Startup life is hard.
We’re not making this up – when you google “startup life is”, the only autofill option that pops up is that very statement.
From constantly stressing about finances, to needing to pretty much DIY everything, to undergoing nerve-wrecking pitches to occasionally disinterested clients – many find themselves questioning why they chose the startup route in the first place.
This is even worse for founders, whose Google autofill option is even more depressing:
But in spite of the hardships, many still find the path less corporate more satisfying than a cushy job, and relish in the smallest of victories because every single accomplishment is solely due to their own hard work.
Working in a startup, however, can bring about changes to one’s diet and health – both good, and bad ones as well. We asked Dr. Ivan Puah of Amaris B. Clinic for some nuggets of advice for startup founders and founders-to-be.
1. You Clock In More Steps In A Day
Owning a car in Singapore is a luxury, and while ride-hailing services are offering promo codes and attractive discounts to keep the costs of getting around low, cabbing/Grabbing/Ubering around Singapore daily for meetings and pitches is simply excessive and expensive.
Our public transport system is efficient (save for the delays and breakdowns), and touches every single point around the island, so there’s really no excuse one can give for not opting for a cheaper, albeit slightly less comfortable means of transport.
Clocking up steps from day-to-day activities, and on a daily basis, is also something encouraged by the Health Promotion Board with nationwide campaign called the “National Steps Challenge”.
Given that their survey in 2010 revealed that 39% of adults aren’t getting sufficient physical activity, the challenge aims to get more Singaporeans active by taking the number 11 bus, as compared to getting ferried around by drivers.
The usually hectic startup schedule doesn’t allow much time for exercise, but one can get a considerable amount of calories burnt by simply choosing to walk!
2. You Engage In More Physical Activities
Courier and moving services can be expensive, and having an office space also brings about the need to keep it clean, but hiring a cleaner can incur costs that otherwise can be saved. Thus, most of the physical labour of starting up is done by yourself and your team.
Sound bleak, but just think of all the physical work you need to do as a low cost, time-savvy alternative to a gym!
The team bonding that happens when everyone is sweating it out and working towards a common goal also acts as a morale-booster, so why not, right?
Advised Dr. Puah, “As long as you are on the move, your body is burning more calories, so keep moving!”
However, while this point and the one before show the ways that starting up could positively affect your diet and health, there are many other ways that aren’t so rosy.
3. You Skip Meals, Or Snack Excessively
Rushing for a proposal, or trying to hit a deadline might sometimes result in you preferring to rush down your food, or worse, skip meals altogether.
Skipping meals will actually affect your metabolism negatively, and replacing them with large ones when you finally find some time taxes your body’s metabolic system, making it harder to lose weight naturally.
Rushing down your meals also makes you more likely to overeat, because your body doesn’t have the time to digest and tell you that it’s already full.
“Drinking water before you eat is a great way to cut down on the portion intake, as consuming water before your meals actually make you feel full and you will in turn feel full without having to eat more.”
Stress and hunger pangs can also lead to snacking, but unless you’re the type who nibbles at healthier options like vegetables and fruit, most snacks on the market are usually laden with fat, sugar and salt.
4. You Have Less Healthy Food Options
Then comes the food choices, or the lack of them, that come with odd-hour and late meals.
Many food options tend to sell out the supply for the day by the end of the lunch hour rush, and later meals usually means that one would need to turn towards fast food options, which, while offering convenience, aren’t exactly the healthiest choices around.
“Make conscientious choices. Some fast food restaurants serve meals under 300 calories such as a combo meal of salad with chicken breasts, cup of corn and a bottle of plain water.”
5. You Drink More Caffeinated Drinks Than Water
Work in general is a tiresome thing, and many of us rely on the jolt of energy that only caffeine can give us.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a cup or two of coffee or tea to start our day, but there’s a tendency to get too reliant on them that we end up neglecting water almost completely. To make things worse, caffeinated drinks are a diuretic, and simply makes our body even more water-deprived – even if our mouths don’t feel dry.
“Our body doesn’t need the often-mentioned eight glasses of water a day, but it does need to keep itself hydrated, so drink water as often as you can.”
There’s also a tendency for one to mistake thirst for hunger, and this in turn leads to an increase in calorie consumption – a double whammy if you’re the kind who stocks up on snacks at your office table.
6. You Social-Drink More
Gone are the days when business deals are forged over a game of golf.
These days, creating relations with both clients and peers usually takes place while networking over drinks. Perhaps alcohol helps people to let down their guards and ease any tension, but when such meetings happen a few times a week, that’s when one’s health will be negatively affected.
We all know about long-term effects like liver damage, a higher blood pressure and the occurrence of stomach and intestinal ulcers – but did you know that it can bring about weight gain too?
“A pint of beer is an equivalent to 7 slices of bread. If you need to social-drink, opt for water mixer rather than soda. Go for lite or low-calorie beer.”
7. You Don’t Have Time Or Energy To Exercise
We all know exercise is good for us, but how many of us actually have the time or energy to do it?
“If you don’t have time or energy to exercise, why not try standing up when you are working? Not only does it help you battle post-meal sleepiness, it also burns more calories than when you are seated in your chair.”
When your whole day is spent clearing emails and meeting clients, even the most tedious exercise session can feel like a luxury. It also doesn’t really help that while most gyms close at godly hours, your work day hours still remain ungodly.
There are some who can find the energy (and sheer discipline) in the mornings to get a gym session pat down before work, but for many, getting a decent amount of sleep is really more important.
Losing Weight – The Time-Savvy, Entrepreneur-Friendly Way
But this doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs have to sacrifice their health for the dream of changing the world with their ideas.
Exercise is only effective if done regularly, healthy food options aren’t very easy to come by, and the pressure of managing a startup can easily lead to the neglect of one’s health and diet – so the best way to go about it might actually be to outsource your health and weight management.
Amaris B. Clinic wants to do that with their RE:SHAPE Body360 weight management programme, which combines the potent use of medicine and non-invasive body treatments to help patients lose the weight to achieve a healthy frame.
One that isn’t just attractive, but less prone to health problems as well.
Coupled with meal management, patients would be able to enjoy long lasting weight loss results after undergoing the programme.
As a startup founder, a thousand problems (and potential ones too) plague you daily, but now, taking care of your diet and weight could potentially be one less off your never-ending list of to-dos.
This article was written in collaboration with Amaris B. Clinic.