3 Easy Wellness Tips for Small Business Owners

If You Got Really Sick, What Would Happen to Your Business?

Recently, a friend of mine received a diagnosis that has caused her to take leave from her work and withdraw from all of her many and varied community groups.

In my friend’s case, she is employed so she is able to take leave and concentrate on her health

This got me thinking…  What would happen to my business if that happened to me?

The reality is that my business would go under.  No amount of business insurance would keep it going if I wasn’t working in it.

When I asked some other small business owners they also said that their business was unlikely to survive.

So, what can you do to reduce the risk of something like this?

In the first instance, it helps to know a few facts.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in 20181:

  • 47% of Australians had at least one out of 10 chronic conditions that the AIHW reports on. That is almost half of the population!
  • 67% of adults are overweight or obese! That is TWO THIRDS of the adult population.
  • 51% of the reason people end up in hospital is as a result of a chronic condition, and
  • 89% of deaths are associated with these 10 chronic conditions.

The 10 chronic conditions the AIHW gathers data and reports on are: arthritisasthmaback paincancercardiovascular diseasechronic obstructive pulmonary diseasediabeteschronic kidney diseasemental health conditions and osteoporosis

On the positive side, 38% of this disease burden is preventable and you can reduce your risk by changing your behaviour.

Most of you know that diet and exercise are probably the biggest factors in behavioural change so here are three things you can change do to make a difference to your overall health.

1. Eat Less Sugar

2. Swap bad fat for goo fat

3. Drink more water

Eat Less Sugar

When I say this to a lot of people, they tell me that they don’t eat a lot of sugar, but the difficulty with this is that, usually, it is not the sugar you add to your tea, or coffee, or breakfast cereal which you can see.  It is the sugar hidden in other foods.

There is sugar in bread, cakes, sauces, desserts, cereal, muesli bars and potato chips, for example.  Almost ANY processed food will contain high quantities of sugar.

Another important point about how much sugar you eat is that your liver can only process between 6 and 8 teaspoons of sugar a day.  Around 6 teaspoons if you are female and around 8 teaspoons if you are male.  It is surprisingly easy to overshoot this number, even by just eating a bag of potato chips!

If you do eat more sugar than your liver can cope with then your liver will send the excess to be stored for later, as fat. 

Usually, your body will store this fat somewhere close so it can draw upon the fat when it needs it.  This means it gets stored around your abdominal organs. Nice and close to your liver so your body doesn’t have to expend too much energy getting it back if it needs it, but problematic if you never need it.  This is the ‘visceral’ fat around organs that you may have heard people speaking about.

The reason this is so important is that excessive sugar consumption will lead to diabetes in the long term and affect your health in many other ways in the short term.

Symptoms you may experience as a result of eating too much sugar are things like headaches, foggy thinking, tiredness after the initial ‘sugar hit’ and painful joints. 

All of these, while not life threatening, affect your productivity and are indicators that you are eating too much sugar.

If you end up with diabetes, then you will find yourself having to spend a lot more time in doctors rooms, at specialists and possibly having surgery.

TIP: Start reading labels and choose products with less sugar.

Swap ‘Bad’ Fat for ‘Good’ Fat

Fat has been much maligned since studies carried out in the 1950’s and 60’s concluded that eating ‘fat makes you fat’ and a review paper ‘Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research’2 outlines the sugar industry’s involvement in this.

There have been a number of studies carried out since which dispute this initial finding and it has been shown that it can depend on which fat you eat.

The Mediterranean diet has supported the use of olive oil for salad dressing and low temperature cooking, so this is a much better option than canola and vegetable oil which most people use.

Canola oil, despite its reputation, is not a good choice and recent research has linked the consumption of two tablespoons a day to weight gain and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease3.

The effects of eating ‘bad’ fats are also unlikely to have an immediate impact on your health but in the longer term the effects can be catastrophic.

Heart disease will surely affect your ability to run your business and could lead to you needing to sell or close your business.

While there are many other things that impact your risk of heart disease, swapping olive oil for canola oil is so simple.  Why wouldn’t you do it?

TIP: Swap canola oil for olive oil.

Drink More Water

Adults are around about 70% water, on average.  Different organs may be more, while bones may be less. Your brain, for example, is around 90% water.

If you don’t drink enough water then it is harder for your organs to function effectively and this may result in a number of symptoms.  You may feel tired, have a headache, experience foggy thinking, feel thirsty or hungry – sometimes the messaging in your body gets ‘confused’ and you mistake feeling thirsty for feeling hungry.

In the longer term, being dehydrated can affect your digestive function, kidney function and how your look.

So, how much water should you drink?

That is one of those ‘piece of string’ questions because it can vary depending on whether you are exercising, whether it is hot and what else you are eating or drinking.

A good guide is to be drinking 30 millilitres of water for each kilo of bodyweight.  This means if you are larger you will need to be drinking more than someone who is smaller.

You will also need to take into account whether you are drinking a lot of coffee or tea, which can be diuretic.  They cause you to lose more water through urination than you take in. This means you will need to be drinking more water to combat this. 

On hot days, or when you are exercising and sweating, you will also need to drink more.

TIP: Calculate how much water you should be drinking using the formula 30mL per kilo and aim to drink that each day.

Changing only these three things, and keeping the new habit, can make a significant difference to your long term health and, hopefully, mean that you do not have to go through an experience like my friend has just done.

If you are interested in learning more you can attend my Healthy Eating Is Easy! course.

9 clear steps to confidently change your food choices for healthier options, without being overwhelmed, so you can enjoy a longer, healthier life with more vitality.

Or download A Better Breakfast Builds a Better Body for free to get a great start on your day!