Late nights, early mornings, one meeting after the next—being an entrepreneur can be so busy it’s not even funny. And if you find yourself being trapped by meetings and burning the midnight oil, it’s likely that certain aspects of your life are being neglected. Far too often, it’s our health that we let get away from us, simply because it’s difficult to even think about adding one more thing to a to-do list. But I’m here to tell you that it’s both doable and not as trying as you may perceive. That’s particularly true when it comes to eating better—it just takes a little discipline. But hey, if you can start your own business, you can do anything right?
Ditch the Processed Foods
One of the first steps you can take toward eating (and subsequently feeling) better is getting rid of the processed foods in your diet. For those unaware of what exactly “processed” means for food, there are a lot of them that you may be consuming on a regular basis, such as certain breads and cereals, bacon, and soft drinks. Now, completely kicking these items isn’t going to be easy, but there are ways to accomplish this goal. For one, opt for the organic options at your local market. They may cost a little more than their processed cousins, but it’s worth it.
That extra cost is particularly offensive if you’re making a mistake mentioned by Inc.com contributor AJ Agrawal. He revealed that most people go to restaurants as an alternative to eating processed foods—but those restaurants may actually be using processed ingredients! You never really know what you’re eating unless you’re making it for yourself, so Agrawal (and a chef he spoke with) say you should try to cook your own meals whenever you can. I’ll talk more about that later in this piece.
If You’re Feeling Bad, Track Your Habits
One woman actually came to the decision to become a small business owner during her time recovering from an unhealthy, always-busy lifestyle as a paralegal in New York City. Jil Larsen developed a skin disorder known as melasma, which caused brown patches to appear on her skin, and figured she needed to change something about her life to get better. The food she was consuming, as it turns out, was the culprit, because a strict diet of juicing with no meat or dairy intake cleared up her melasma within six months.
Larsen then made the jump to being an entrepreneur, opened her own healthy food shop called Magic Mix Juicery in NYC, and has seen success and been healthy ever since. The takeaway is that it’s worth tracking exactly what you’re eating if you have been feeling bad for a week or longer (and it’s not just some random bug). Chances are your diet may have something to do with that, and it could be that you’re overfed but malnourished like Larsen was. In her case, she was trapped in what she called a fast-food desert. Even if the same is true for you, there are steps that can be taken to improve your healthy eating habits (and that could include a stop at Magic Mix if you’re near the Financial District).
Schedule Your Meals and Snacks
Just as tracking your habits could make you realize your diet is the cause of all your issues, properly scheduling your meals could be the next appropriate step you need to take. And as an entrepreneur, this should be a pretty easy thing to adapt. Chances are you’re already scheduling every waking moment of your life anyway, so it wouldn’t hurt to do the same when it comes to your meals and snacks. This is a tip I picked up on after reading through what worked for Farnoosh Brock, who (like Jil Larsen) quit her job to start her own health-related business.
Her eight tips include messages such as exploring what works best for you and staying on track, both of which are certainly important. However, she drives home the point of strategizing and scheduling several times, perhaps because doing so will ensure that you do stay on track for the long run. This can mean anything from literally penciling in your meals and snacks to simply creating meal plans for the coming week to make sure you eat exactly what you know you need to. The concept of meal planning can also help a lot with establishing a tighter budget, something many new small business owners know all too well.
Patti Conner is a freelance writer. She recently completed her MBA program at the Haas School of Business and is eager to help others with the process of obtaining the degree. You can follow her on Twitter under the handle @Patti_Conner14.