How my jobs affected my food options & exercise

I want to share with you how the 3 different jobs I had affected my food choices and activity level. Why? Because your lifestyle is your CONTEXT. And your context is what triggers your behavior and also what gives you the options you have.

Many people who are trying to lose weight focus on controlling something about their food or going out of their way to do intense workouts. But it may be easier for you to see how the things you choose to have in your life - your job, your relationships, your hobbies, etc., affect your health.

First off, I want to point out that what I will share with you is how I ate AFTER I lost the 40 pounds. The process of losing the 40 pounds involved eating low-stress, energetically balanced meals (which you can learn more about in FOODBOSS if you're keen).

1) Personal Assistant to Floral Designer This was an awesome job. The company provided flower arrangements for high end luxury brands and fashion magazines, so I got to see a lot of behind the scenes of marketing and product launches for new trends.

Exercise: I had to commute 40 minutes by train to and from work every day. About 25 minutes of that was walking, per direction. I was on my feet most of the day working on projects and interacting with clients, so all in all, I walked 10,000-12,000 steps per day (90-120 minutes of walking). I didn't do additional exercise, although I recall going to a yoga masterclass here and there if there was a visiting teacher who I wanted to learn from.

Food: Yogurt Parfait for breakfast, lunch near the office, and dinner purchased on the way home. I didn't cook as much as a wanted to - I was really hungry on the way home very night and there was almost always overtime! The office location was in a high-end area. Kind of like 5th Avenue in New York where it's a street with mostly luxury brands. So whenever I had to grab lunch outside of the office, the food quality was really high (and luckily for me, lunch prices weren't any different from other towns - about $10 USD for a lunch set). It was easy to find meals that were organic or vegan or whatever you need tailored to your body.

Also, another benefit of the job was that there was an organic Danish cafe inside the floral shop (my boss was Danish and the concept of the store was that people could eat in what felt like a sophisticated flower garden and also shop). So whenever work got hectic, I could pick up a Scandinavian lunch of smorrebrod (open-faced sandwich), salad, and fresh mixed juice and eat that in the office.

2) Lifestyle Concierge I also really loved this job - I was a go-between for people travelling to Tokyo and high-end restaurants (like Michelin sushi venues, etc.). But, unlike my previous job, this one was purely office work so I sat at a desk and was on the computer most of the time.

Exercise: I wound up moving to the town where my office was located and I was merely an 8 minute walk away. So, I only walked about 2000 steps per day (<20% of the activity level I had in my previous job). I chose to do exercise dvds at home on weekdays twice per week, and yoga once on the weekends to increase my activity level. So in this case, I had to go out of my way to add in movement to my daily routine.

Food: Since I wasn't moving as much, I didn't feel as hungry as I did in my previous job. I would have some fruit or a smoothie for breakfast, lunch would be something near the office, and dinner would be light such as brown rice and vegetable soup.

I could have taken my lunch to work, but my priority during lunch breaks was to get out of the office for the sake of fresh air. I loved the job but didn't like the idea of not leaving that building for a whole 9+ hours. The lunch shops in the town were standard so I could get a lunch set with a variety of foods, but the quality wasn't there compared to my previous job and it was harder to find things like whole grains or organic foods. Actually, by harder I mean impossible - just didn't exist.

My most hearty meal would be for lunch with colleagues and I would keep it light for breakfast and dinner.

Also, after I started this job and moved to the town, I also took a food sensitivity test and found out that I'm sensitive to wheat and dairy. So I stopped having yogurt for breakfast and opted for rice instead of bread when the opportunity presented itself. Once I started avoiding the foods that I was sensitive to, I lost a lot of that bloated-look in my face and body - I didn't lose weight, but my face looked much sharper and the redness in my skin went away.

3) Health Coach, Full Time I had been a health coach on the side, but decided to go with it full time. Since I created my company mostly online based, my days are spent on the computer all day long (and starting a company meant that I was putting in way more hours than my previous jobs).

Exercise: Since I was sitting at home all day, my opportunity to walk decreased to 0 steps per day. I decided to make it part of my routine to walk 5000 steps every day (about a 45 minute walk) which I really look forward to because it clears my head and is a great break from work. I also do at-home exercise dvds about 3 times per week, and I also found a nearby yoga studio that does early morning sessions which I enjoy going to to start the day off feeling refreshed.

Food: I still eat similarly to how I had been in my previous job in the sense that I eat relatively light for breakfast and dinner since I don't have much activity, and I like my most hearty meal to be during lunch (notice I said "hearty" and not "big" - my meals tend to be the same sizes but the heaviness is what differs). I live nearby an organic supermarket so it's easier for me to have healthier lunches than the ones I had been eating in my previous job.

Reflection:

As you can see, having an active job at the floral company surrounded by high quality food options really made it easy for me to stay healthy despite having a busy work load. The other jobs I have had encouraged me to actively add in exercise and to seek out healthier food options.

I don't think my weight fluctuated much between jobs because I was making adjustments based on what felt right. I think that if I had gone through these changes with my job before I had lost weight, I would have had more anxiety about trying to control everything or complaining about fitting in exercise. But now, I'm out of my head so I don't feel compelled to eat more or less foods based on a diet regime and rather am able to listen to my body - my body tells me when it's hungry and it also told me I needed to move more when my activity level decreased.

So now, I want you to think about your own personal lifestyle.

How is your job affecting your food options and activity level? How about your relationships? Your hobbies? Your chores? Even if it might feel like a drastic change to make alterations to these big parts of your life, if you find that you're not happy with one of them and making a change to a different job would not only make you happy but also create a lifestyle where health comes naturally, it may be time for you to make that move!

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