Nutrition and Food

Meal Prep Guide for Busy People

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A lack of time and a busy schedule are some of the reasons why people don’t cook and order take-out. These habits can cost us money and health.  In comparison, people who eat home-prepared meals have a healthier diet, consume fewer calories and are less likely to gain weight! [1-3] And for those with conditions like high blood pressure – which is about ⅓ of American adults – meal prep can help create delicious and healthy meals that are lower in sodium and higher in potassium.

What’s the solution? Well, you guessed it (hint: it’s in the title) – Meal Prep.  There are numerous benefits to meal prep and planning that include saving time and money, maintaining a healthy weight, gaining a nutritious diet, and reducing stress that comes with rushing and having to make last minute meal decisions.  

Meal planning is the key to success
for a nutritious diet.

But if lack of time is the main reason we don’t cook, then you must be thinking, how would meal prep fit into your busy schedule? This post will discuss ways to make meal planning simple, easy and work for you!

Step 1: Set yourself up for success

Lists and Planning

Create a list of healthy recipes you and your family will like.  Use a calendar or spreadsheet to organize meals and shopping lists. “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl” is a wonderful free resource to browse recipes, save them and even add ingredients directly to a shopping list associated with your account.

Use whatever method works best for you.  Here at B.Komplete, we love our Meal Prep Formula for planning healthy, balanced meals. It’s also helpful for understanding portions.

5-day Meal Prep Chart
For 400 and 550 Calorie Options
Formula: (1 grain) + (1 Veg) + (1 Meat/Seafood/Veg protein) + (1 Fat)
Grain/Starch Choices
400 cal = ½c cooked
550 cal = 1c cooked
Vegetable Choices
1 c cooked
Protein Choices
Fat Choices
1 Tbsp per 2-3 protein choices
Protein
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Seafood
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Vegetarian
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Black Rice
400 cal: 1c uncooked = 3c cooked
550 cal: 2c uncooked = 6c cooked
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Prepare 2.5 cups each
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Garlic + Rosemary
400 cal: Prepare 5-4 oz breasts
550 cal: Prepare 5-6 oz breasts
Wild Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Thyme Grilled Tofu with Turmeric and Smoked Paprika
400: Prepare 2.5c
550 cal: ~3.75 cups
Olive Oil (good for sauteing)
Brown Rice
400: 3/4c uncooked = 2.5c Cooked
550: 1.5 Cup Uncooked = ~ 5 Cups Cooked
Carrots and Green Peas
Prepare 2.5c each
Grilled Chicken with Ground Ginger
400: Prepare 5 – 4 oz. breasts
550: Prepare 5 – 6 oz. breasts
Wild Salmon with McCormick Salmon Seasoning Chick peas with Olives and Basil
400: Prepare 2.5c 
550: Prepare 3.75c
Canola Oil (All Purpose)
Quinoa
400: 1c uncooked = 3c cooked
550: 2c uncooked = 6c cooked
Asparagus
Prepare 5 Cups for Each
Baked Lemon and Parmesan Chicken
400: Prepare 5 – 4 oz. breasts
550: Prepare 5 – 6 oz. breasts
Baked Red Snapper with Black Pepper, Garlic, and Parsley Lentils with Basil, Sun-dried Tomato and Oregano
400: Prepare 2.5c 
550: Prepare 3.75c
Avocado Oil (Good for Grilling and Roasting)

 

 

Instructions on using the Meal Prep Formula Chart: cook the amount shown under the chosen item within each food group to then have enough meals for 5 days.

Examples of 400 calorie meals using the above formula  (1 grain) + (1 Veg) + (1 Meat/Seafood/Veg protein) + (1 Fat)
  • ½ cup Black rice, 1 cup carrots and green peas (prepared with canola oil), 4 oz grilled chicken with ground ginger
  • ½ brown rice, 1 cup asparagus (sauteed with olive oil) 4 oz wild salmon with lemon, capers and thyme
  • ½ cup quinoa, 1 cup cauliflower and broccoli (roasted with avocado oil), 4 oz grilled tofu with turmeric and smoked paprika

Now it’s your turn! Create your own table to breeze through your week with the magic of meal prep.  If this seems complicated, we have you covered.  Schedule a meal-prep planning session with one of our Registered Dietitians.  

Tools and Supplies

Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need for prepping, cooking, and storage.

  • Large pots and saute pans, large baking/roasting sheet pans
  • Cooking utensils, knives, measuring cups
  • Large casserole dish
  • Meal prep’s best friend is a slow-cooker: Crock-Pot or Instant Pot.
  • Food Processor
  • Food containers to maximize convenience and minimize hassle.  Glass containers are a great option. When choosing containers, consider ones that are:
    • Reusable and dishwasher safe, and microwaveable safe if planning to heat
    • Well sealed to prevent leaks if there are liquids, such as salad dressings added to your meal
    • Able to keep food odors locked in
    • Easy to use and portable
    • BPA-free

Step 2: Schedule day(s) of the week

Choose which day(s) you will 1) plan your menu and meals, 2) write out a grocery list, 3) grocery shop, and 4) cook and prepare the meals. This may be done all in the same day or broken up between a couple days. Do whatever is manageable for you!

Step 3: Plan your menu and meals for the week (or month!)  

First, take inventory of your fridge, freezer and cupboard.  Try to use up leftovers and ingredients you already have — focus on utilizing items about to expire — because you don’t waste food.

Another hassle-free (and fun!) idea is to follow themed meal days such as: Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Breakfast for Dinner Wednesday, Stir Fry Friday, Slow Cooker Saturday, or pick your favorite meal for [insert favorite dish here] Sunday. Themed meals takes the guesswork out and you can choose any day of the week to schedule it a theme.  Need help making sure you are choosing healthy recipes? Check out the Healthy Eating Plate as a simple reference on eating nutritiously. Or schedule a counseling session with one of our B.Komplete Registered Dietitians.

Step 4: Grocery list & shopping

Plan to scale up the recipe so that it will last you a couple days of dinner and/or lunch, or freeze to have another week.  Again, making sure to account for items you already have on hand, create a grocery list. And then, go grocery shopping! Another benefit of using a grocery list is that it will help save time and money and reduce impulse purchases!

You can use already formatted lists like this one to the right (which you can type directly into it, or print it out to hand-write). Another fantastic option is to use a note keeping app for your phone or computer like Google Keep.

Step 5: Meal prep time

There is no one method. You can cook and assemble the entire meal or just prep some of the ingredients (eg. chopping veggies, cooking rice and pasta).

Methods
  • Buffet-Style. Prepare ingredients separately, protein, veggies, grains and mix-match in meals throughout the week. The meal prep formula table above is a wonderful tool to assist with this style of meal prep.
    • Ideas: Steam or roast few of your favorite veggies, cook some rice or quinoa, and bake chicken or salmon.  Mix-and-match ingredients for a balanced and nutritious dinner.
  • No-cook assembly. This is a great option when using a slow-cooker.  Chop ingredients and throw together in a container or freezer bag to store in fridge or freezer.   Then when you are ready to prepare the meal, just empty the bag into crock-pot. Easy peasy.
    • Ideas for no-cook assembly (and batch-cooking): veggie chili, stews and soups
  • Batch-cooking.  Basically, this when you prepare larger quantities of food to last several meals/days. With this method, you’ll cook the entire meal — so when 6:00 PM on Wednesday rolls around, you just heat and eat.

Step 6: Storage

Storage is the final step (before eating!) and is critical to maximizing the benefits of meal prep — and important in food safety too.  Make sure you have plenty of large containers if you plan on batch-cooking.  Other necessities include large freezer bags, and containers in a variety of sizes.

When prepping lunches, portion meals into containers you can just grab and go during the week.  It’s a sure way to enjoy a good lunch break during a busy work day!

Written by Meghan E. Smith, Dietetic Intern

Leave us a comment below and tell us how you incorporate meal prep into your week or share your S.M.A.R.T. goal!

Nutrition and Food

Healthy Hydration Hacks

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We all know that drinking water is a good – and essential – thing to do.  But how much do we need to drink?  And, besides water, what are the best beverages and foods to hydrate us?  And, what is the most convenient and delicious way to flavor water?  We have you covered in this post – our top tips for healthy hydration hacks!

Hack #1: How Much Water Do We Need?

Your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, your age, how active you are and where you live.  No single formula fits everyone. Knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of our daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

Hack #2: Besides Water, What Fluids Hydrate Well?

While water reigns supreme for hydration, and can do the trick almost every time, we all get tired of just drinking water.  There are quite a few additional beverages you can add to your list for hydration helpers.

  • Milk.  Whether you pick dairyalmondcashew or soy, milk can provide an excellent source of hydration.  Look for varieties with no-added sugar.  Milk is a good post-workout drink as it can provide protein and carbohydrate which is needed for your muscles.  In one study, drinking (dairy) milk helped people retain a third of the fluid they consumed over a two-hour follow-up period, and remain hydrated for over four hours.  In this study the researchers found that milk was better than water for re-hydration, and is more effective at countering dehydration.
  • Sparkling Water.  Just adding a little fizz can make water more interesting.  While sparkling water may not be ideal pre-, during or post-workout, it is a great option for when you are going out and need to reduce the alcohol you are drinking.  Sparkling water can be great with meals and snacks during the day.  There are some delicious commercial options, and you can DIY at home.
  • Tea.  Whether you like black, green or herbal, tea can help with your hydration goals.  Teas that are caffeine-free are better at hydration versus those with caffeine.  There are countless ways to enjoy tea, you can enjoy a RTD variety like Honest Tea or Pure Leaf (look for the unsweetened varieties), loose leaf or bag teas, and sachets with tea.  Our favorite herbal teas include Yogi Tea’s Lemon Ginger, and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.  
  • Coconut Water.  In really hot and humid weather or in a workout when you sweat a lot, you could need a little hydration with some added electrolytes.  Electrolytes are minerals that our bodies need to maintain balance and include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  Coconut water provides potassium and sodium.  Look for a brand that has no added sugar varieties like Harmless Harvest and Zico.  You can get electrolytes through fruits and vegetables also like bananas, melon, citrus, green leafy vegetables, and beets.  
  • Juice.  Juice is hydrating, and to lower the sugar content you can dilute with water.  Fresh juice is a good option, and may not have added sugar.  Check out BluePrint for some wholesome juice options.  All foods and beverages can fit into a healthy lifestyle.  If you are not sure how much sugar to be consuming, we can help you.  Email us at info@bkomplete.com to schedule a session with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. 

Hack #3: Flavor Your Water

Making water more “fun” is easier than ever to do.  You can slice up your favorite fruit – orange, lemon, strawberry – and add to your water bottle or glass.  For a savory twist, try sliced cucumber and lemon in your water – delicious, refreshing, and a little different.  

Another option that we love at B.Komplete is to flavor our water with Stur Water Enhancer.  Our favorite flavors are Coconut Pineapple and Boldy Blue and Blackberry.  Just a few squirts, and your water will take on a vibrant flavor and color.  Your kids will like this too!  Using Stur is the perfect way to encourage a picky drinker to enjoy water.  

Hack #4: Hydrate with a Smoothie

Smoothies are a delicious way to add nutrients and hydration into your diet.  A smoothie can be as simple as throwing some ice, fruit and milk into a blender and blending until smooth – to as complex as adding ancient grains, fresh herbs, and organic protein powder to make a masterpiece (but, will that taste good?!).  Our tips for the most hydrating ingredients to add into your smoothie include: water, any unsweetened milk (dairy, almond, cashew or soy), veggies (try spinach, cucumber, celery or kale), and – of course – fruit (try oranges, berries, and melon).  Check out our recipe for a scrumptious Pineapple Smoothie and visit the Green Blender Recipe Blog for several hydrating smoothie recipes.  

Whichever options you try, let us know in the comments below!  The most important thing is to stay hydrated, in a healthy way, all year round.  If you find it hard to remember to drink water, perhaps add it as a reminder in your calendar/phone each hour.  Healthy hydration is the foundation for physical and mental activity.

Corporate Wellness

Why a Corporate Wellness Program Will Work for Your Company

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The success of any company depends on its people. And the ability of your workforce to perform at a high level consistently is supported by a positive workplace environment.  The B.Komplete Corporate Wellness Programs drive positivity, inclusion, and solutions for each company we work with.  The introduction of our Wellness Program has been successful and our results are beneficial for both the employee and the employer. Our Wellness Program takes a holistic approach to wellness, and focuses on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the employees we service.

What is a Corporate Wellness Program?

Wellness is no longer a consideration solely for the self-funded company, but instead the solution sought out by all businesses, self-funded and fully insured.  As defined by the Center for Disease Control “workplace health programs are a coordinated and comprehensive set of health promotion and protection strategies implemented at the worksite that include programs, policies, benefits, environmental supports, and links to the surrounding community, designed to encourage the health and safety of all employees.”  A diverse range of benefits are offered under the label “workplace wellness,” from multi-component programs to single interventions, and benefits can be offered by employers directly, through a vendor, group health plans, or a combination of both.  It is no secret that health care costs have ranked among the top concerns of employers for more than the last decade. There is good reason for this concern – health care costs have outpaced inflation for years, and employers often bear the brunt of these costs.  Read more about on blog on “How to Select the Best Corporate Wellness Program for Your Company.”

If led and monitored correctly, a wellness program can not only save your company money, but can turn into an educational, social, and supportive addition to the workplace environment and culture.

The Top 5 Reasons Corporate Wellness Will Work For Your Company

  1. Driving Sustainable Behavior Change: Unhealthy behaviors lead to health risks and conditions, which ultimately leads to increased health care costs. A well-done, on-going corporate wellness program will identify unhealthy behaviors and help the group and individuals adopt and improve their behaviors and actions.  There will be follow-up, goal setting, customized solutions, and coaching along the way. 
  2. Reduction of Health Care Costs: One of the biggest reasons for a corporate wellness program is the reduction of health care costs. This does depend on the effectiveness of the program, and if done right, the savings from the participation in the program will be much greater than the actual cost of the program. A positive ROI (return on investment) means a far more productive and much happier workplace.
  3. Increased Worker Productivity: Poor Productivity at work, also known as “presenteeism,” means being at work physically, but not working efficiently. Interestingly, the cost of presenteeism is much higher than absenteeism. From numerous smoking breaks to distraction about health concerns, poor employee productivity has a negative impact on the business productivity and workplace culture. A well-done corporate wellness program can focus on improving this metric. 
  4. Improve Employee Retention: For businesses to thrive in today’s economy, finding and retaining the best employees is important. Benefits play a large role in employee retention, and employees want benefits personalized to their needs.  The cost of losing an employee can be high; Some studies (such as SHRM) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.  Many employees love their corporate wellness programs and teams leading the events.  An excellent benefit to provide for your workforce are having ongoing wellness events – cooking demonstrationsoffice yogachair massagecoaching and more. 
  5. Improving Workplace Culture: Holistic wellness programs that inspire mindfulness, stress management, health and vitality in the participants yields a happy group of people – thus corporate culture will be improved.  When employers truly value their workforce, they acknowledge the importance of physical, mental and emotional health. A corporate wellness program should offer a variety of solutions to best meet the needs of each employee population, and inspire improvements in workplace culture.   

Whichever reason speaks to you – from reducing healthcare costs to improving company morale, the benefits of a wellness program are countless.  Here at B.Komplete we focus strongly on meeting and exceeding the needs of our Clients, and driving healthy and sustainable improvements in the employee population.  For more on corporate wellness please visit information about our programs. To schedule a complimentary consultation call to discuss a corporate wellness program for your group, please email us at info@bkomplete.com.

Nutrition and Food

Your Go-To Guide to Essential Oils

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Essential oils were used in folk medicine throughout history, dating back to use by ancient civilizations BCE. Oils  have recently been gaining popularity as a natural, safe and cost-effective therapy. The use of essential oils can be another wellness technique to add to your lifestyle.  

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils (EOs) are not FDA approved. Unlike drugs, they are not intended to cure, diagnose, prevent, or treat diseases. However, they can be great when used in a complementary manner, as long as you are mindful of any drug interactions.  When in doubt, speak with your Primary Care Physician.

Essential oils (EOs) are concentrated and are marketed to have ‘powerful health benefits.’ They contain various chemical components, in which, are absorbed by the body. Additionally, they can be absorbed by four routes via olfaction, through the skin (both externally and internally), and by ingestion. They can be used aromatically, topically, and internally.  There is a whole study that focuses how EOs are absorbed, called pharmacokinetics.

Aromatic

Inhaling EOs is the fastest method of getting EOs into your body. Components can travel to your lungs, brain, or both. Inhalation can be direct (only to you) or indirect (to a room of people).

Direct Inhalation without steam

  • Aroma sticks– add 15-20 drops EO onto the wick, place wick inside inhaler
  • Aroma patches– apply patches to skin, preferably on collar bone
  • Aroma packets– open packet to breath in contents
  • Aroma ribbons– can be attached to anything, such as pillows for a comfort aroma
  • Cotton balls– add 1-5 drops of EO to a cotton ball and inhale for 5-10 minutes

Direct Inhalation with steam

  • Steam water– add 1-5 drops of EO to a bowl containing steaming water. Place head over bowl and place towel over your head, inhale for 10 minutes

Indirect Inhalation

  • Room fresheners– add 1-5 drops of EO to a bowl containing hot water and place in a safe place
  • Burners– fill container suspended above with water and add 1-5 drops of EO 
  • Fans– add 1-5 drops of EO to a pad, place inside the fan
  • Humidifiers– fill container with water, place EOs on a tissue in the direct pathway of the exiting steam
  • Diffusers– add 1-8 drops of EO; they deliver micron-sized essential oil droplets in the air 
  • Nebulizers – drops of undiluted essential oils are placed inside glass attachment, most do not use heat 
  • Spritzer Sprays– add essential oils in water inside a spritzer spray bottle, important to shake bottle for even distribution
  • Aroma stones– they gently warm essential oils

Topical

The amount that is absorbed through your skin depends on skin permeability as well as concentration of EO used. For example, EOs that are diluted in a carrier oil (used for dilution and application) are absorbed slower than undiluted EOs. EOs are absorbed faster when the skin becomes thinner and or damaged by systemic disease, dermatological problems, injury, and dehydration. Avoid applying EOs to damaged skin, as it is absorbed more readily and can have adverse effects. Moreover, less is absorbed during periods of stress because stress results in vascular shut-down. Whereas, dilated blood vessels caused by friction from stroking or massaging, can increase EO absorption, except when the body is trying to lose heat.  Always use caution if you select to apply an EO topically; some may need to be diluted, some should not be applied to certain areas, some EO’s may make your skin more sensitive, and some could even cause an adverse reaction.

What Does the Research Say?

EOs are used to treat or relieve stress, pain, dental issues, infection and/or inflammation (ex. sore throat, vaginal and urinary infections, gastrointestinal issues (ex. IBS, nausea and vomiting), insomnia, anxiety, and promote well-being. However, according to research, there is a lack of studies to support EO effectiveness. Most studies had a small sample size, which may not be reliable. There is a need for more well‐designed, large‐scale randomized controlled trials, before conclusions can be drawn and recommendations can be made for clinical use. Regardless of the insufficient amount of data regarding their effectiveness, EOs continue to be used for the healing properties all around the world.

Tips on How to Use EO's

Blending EOs is an art, as it requires training and experimentation. Typically, oils from the same botanical family blend well. The order in which the oils are blended is key to maintain desired therapeutic and chemical properties and fragrance. Your oil blend should be stored in dark-colored glass bottles. If you are not familiar with mixing, it is encouraged to layer the individual oils, by applying one at a time, rubbing it in, and then applying another oil a few seconds after.

If dilution is necessary, a carrier oil may be needed. Carrier oils are naturally derived from plant sources. They have a neutral smell and do not evaporate like essential oils, making them an great medium for dilution and application purposes. The purpose of carrier oils is to reduce the concentration and absorption rate of the EO, at the same time not changing any therapeutic properties. Dilution is especially important for infants and children.

Some examples of carrier oils include: V-6 mixing oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, arnica oil, rosehip oil, broccoli seed oil, flaxseed oil, magnesium oil, evening primrose oil, cocoa butter and shea butter.

Lastly, not all essential oils are created equal. In fact, most of them are of poor quality and are often synthetic. When you are ready to purchase essential oils make sure they are certified USDA organic, 100% pure, therapeutic grade and indigenous sourced.

Here are some brands that you could try:

There are many other different brands.  Some are more expensive, and some are subscription based.  Select the option that best works for your budget and lifestyle.  

In conclusion, we enjoy using Essential Oils for stress management and mental clarity.  Please understand the research on EO is highly limited, and EO should not be considered a medical treatment.  Speak with your health-care provider for any individual questions.

If you are more interested in EO’s and would like a live event held at your company, we have the solution!  B.Komplete offers Wellness Awareness Stations on Essential Oil and Stress Management, and we also have a Seminar to discuss Alternative Medicine.  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to book our inspiring services for your company.  

Corporate Wellness

Exercise Can Benefit Your Workday – and How to Fit it in

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Have you ever thought about how long you sit throughout the work day? If you are like most Americans with sedentary jobs, that doesn’t expose you to enough movement throughout the day. Ever since the increase in the body weight of our nation, health professionals have been promoting more nutritious eating habits and physical activity as the keys to a healthy body weight and reduced risk of disease. Although eating healthfully and exercising is the right way to live, it’s not that simple for everyone to fit it in, every day. 

The Problem

A recent study conducted by Dr. William Tigbe from the Warwick Medical School and the University of Warwick found evidence that office or sedentary jobs are detrimental to cardiovascular health.  This research showed that waist circumference increased by 2 centimeters, with the risk of heart diseases increasing by 0.2% for each additional hour spent a day sitting after 5 hours.  Lack of movement can slowly creep up on us, and put us at increased risk for negative health outcomes.

We all know that exercise and movement are important for helping to reduce our risk of heart disease. Studies show that spending 7 hours a day on your feet or walking 7 miles a day is ideal for safeguarding against cardiovascular issues and maintaining a healthy weight.  But in reality, few of us have time for that.

Prolonged sitting can negatively affect the body’s metabolic function, causing an array of problems besides chronic diseases.  Inactivity can result in brain fog, muscle degeneration, leg disorders (poor blood circulation), soft bones, and of course weight gain. Marc Hamilton, a professor of inactivity physiology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA noted that even the smallest contractile movements throughout the day are important for good health.

How Can Physical Activity Benefit Your Work-day - and How Can You Fit it in?

Well, to start you will feel better when you move more.  Exercise releases our “feel good” hormones; Endorphins, Serotonin, and more. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.  Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, like that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.  Serotonin is our primary “happy hormone” and contributes to our feelings of happiness, wellness, and contentment.  Serotonin is used to transmit messages between nerve cells, it is thought to be active in constricting smooth muscle. As the precursor for melatonin, it helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock.

Exercise improves your cognition!  This applies to those of us experiencing brain fog: exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.  A study at the University of British Columbia, discovered an increase in size of the area of the brain involved with learning and verbal memory as result from regular aerobic exercise. Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.  Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment. 

So, how do you manage to squeeze in physical activity throughout the workday?

Tips to help everyone fit activity into a busy lifestyle:

Stand/Walk/Bike to work. This may not work for everyone, but if you commute via public transportation, avoid finding a seat. If you work close enough to walk or bike, try to incorporate that into your commute a couple of days a week to start.  Even if you can’t walk/bike to work, what about on the way home?  Bring a pair of work-out clothes/shoes to keep in your office.  

Fitness breaks. Instead of taking a coffee break or during lunch, incorporate a few laps on your way to or from the break-room, take the stairs whenever possible, enjoy the nice weather with a brisk walk after finishing your lunch.

Stand while at work. Whenever you see an opportunity to get out of that computer chair, take it! Stand while talking on the phone, walk to your coworker’s desk rather than emailing or calling, invest in a standing desk, or a tool to raise your computer at your desk, if possible.

Schedule “walking meetings”.  Rather than meeting in the board-room – meet at the door and take a walking meeting!  The movement will help get your blood flowing, and you may come up with ideas more quickly/solve problems more easily.  

Keep workout gear at your desk. A couple resistant bands or small weights can be simple ways to include strength training while on a conference call or between meetings.  Check out our favorite desk exercises.  

Plan for business trips: Investigate the hotel you will be staying in and if it includes a fitness room or pool. Instead of sitting and waiting for your delayed flight to show up, go for a walk around the terminal.  Always pack sneakers!  

Involve your coworkers: It is much easier to stick to a regimen if you have others involved in the activity as well. Talk to your colleagues and form a fitness group. You could plan 10-15 min walks around the building with them, and walking meetings.  If you have a competitive office environment, what about a walking or activity challenge?  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to learn about our custom wellness challenges.  

Even small changes (200 more steps per day) can ladder up to long term health benefits. Need a little more inspiration?  Check out Dave’s Story.  By adding movement into your day, you will have more energy, possible weight loss from burning more calories, and improvement in your body’s metabolic functions. So, what are you waiting for? Go talk to your coworker from across the building, and schedule your first walking meeting!

Check out how B.Komplete can provide office exercise solutions for your company
Corporate Wellness

How to Inspire Healthy Habits in Your Workplace

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There are countless reasons to invest time and resources into creating a healthy work environment and workforce. Healthy employees contribute to their companies through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and are less likely to quit. Reducing turnover and increasing productivity are excellent incentives for employers, and healthy minds and bodies – as well as incentives on insurance premiums or gym memberships – are great incentives for employees.  Wellness designed properly works.

If your company doesn’t currently have initiatives for improving employee health and wellness, here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Provide Healthy Food at the Office.  Improve food choices in simple ways, by providing access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria or keeping a bowl of healthy snacks in the break room. Instead of a platter of donuts for employee morale on a Friday, consider bringing in some Greek yogurt with whole grain granola and fresh fruit slices for healthy parfaits.  By setting a healthy example of food served within the work environment, this will encourage employees to pick up their own healthy food habits at work and at home and promotes wellness success
  • Emphasize Movement Throughout the Work Day. Some offices host “walking clubs” as part of their lunch hour routine and to get employees up and moving during the day. This is one great way to incorporate more exercise, and there are plenty of other options. Consider hosting a workshop to teach employees different ways to get small exercises into their work day – like doing 5 “desk push ups” each time they get up to go to the break room or bathroom.  One effective way to show employees that you care about their fitness and their stress levels is to host an Office Yoga, Functional Training or Pilates Class. A B.Komplete Instructor will come to your work-site and lead your group in a customized workout!
  • Healthy Competitions. Health and weight loss or maintenance challenges that take place over discrete time periods (for example, 4 to 10 weeks) can motivate employees to take on new healthy habits in the spirit of a friendly competition. Challenges can be as simple as encouraging teams of employees to track their daily food intake each day, to more holistic challenges involving weight loss, minutes of exercise, mindfulness, and more.
  • Invest in a Comprehensive Corporate Wellness Program. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson published that implementing a corporate wellness program had saved them $250 million dollars in employee healthcare, a return on investment of $2.71 for every dollar spent. But implementing a healthy environment and getting these types of outcomes can be difficult without bringing an expert on board.

Expert corporate wellness vendors create wellness challenges, provide work-site nutrition and food, stress management, and exercise activities and track important health care benchmarks to let you know how your company stacks up when it comes to health and wellness. Unclear how to choose the right corporate wellness program for you? Click here and learn the best ways to identify how your company can incorporate corporate wellness.  B.Komplete is a best-in-class full-service corporate wellness vendor that will provide the most effective solutions for your organization.  Contact us now to learn more.

Savvy managers and business owners realize that happy, healthy employees create a more innovative work space and a more productive work environment. By considering the tips above, you will make your company more successful and a better place to work.

Exercise

Why Gardening is Good For Your Health

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Have you considered starting a garden? What if you created a garden full of fresh herbs or vegetables? You will get the health benefits from gardening, and an assortment of delicious fresh produce.  If digging up your backyard sounds intimidating, or maybe you just don’t have the space for that dream garden, start small. Even potted gardening has health benefits. Below are some benefits to gardening as well as some tips to get started.

How Does Gardening Benefit Your Health?

Increases your exposure to vitamin D.  Spending sometime outside allows your body to absorb vitamin D which can increase your calcium levels promotes healthy bones and immune system. It can also increase serotonin levels in your brain (a feel-good hormone). Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen and sunglasses!

Mood boosting.  Some studies have indicated that gardening can combat stress better than some other hobbies.

Stress reduction through mental focus.  Gardening is deliberate mental focus in which you can set aside your daily problems and relax. It is so important to be able to “turn off” the stressors at work and your personal life to have the energy to tackle them head on. Reducing stress improves not only your mental health, but physical health as well. By limiting stress, you also decrease your risk of chronic diseases such has cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Improve your nutrition.  Growing your own vegetables and herbs will allow you to add variety to your plate and even provide a boost of confidence knowing you grew them yourself. Produce picked fresh from the garden will taste amazing and provide more nutrients than many of the vegetables you would purchase at the grocery store. This will also save you money since you can now check the vegetables and herbs that you are growing off of your grocery list! You may even be more likely to get your family to consume vegetables more if you let them play an active role in the gardening with you.

How Do I Get Started?

Where do you want to grow your garden? 

The initial step to gardening would be to decide an appropriate place to put it. If you have a huge backyard, consider finding a spot to designate to a garden. Does your front yard need some sprucing up? Plant some flowers along your house or deck. Both of these options may seem difficult if you live in a city. Fear not! There are plenty of ways to incorporate an indoor garden such as on your windowsill, or even finding lower light plants that can be placed throughout the house.  Many cities have shared planting spaces; you will rent your box/plot/area and be able to plant your vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and pay a nominal fee.  Find a garden near you here.

What do you want to plant? 

Do you want to surround yourself in beautiful flowers and scents? Look up flowers that will thrive in your chosen area. Maybe you want to start cultivating your own vegetables. Investigate the vegetables that are in season in your location.  Learn more about what is in season here.

What soil should you use? 

This is very important to successfully grow your plants. There are a variety of soils out there and they are all comprised of different nutrients. When you have decided on the plants you want to grow, research the types of soil they do well in. The soil is their home, and provides food for them.  Learn more about how to pick the right soil here.  

What tools do you need? 

When starting your first garden, you should begin small. That way you do not get overwhelmed or too out of your budget. Pick up your basic tools such as gardening gloves, a trowel, and a rake.  For community container gardening, check out this list and for larger gardens, larger equipment may be needed.  

How to maintain your garden: 

Make sure you know how often you have to water your plants. Some can be very temperamental. Spend some of your free time weeding so that your plants do not suffocate from outside intruders. If the weeds are overwhelming, there are fertilizers you can use. The best part is that you get to choose the fertilizers and you know exactly what you are putting on your plants.

As long as you start slow, gardening can be fun, relaxing and budget friendly!
Corporate Wellness

How to Select the Best Corporate Wellness Program for Your Company

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When a company has healthy and happy employees, the company will reap the rewards. A correctly designed and implemented wellness program can improve employee health, productivity, morale and manage stress. Wellness programs guide employees to make thoughtful and healthful choices that ultimately reduce employer health care costs, employee presenteeism and absenteeism. The costs of implementing a wellness program are minimal compared to the benefits.

What is Corporate or Worksite Wellness?

Wellness is no longer a consideration solely for the self-funded company, but instead the solution sought out by all businesses, self-funded and fully insured.  As defined by the Centers for Disease Control, “workplace health programs are a coordinated and comprehensive set of health promotion and protection strategies implemented at the worksite that include programs, policies, benefits, environmental supports, and links to the surrounding community, designed to encourage the health and safety of all employees (1).”  A diverse range of benefits are offered under the label “workplace wellness,” from multi-component programs to single interventions, and benefits can be offered by employers directly, through a vendor, group health plans, or a combination of both.

It is no secret that health care costs have ranked among the top concerns of employers for more than the last decade. There is good reason for this concern – health care costs have outpaced inflation for years, and employers often bear the brunt of these costs (2). 

Lifestyle Choices Cost Employers Money:
  • 8% of U.S. adult’s smoke (3). The total economic cost of smoking is more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke (4).  The CDC estimates that companies spend an average of $3,856 per smoker per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity (5). 
  • Presenteeism, the act of attending work while sick, costs employers more money than absenteeism.  The total cost of presenteeism for US employers continues to increase, and estimates for current losses range from $150 to $250 billion annually (6). 
  • Nearly 50% of all employees suffer from moderate to severe stress while on the job, according to a recent survey. And 66% of employees report that they have difficulty focusing on tasks at work due to stress. Stress is estimated to cost US businesses up to $300 billion a year (7).   
  • A study in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that, on average, a morbidly obese employee costs an employer over $4,000 more per year in health care/related costs than an employee who is of healthy weight. The study also revealed that obese individuals who had co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol incurred more costs than obese workers without these conditions (8).
Types of Corporate/Worksite Wellness programs

According to a RAND employer survey, “approximately half of U.S. employers offer wellness promotion initiatives, and larger employers are more likely to have more complex wellness programs. Programs often include wellness screening activities to identify health risks and interventions to reduce risks and promote healthy lifestyles. Most employers (72% of those offering a wellness program) characterize their wellness programs as a combination of screening activities and interventions. Wellness benefits can be offered by employers or a vendor to all employees or through their group health plans to plan members (9).”

  • Awareness-oriented wellness programs provide information and resources to help employees learn about healthful lifestyle choices. These programs provide education and awareness, not actual activity or behavior change guidance.  They tend to be most effective with already health-conscious individuals, and generally do not significantly reduce health care costs.
  • Activity-oriented wellness programs combine awareness with participation in healthy activities. Examples include walking programs, weight-loss challenges, and discounted/free gym memberships.  Generally offering some type of participation incentive.  These programs usually lead to health care savings, and could take three or more years to realize a positive return on investment. 
  • Results-oriented wellness programs focus on measurable outcomes and behavior changes achieved through program. These programs also include components of awareness and activity-based programs.  If paired with strong incentives, these programs have the ability to produce significant return on investment through a decrease in absenteeism and workers’ compensation incidents (10).

How to Select the Best Program
for Your Company

Step 1:  Conduct an Anonymous Employee Interest Survey

This is an opportunity to learn which health and wellness topics your employees are interested in.  This is a great way to get employee feedback on pre-existing wellness initiatives and ideas for future programs.  Consider that employee health needs information may be already available through other sources, such as HRAs or medical claims data, and the employee survey may not need to address those type of questions (11).

Step 2: Outline Your Wellness Vision and Expectations. 

What type of philosophy are you looking for in a wellness partner? What type of experiences in wellness are you looking for?  Often, employers succeed when their wellness vendor shares a similar mission and vision with them (12).  Prior to researching potential vendors, outline your own company’s objectives on health and wellness.  Ideally, you’ll want to enlist the help of a vendor that has experience helping similar businesses in your industry.  Reach out to your Health Insurance Carrier, Broker and/or relevant Business Associations to learn about the vendors they work with and why.

Step 3: Select a Vendor/s.  

What do you need most from a wellness vendor? Are you looking for a partner with the most innovative programs or up-to-date technology? Or is it more important to team up with an experienced vendor who has an excellent reputation with current clients? Are there specific degrees and backgrounds that your company expects from the vendor’s staff (12)?

  • Does the vendor offer in-person or virtual services or both?  This is highly important if your employees aren’t all in the same location. 
  • Does the vendor provide a full service wellness program or a la carte offerings or both?  Keep in mind that the customer service aspect will vary greatly from vendor to vendor.  Decide if the vendor should do everything necessary to get the program up and running and then let you take it from there — or whether you will need a significant amount of hands-on follow up from the vendor before, during and after the program roll-out. Vendors with superior customer service should be able to not only solve problems, but also anticipate and prevent future issues (12).
  • HIPPA Guidelines.  As outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Where a workplace wellness program is offered as part of a group health plan, the individually identifiable health information collected from or created about participants in the wellness program is personal health information and protected by the HIPAA Rules.”  It is important to note that, “where a workplace wellness program is offered by an employer directly and not as part of a group health plan, the health information that is collected from employees by the employer is not protected by the HIPAA Rules.  However, other Federal or state laws may apply and regulate the collection and/or use of the information (13).”  Regardless of which way your wellness program is set-up, it is essential to maintain the utmost confidentiality of any personal health information for anyone involved – your vendor should support this regulation. 
  • Does the vendor provide innovative solutions?  Not all employee groups are going to be impressed by a power-point presentation during a lunch & learn.  Does the vendor offer different services and solutions for groups? Certain groups may benefit more from seminars, while other groups may prefer workshops and/or demonstrations.  Does the vendor offer solutions for remote employees?  Innovation in worksite-wellness is diversifying, with programs focusing on mental-health, healthy office spaces, providing work-place access to healthcare, and more (14). 
  • Will the vendor customize programs to meet the specific needs of your employees?  Companies vary greatly in their background, culture, environment, and employee population.  Your wellness vendor/s should seek to understand your company, and from that information develop a customized approach that will best meet the needs of your company.  Best-in-class programs are designed to benefit the company as a whole, and within it, each employee. 
  • How does the vendor measure participant satisfaction?  To ensure that your employees are enjoying your worksite wellness program the vendor should be tracking and measuring participant satisfaction.  This can be accomplished with simple surveys following events.  Your vendor should report the survey results to you in a timely fashion, and be able to adapt and modify future programs based on the employee feedback. 
Step 4: Determine your need for Program Support. 
  • Does the program provide marketing and PR support?  When you launch or reintroduce your wellness program its crucial for your employees to know about it. You may ask yourself, “How should I inform them about our program?” This is where the creativity and thoughtful promotion from the vendor come into play. Do they provide online marketing? Do they provide promotional materials such as flyers and brochures? Do they offer email marketing services?  Your vendor should be able to offer you savvy marketing options that will inform and spark interest in your employees. Vendors who provide excellent marketing and PR support can take this work off of your plate.
  • Does the program provide scheduling advice?  One way of getting positive feedback and outcomes is by having frequently scheduled events and activities within your wellness program. Does your vendor work with you to determine the best timing and frequency for events?  Do they outline your up-and-coming event in a simple format?  Consistency is key. Consistency allows for progress to be monitored and accurate results on changes in employee participation and, most importantly, changes in their health.
  • Does the program have a wellness portal and/or social media presence?  Wellness Portals can provide access for employees to register for events (bio-metric screening), join challenges (walking and/or weight loss) and keep track of their wellness points (incentive management).  Does your vendor offer a wellness portal, and if so, is it simple to use?  Social Media is becoming the go-to for wellness awareness. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have created an open opportunity for wellness vendors to showcase who they are, and what they can offer. Your employees will appreciate having this information to reference, which they can access easily at any time. Your employees will appreciate having the option of multiple online resources from your wellness vendor.
  • Does the program provide mobile options?  According to new research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 68% of Americans own a smartphone (17) Consumers rely on mobile options to communicate, go online, and access and share information.  It’s a natural fit for your employees to be able to access information from your wellness vendor, when they are using their mobile device. 
Step 5: Determine the Programs’ Practicality and Accessibility for Your Employees
  • Does your program provide diverse offerings?  Diversity is key in capturing maximum employee participation. Your wellness program needs to be accessible, relatable, and appealing to your employees. Does the vendor offer services that cover many aspects of health and wellness such as nutrition education and disease management, stress reduction, physical fitness, and smoking cessation? Can your vendor customize your events based on your corporate culture and your employees’ needs? The ability to pick from a wide array of services will ensure your employees truly benefit from and fully enjoy your wellness program.
  • Does your program address all aspects of wellness?  Wellness is more than physical health; wellness encompasses social, occupational, and intellectual aspects as well.  Consumers are becoming more curious about additional ways to live a healthy life (18). Is your vendor current and providing a holistic wellness approach with a variety of related topics? Does your vendor offer solutions for your employees with programs encompassing positivity, mindfulness, relaxation and self-care? To be successful, wellness programs must be comprehensive, tailored to the population, creatively marketed, and embraced by top management (19).

The Harvard Business Review has found that great corporate wellness programs make an impact by, “managing to shift people’s relationship with health from one where health is something thought about and ‘practiced’ annually at the doctor’s office, to one where health is practiced daily through small lifestyle habits (20).” Employee wellness has shifted from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for companies whose focus is on attracting and retaining top talent. As you want your employees to invest in your company by providing their best work, the company in turn must be willing to invest in their people with programs that will help them to lead healthy and happy lives.

If you are interested in learning more about a best-in-class corporate wellness vendor that is rated 99% in customer satisfaction, please contact B.Komplete for your free corporate wellness consultation at info@bkomplete.com and for more information please visit information about our programs.

  1.  http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/pdfs/Workplace_Health_Program_Definition_and_Description.pdf
  2. https://www.manning-napier.com/Portals/0/documents/insights/white-papers/why-wellness-matters.pdf
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/
  5. http://www.acsworkplacesolutions.com/documents/WBGHIssueBriefonSmokingCessation.pdf
  6. http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/presenteeism.htm
  7. http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2267-workplace-stress-health-epidemic-perventable-employee-assistance-programs.html#sthash.9y0Ncoww.dpuf
  8. http://ajhpcontents.org/doi/abs/10.4278/ajhp.120905-QUAN-428
  9. https://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/workplacewellnessstudyfinal.pdf
  10. http://www.rsellers.com/images/Results-Oriented%20Wellness%20Programs.pdf
  11. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/hwi/programdesign/employee_surveys.htm
  12. http://www.hrbenefitsalert.com/7-questions-answer-before-picking-wellness-vendor/
  13. http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/wellness/index.html
  14. http://www.guidespark.com/blog/trends-next-generation-employee-wellness-programs/
  15. http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/corporate-wellness/
  16. http://wellnessproposals.com/guide-to-worksite-wellness-programs/market-the-wellness-program/
  17. http://www.pcworld.com/article/2999631/phones/pew-survey-shows-68-percent-of-americans-now-own-a-smartphone.html
  18. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alisha-bhagat/a-little-is-a-lot-health-and-wellness-trends-2016_b_9393638.html
  19. https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/12_0092.htm
  20. https://hbr.org/2014/03/what-great-corporate-wellness-programs-do
  21. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/crazy-corporate-wellness-programs-that-work/
  22. http://www.uswwa.org/files/2010/11/WellnessReport.pdf
Corporate Wellness

How to Avoid a “Food Coma” After Lunch

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So you’ve had a busy morning and it’s time for lunch. For many people, work lunches involve buying food from the company cafeteria, or heading out to one of the many eateries that cater to the workweek lunch crowd. Taking your full lunch break is a great way to decompress and prepare for the work in the afternoon (see our blog on how to do the business lunch healthfully), but there is one outcome every productive worker wants to avoid: the food coma.

The “Food Coma” which is so ubiquitous it was added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online in 2014, is that feeling of sleepiness that overtakes people after a big meal. You may know it by a different name like “the itis,” or “after dinner dip,” but you probably haven’t heard of the technical term: “postprandial somnolence.”  We most commonly think of it happening after big holiday meals (like Thanksgiving) but a food coma after lunch can ruin afternoon productivity. So how can we all prevent the food coma…

Don’t go too big. 

A study in young men tested whether a low or high calorie lunch would have a greater impact on sleepiness during a monotonous drive (don’t worry, the drive was in a simulator). Researchers found that the larger meal caused a much greater lull in attentiveness and trend toward greater sleepiness compared to the smaller meal.

TipPack your lunch the night before, or make sure to exercise your ordering skills at a restaurant to ensure your meal is less calorie dense. Use the Healthy Dining Finder to locate a restaurant with healthy options near you, or check out some of B. Komplete’s healthy ordering tips for business lunches.

Keep those carbohydrates complex. 

One theory for feeling sleepy after meals has to do with the amount and types of carbohydrates we eat. There is evidence that eating easily digestible simple carbohydrates (like white flour and sugary desserts) causes sleepiness by increasing blood sugar and subsequent insulin production. That increase in insulin production happens concurrently with increases in hormones like melatonin which causes sleepiness, and inhibition of orexin neurons which help maintain wakefulness. Multiple studies show greater sleepiness and earlier onset of sleep with meals higher refined and total carbohydrate. 

TipTry to keep your post-meal surge in blood sugar slow and controlled by choosing healthy, complex forms of carbohydrates like whole grains. Also be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables that add healthy fiber and slow the digestion of carbohydrate in the gut.

Avoid high fat meals. 

A study done in over 700 Australian men found that those who ate diets higher in fat reported experiencing greater daytime sleepiness than those with lower fat intake.  

TipKeep your lunch light on the grease! Heavier, fatty foods like pizza and burgers might just exacerbate your post-meal lull. Also consider the type of fat you eat. Typical fast food often contains lots of saturated fat, the fat we typically consider less healthy. Instead, choose foods full of healthy unsaturated fats like guacamole, or a salad with a vinegar and olive oil, nuts and seeds.  

Get a good night’s sleep.

The experience of a “afternoon dip” doesn’t have everything to do with your meal. At least some of this post-lunch sleepiness is due to natural fluctuations of your circadian rhythm which can be exacerbated by the content of your meals. However, another major factor for your desire for an afternoon nap? Sleep debt. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans is sleep-deprived and you’re much less likely to feel energized after lunch if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Poor sleep is also associated with poor food choices, which can exacerbate the food coma, creating a vicious cycle…  

TipSet an alarm not just for the morning, but for bedtime and hold yourself to it! Ensuring you get enough sleep will not only help you stake wakeful throughout the workday, but will also help you make healthy food choices at lunch!

It might feel great to take a nap after a satisfying meal, but this isn’t an option when you’re busy at work. Prioritizing healthy, light lunches and adequate sleep at nighttime can help you maintain your productivity and prevent the dreaded food coma.

However, if you’re like many Americans, you have a hectic work day and prioritizing healthful behaviors can be difficult. Check out B.Komplete’s post on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule!

Corporate Wellness

Wellness Success – How to Maintain or Gain It

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Here at B.Komplete, we strive every day to make Wellness Success achievable. But what exactly is Wellness Success? Depending on your health goals, Wellness Success can mean different things to different individuals. We’ve created this guide for Maintaining – or Gaining -Your Wellness Success to help you achieve your vision of wellness, and to overcome barriers you may face along the way.

Wellness Defined

Wellness is the self-directed process in which one comes to realize his or her full potential in mental and physical well-being. Things that hold us back from achieving wellness success include stress, time constraints, hesitance of change, and fear of the unknown. For Wellness Success to be realized, we must overcome all that holds us back.

The Empowerment Zone

Think about the things in your life that you wish were different. Write them down. Determine which of those you can control. These things are in your Empowerment Zone. Develop a plan of action that includes changing these undesirable things that you have control over.

Make the Choice to Change

The only way to realize positive change in your life is by making choices. Life is full of choices! Unfortunately, we make some of these choices so often that they have become habits. Change sometimes seems scary because we are stuck in these habits. We have become accustomed to doing things a certain way, and we are scared to change. The first step to achieving and maintaining Wellness Success is to override these feelings of fear.

Dissect your Habits, and Gain Control

By gaining control over your habits, you move closer to the person you want to be. There is no shortcut to mastering your habits, but there is one secret to controlling them: habits are built upon consistency. New York Times business writer, Charles Duhigg, explains the habit-building process in more detail in this NPR interview. To initiate a new behavior and turn it into a habit, you must be consistent with this behavior.

Start Small

Motivation rises and falls. To achieve better success, make changes that don’t require much motivation. Rather than eliminating sugar all day, start by eliminating it from your coffee. Instead of completely replacing your whole milk with almond milk, start by mixing half of each. After that becomes routine, introduce the new habit in another area, in another way. You’ll know when a habit becomes a routine, because it will feel automatic. As Forbes.com explains, “The most successful people take small, smart steps toward their goal.”

Plan for Success

Planning is a crucial tool in your effort to achieve Wellness Success. Some days, we are Super Versions of ourselves, and our motivation runs rampant. On other days, we just don’t feel like it. How do we make good decisions every single day? When we don’t have the time or motivation to make good decisions, we end up choosing what’s easiest. If your vision of Wellness Success involves healthier eating, try using free meal plans that meet your food group targets. If your Wellness Success involves incorporating more workouts into your weekly routine, try a free fitness app like Daily Workouts and Sworkit. By not planning ahead, we set ourselves up for failure. 

Prioritize Your Goal

Ignore interruptions and anything that can take you off track. Follow your plan; treat your goal as a priority. Schedule your priorities, don’t prioritize your schedule. Schedule your efforts as if they are appointments, and commit to them like you would anything else. Don’t blow yourself off, just like you wouldn’t blow off a friend, coworker, dentist, or physician.

Have a Buddy!

A Stanford University Study found that simply receiving a phone call every two weeks to discuss exercise progress increased the amount of exercise done by participants by 78%. After a year and a half, the participants studied were still exercising at an increased level. Another study, by Indiana University, found that half of couples who worked out separately dropped out of their workout programs over the course of a year, while those who worked out together had only an eight percent dropout rate. The take home message: Find an exercise buddy and increase your chances of sticking to your workout routine.

Focus

To reach our wellness success, we need to become experts in directing our attention toward our goals. The ability to focus has been shown to predict happiness in school, work, and life. Methods for improving our focus include goal visualization and meditation. By visualizing our goals and defining what Wellness Success looks like, we can view completion and work towards that vision. Meditation can improve attention, reduce stress, and remove distraction as we continue on our path toward wellness.

Keep Track of Things

This simple but crucial step in behavior change is backed by research showing increased performance when behaviors are tracked. In 14 studies assessing tracking in school students, students who tracked their progress improved test scores by 32%. The most powerful results occurred when students were also able to see teachers’ expected scores as presented in the chart. This combination of seeing charted progress + preset goals and expectations has the biggest effect on enhancing performance. Regardless of the tracking method you choose, make sure to map out your goals along the way, so that you can view them as you chart your progress. Invest in a goal-oriented planner, like the Passion Planner, to track your habits and to create a road-map with expected achievements as you work towards your goals.

Getting Over the Hump

Everyone reaches a plateau. Whether a weight loss plateau or a motivational plateau, this is when it’s important to take a step back and review why you started in the first place. Think about why you chose to make these changes. What have you been working so hard over the last days, months, or year to achieve? Get back to your Empowerment Zone and realize that you have been making these changes because you have the choice to do so. You decided that it was important enough for you to choose change. Roadblocks are inevitable. To get past them, ask yourself: Are you bored? Do you need to tweak your workout? Do you need more variety in your meal planning? Are you stressed? Reassess your habits. If it’s diet variety that you need, think about varying your protein choices. Consider switching up your snacks. Try a new fruit, vegetable, or other produce item that you’ve seen but never tasted. Incorporating new things could be the best way to get over your temporary progress hump. Recognizing stress is also crucial to getting past this point. When we feel like our motivation has taken a vacation, stress is often to blame. We must learn to recognize stress in order to manage it. Look for physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional signs of stress. Then, overcome your stress with diet, exercise, and rest. 

Congratulations on taking the first step toward realizing your personal Wellness Success: having the desire to change. Using this B.Komplete guide for maintaining your Wellness Success, you will be well positioned to overcome any future hurdles that you may face in your path toward optimal wellness.