If you’re familiar with the “freshman 15,” you probably realize that staying in shape only gets harder as you have more responsibilities loaded onto your proverbial plate.
How do you fit in time at the gym while putting in all the effort it takes to study for the CPA Exam or be a standout at your firm? Long hours and a stressful work environment have been the downfall of many a young professional’s eating habits and exercise routine.
Even though accounting and health are two words not often heard in the same sentence, don’t run to the registrar’s office and change your major to phys ed to save your waistline just yet. Here are four tips on how to stay healthy while becoming a well-seasoned CPA.
Tip #1: Eat breakfast
You’ve heard it before — “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And according to Mayo Clinic, it is an effective factor in weight control. A decent breakfast (skip the Pop Tarts or doughnuts) sets the tone for the rest of the day and can help avoid overeating at lunch and dinner. Plus, the energy you get from eating breakfast might give you the extra motivation you need for a post-work workout.
With a little planning, even the biggest go-getter has time for breakfast. A mix of fruits, vegetables and protein is a great way to start the day. Try making a dozen hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the week so you can grab one each morning. Instant oatmeal or low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit are other great options and take almost no time to prepare. And if you’re the late-sleeper type, keep granola with dried fruit at your desk for those extra-hectic mornings.
Tip #2: Drink water
Not thirsty? Still drink some water. Every system in your body depends on water. It helps you feel full and prevents headaches due to dehydration. In fact, you might not realize that you’re mistaking feelings of hunger when your body is actually craving more water. If you feel thirsty, you’re actually already a little dehydrated.
Here’s a little number crunching for the future accountant: To figure out how much water you should be getting each day, take half your body weight and divide that number by eight to tell you how many cups of water you need per day. Liquids (like coffee) or water from food count toward that number; just make sure you get some plain old water in there, too.
Tip #3: Don't forget to move
We’re not saying you have to train for a marathon or bench 200. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do say regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate cardio per week, as well as two days of strength training to work all major muscle groups.
And if you want to lose a few pounds, aim for a 3,500 calorie deficit — from a combination of diet and exercise — to lose 1 lb per week. If exercise is new to you, try setting small goals for yourself, and work your way to more intense and frequent workouts.
Tip #4: Snack smart
Snack smart. Let’s be honest, there will come a time — no matter how hard you resist — when you are stressed and you will snack. Keep yourself from getting derailed by packing healthy snacks that you enjoy eating (note: plain celery is probably not going to stop you from wanting that Snickers bar). Choose nutrient-dense foods (fruits, veggies and hummus, nuts, low-fat popcorn, etc.) over snacks like chips or pretzels that barely offer any nutritional benefit.
Remember: The long road to partner starts by taking care of yourself first. A happy and healthy accountant is a productive accountant that everyone will want to work with.
Share your tips and healthy ideas in the comments or check out our Ambitious & Nutritious board on Pinterest.