Your waistline affects more than your health. Research suggests that the detriments of obesity can extend beyond health and self-esteem right into the workplace. There’s a “consistent wage penalty” for excess body fat and a “wage premium” for muscular body composition.
Fat and Getting Fatter
No matter where you look waistlines around the world are expanding. It’s unfortunate, but true, that the obesity epidemic is taking hold in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. In fact new research shows that Mexico is the most overweight industrialized nation. Nearly one third of the adult population is obese. It’s no surprise that the U.S. comes in a close second with 31.8% of adults and 68% of all Americans clinically obese. Surprising to some, Europe – commonly thought of as thin and trendy – is seeing an uptick in the rate of obesity. In the E.U. obesity rates have more than doubled over the past two decades.
Business and Bodyweight
If you’re wondering what all of these statistics have to do with entrepreneurship allow me to address your concerns. Your health, weight, and ultimately your percentage of body fat have everything to do with your entrepreneurial endeavors. Consider this; carrying excess weight, especially around the midsection, puts you at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Not to mention the fact that belly fat had been linked to an early death.
On the flipside, a regular exercise routine improves performance in two important places; at work and in the bedroom. The latter is self-explanatory, while the former provides cognitive benefits, improves energy levels, and reduces stress. Eating real foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein also play a role in this health equation. That’s because high-calorie, low-cost, processed foods zap energy levels and provide little-to-no nutritional value.
Exercise and Entrepreneurship
From freelancer to startup CEO the benefits of moving more and eating well cannot be overstated. Given the fact that changing our habits and preserving our health is within our control, there’s really no excuse not to be prioritizing your own well-being. If you’re not convinced, ask yourself this question;
How can you take care of a company or client if you can’t even take care of your own body?
Maybe you’ve never thought of it like that before, but it’s time that you start. It’s for your own good. If you won’t other people will. That’s what they’re asking themselves when they look at you. Science suggests that excess weight due to fat is statistically related to lower wages. Because there’s a good chance that employers “believe health and productivity were related” and “high body fat were taken as a signal of possible long-term poor health.”
Getting fit doesn’t mean exercising for hours on end. You don’t have to run a marathon. Heck, you don’t have to run at all if you don’t want to. You just have to move more, more often, on a consistent basis. Build more physical activity into your day. Stop sitting at your desk so much, get up to stretch and walk around. Silicone Valley Syndrome is real; sitting at your desk all day will literally kill you.
It’s time to swap fat for fit. Start doing these things now!
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Go to bed by 11pm. No screens aloud.
- Eat breakfast. Keep it simple – blender, berries, protein, nut butter, done.
- Work, take a break, repeat. Focus wears off after about 90 minutes anyway. When it does, get up out of your chair, walk around, stretch and disconnect for 15 minutes. Then, it’s back to work.
- Get away from your desk at lunch. Eat something healthy – fruit, veggies, protein, healthy fat. And, schedule in some time for a walk outside, even if it’s only 15 minutes.
- Exercise at least 15 minutes, three days each week. Keep it simple – bodyweight and kettlebells, intervals and high intensity.
- Make a home-cooked meal. Sit down and eat dinner with your family.
- Smash your television with a baseball bat; it is useless. At minimum limit TV time to one hour.
What do you say are you ready to change your unhealthy ways? Awesome, I thought so! Keep us posted on your progress in the comments below. And, feel free to ask any eating and exercise questions that you have.