Three Powerful Ways to Optimize Health as an Entrepreneur

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘health is wealth’ but have you truly stopped to ponder that? Often my clients find me when their health has failed and symptoms are taking a severe toll on their work life, family life, and overall well-being.
As a nutritionist, you may be surprised that food is not my only suggestion. Yes, food is important, and I’ll get to that, but as an entrepreneur myself I can say that there are other factors in creating optimal wellness.

Make yourself a priority

First, you are priority #1, not your clients or customers. I realize that may not sit well with some of you, but too often I see entrepreneurs put their clients and work ahead of themselves. They overcommit and their health takes a backseat. If you plan on running a successful business for years to come, then you must prioritize yourself.

That may mean hiring someone to prep your meals, committing to taking weekends completely off, or pausing several times during the day to do some deep breathing exercises because your nervous system is shot. No amount of healthy food or supplements will make up for a body that is worn out and exhausted, so tap into what you need each day and put that above all. Ask yourself “what do I need today?” and make sure you follow through.

Eat for fuel, not just for fun

Next, make wise food choices. Coffee is not a breakfast and a bag of trail mix in the car is not lunch. I know, I know, we all love a good cup of coffee in the morning. I have no problems with that. I do have a problem though, with those who drink more than two cups and don’t eat anything with it. The body needs macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Coffee really isn’t providing much of either, and too much will impact hormones. And the trail mix…well that’s enough calories for a mouse.

Take the time out of your day to eat something every 3-4 hours to stabilize blood sugar and fuel your body properly, ensuring that every meal or snack has some protein, fiber and fat. My favorite protein sources are grass-fed and pasture raised meat and eggs, high quality dairy if you tolerate it (raw or at least organic), wild caught fish, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Fiber sources should primarily come from fruits and vegetables, but nuts and seeds as well as whole grains also fit into this category. And fats are found again in meat, dairy and eggs, as well as avocado, olives and their oils.

Along similar lines, minimize foods made in a factory (breads, pasta, cookies, etc). These are what tank your energy, lead to brain fog, and for the women entrepreneurs reading, wreak havoc on our hormones.

Pay attention to your body’s cues when you’re eating. If you notice that you have bloating, heartburn, or a headache an hour after a meal, that’s a sign that something’s not working for you. If this is a frequent occurrence, you may want to consider a food log to troubleshoot the food(s). The body is very intuitive and will tell you when something’s not serving you.

Finally, for beverages, make sure to hydrate appropriately, knowing that we all need approximately half our body weight in water. That should make up the majority of our beverage intake, allowing some room for coffee, tea, kombucha, and occasional ‘treats.’ I have many ask about sparkling waters. Those are fine, but not with meals, and they do not replace plain, filtered water.

Symptoms are gifts

Finally, don’t ignore symptoms, they’re signs from the body to pay attention. Much like a car, we don’t ignore the various lights that come on when something needs attention. Unfortunately, I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs over the years who do ignore these symptoms. They get caught up in growing their business and put their health on the backburner…until they’re really struggling.

I know many of you reading this may deal with symptoms such as headaches, joint pain, brain fog and mood swings, but ignore them until it’s greatly impacting your life. Don’t. Symptoms should be viewed as a gift- they are our body’s way of letting us know that we need some help. When you feel a symptom, remember again to ask yourself what your body needs, and if you truly don’t know, then it’s time to get help from someone who can guide you in the right direction.