But part of eating healthy is eating a variety.
Theresa’s Tip: Make sure you’re getting many different nutrients and not only eating the same few things.
3. Watch the Snacking
When you have long hours in front of the computer, you’re likely to treat yourself to a snack, especially when working at night. When you get a snack attack, reach for something healthy. Avoid the junk food trap.
Theresa’s Tip: Keep your house stocked with healthy snacks that you can eat easily for when cravings hit.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
When you need something to eat or drink, pour yourself a glass of water. Water helps you maintain your concentration. It offers a healthy drink that’s not sugar-filled like soda. Another nice thing about water is that it can make you feel full, which helps to prevent overeating.
Theresa’s Tip: Try cold water or water infused with fruit or herbs to change it up a bit.
5. Don’t Skip Meals
When you’re busy getting your business off the ground, it’s tempting to skip meals, especially breakfast. But this is not a healthy lifestyle choice. Eat a balanced breakfast and make sure you’re eating lunch and dinner as well.
Theresa’s Tip: Skipping meals can throw your metabolism out of whack and cause stress, do yourself a BIG favor, eat regularly.
6. Create a Simple At-Home Workout Routine
The other leading cause of computer butt is lack of exercise. Decide on a simple workout routine that you can do at home.
Theresa’s Tip: This routine should be something you can take period breaks and do, like stretching, push-ups or squats.
7. Get Active
Go outside and do something active regularly. It’s best to be active once a day but three times a week should be the minimum.
Theresa’s Tip: Try something as simple as a brisk walk that gets your heart pumping, I’ve gotten into this habit. We walk at the end of the work day and it just sets you up for a relaxing evening.
8. Walk Whenever You Can
Take the opportunity to walk rather than drive every chance you get. If you usually drive to a store that’s just a 20-minute walk away, walk it. If you take the train two short stations, walk the distance instead.
Theresa’s Tip: Bring along some music or podcasts to get your mind off of work.
9. Sleep Much and Often
It’s only natural that when you get busy, sleep seems like a luxury rather than a necessity. But you need that time unconscious to balance your stress level and give your brain what it needs to get the work done.
Theresa’s Tip: Make sure that you get enough sleep for you and try to keep a regular sleeping schedule.
10. Watch Your Weight
Even if you’ve always been fit and never worried about weight gain, start thinking about it now. You’ll be surprised at the pounds you put on, even if it’s never been an issue before.
Extra Start Up Business Tip
If you’re like me, you’re in front of the computer a large part of the day. Focusing on the computer screen, a fixed distance, weakens your eye muscles. To remedy this, every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds turning away from your computer screen looking at something at least 20 feet away.
20 minutes : 20 Seconds : 20 Feet
Why? This exercise keeps the muscles in your eyes working hard over the full range of their focus. And guess what?! There’s an app for that! I’ve been using it for a while and I love it, and I think it’s actually think it’s helped my vision. It’s called Time Out.
Building a start up business your days are going to vary greatly. When you switch to the sedentary lifestyle of an entrepreneur starting up your business, you’re bound to put on some pounds. Use these ten tips to stay healthy and to keep computer butt at bay. 😉
Your success is my business!