Accountants’ guide to health & fitness
As the final burst of New Year enthusiasm wears off and going to the gym just isn’t that fun anymore, many accountants are looking for new and effective ways of getting and staying healthy.
With increasingly frantic work schedules and growing national levels of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, finding time to fit in regular exercise is more important than ever before.
It doesn’t help that many accountants are office-bound and tempted by a lethal combination of cake, coffee and alcohol that often plague working life.
Originally prompted by an Any Answer posting (“Fat Accountant”), here we compile a dozen AccountingWEB member responses to help busy accountants maintain an active and balanced lifestyle.
Top general tips:
- Little things can make the difference – One member’s husband managed to lose 1.5 stone simply by cutting out a daily Mars Bar. Many accountants like to be in control of a situation and weighing yourself regularly can help you keep on top of it. Another member added that if you can identify things that you should cut out, then you can cut them out totally. It doesn't need to be forever, but until you get down to your target weight.
- Take the slow approach - If you must lose weight, do it slowly. Forget crash diets as you will always bounce back and end up even heavier. One member asks “does it matter if it takes three years to lose the weight?”
- Keep hydrated - Drink six to eight large glasses of water every day. It seems like a lot, but as one AccountingWEB member notes, it is often hard to distinguish between hunger and thirst.
Top fitness activities:
- Walking – Many accountants will have a relatively stationary working life, so getting out and about to take in some fresh air will do wonders. One member advises not to buy doughnuts from Tesco on Sunday, but instead get out into the countryside and walk to appreciate the world outside the office. A step-counter helped one AccountingWEB user lead a more active lifestyle. Getting a dog could also be a solution to your inactivity.
- Take 3-4 classes a week – Make full use of exercise classes available, particularly if they form part of your gym membership. One AccountingWEB member notes that short intense exercise gives more benefits, particularly in a group motivational environment.
- Keep the body moving – By keeping your body working all day and staying active you will keep your metabolism topped-up. One reader suggested getting up from your desk at least every hour to go to put the kettle on, do some filing, or whatever you can think of.
Top diet tips:
- Have a decent breakfast – Sounds obvious, but this doesn’t mean a large fry-up or “chocco megga flakey things” according to one member. He recommends instead a combination of basic oats and milk (not made in to porridge), which is light when you eat it, but spends the rest of the morning swelling up to keep you from snacking. Another AccountingWEB recommendation actually sounds quite appetising: a mixed bowl of all bran, porridge oats, and muesli topped with berry fruits, sunflower seeds, nuts, a tablespoon of low fat probiotic yogurt and skimmed milk.
- It's all about the carbs – Try to restrict the amount of carbohydrates in your diet - particularly heavily processed carbs, such as white bread and pasta. Vegetable soup with Ryvita for lunch is dull - but life could be worse.
- Stop going to supermarkets – Controversial, but eating “real” food, free from preservatives, additives and other chemicals could be the answer to a more healthy diet. Try and only eat fresh and wholemeal foods rather than processed junk.
Top lifestyle tips:
- Cut down alcohol consumption – While an active social life is important for many people, it doesn’t always have to involve alcohol. It will also come as no surprise to most that alcohol is packed full of calories. One member commented on the directors' secretary at his old company who lost a lot of weight. When he asked her how she did it, she said: “I just stopped drinking wine every night”. Cutting down the booze can be one of the hardest things, but you can still drink - just less often and not so many. Gin & Slimline Tonic anyone?
- Cut down on your daily coffee/tea intake – One AccountingWEB user was drinking more than 12 cups of coffee a day and using full fat milk. By cutting back to a more reasonable three to four cups and using semi-skimmed milk they saved about 500 calories a day.
- Find what suits you and go with it – There is no magic one-size-fits-all solution. AccountingWEB members have suggested all manner of diet plans and books to get you back on track. There’s clearly some good advice within these pages, but everyone’s situation is different.
Top “off the wall” tips:
- Buy and digest a tapeworm - Job done!
- Duct tape, over the mouth - Apparently one member’s colleague has tried it and it works.
- Re-train your wife/husband - Not to buy processed foods - crisps, cakes, sweet bars and cola.
While it seems like an obvious statement, if you’re looking to lose weight, eating less and moving more will start you off in the right direction.
However, it should also be clearly stated that moderation is the best policy if you’re looking for a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
What fitness and diet advice would you give to a fellow accountant who wants to stay healthy?