Staying healthy with a 9 – 5 Written By: Palesa Sankoloba Development Economist Masters in Developments Studies graduate

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The beginning of a new year always brings about a new sense of determination, which is not only limited to career goals but applicable to every aspect of one’s life, including your body. As the new year dawns, many find it as a time to work on their bodies, both externally as well as internally – meaning a possible change in lifestyle, which incorporates exercise and better eating habits. As with any new prospects in one’s life, the adoption of exercise and better eating habits is not easy, and this is further worsened by the fact that one also has an 8am to 5pm job to give of their best in!

As the saying goes ‘you cannot out-gym a bad diet’. A healthy lifestyle is also heavily reliant on a good diet (not necessarily a diet programme but the conscience effort of eating ‘clean’). The beginning of a successful, cleaner meal plan is the preparation stages.

One has to ensure that they prepare, and this can be in the form of a weekly meal plan, which of course starts when one goes grocery shopping, where a shopping list is vital. As busy corporate individuals, daily meal preparation could seem tedious and quite honestly demotivating and therefore weekly meal preps on Sunday afternoon or evening are most probably ideal in making your day-to-day eating goals more attainable.

If you are one who does not enjoy a repetition in meals, a change in menu perhaps once every two days could be most ideal for you; or simply attempting to wake up early and prepare your meals before you hit the office. Ultimately, the most important thing is to prepare as this limits your chances of wanting to grab ‘a quick bite’ at the office canteen or the nearest take-away spot. Resultantly, I have listed 5 easy steps to follow on your path to a healthier 2017 below:

Five Steps to a healthier lifestyle

  1. Every meal should contain macronutrients – which includes fats, carbohydrates (yes carbohydrates are NOT bad) and protein.
  2. To try and avoid buying unnecessary, unhealthy food, do your grocery shopping on a full stomach.
  3. Try and buy fresh vegetables as they contain the most nutrients. To make sure your produce lasts longer, freeze vegetables accordingly.
  4. Ensure you eat WHOLE foods – no one can survive on smoothies & juices – the body needs
    ALL macronutrients.
  5. Most importantly, do not obsess over ‘eating clean’. A cheat meal here and there will not cause harm.


A change in lifestyle is not only for the short term but as the word ‘lifestyle’ would suggest, it is how one lives their life daily with no time factor attached to it. Therefore, one cannot be harsh on themselves and expect it to be easy nor expect immediate results. Take your time, get into the groove of things and once you have prepared – not only your weekly meal plan, but also your mind – attempt a change in lifestyle which will prove beneficial.

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