In this, the first in a series of healthy living blogposts for executives, Dr Bill Price and Sally-Ann Creed discuss Health and Wealth, two things that are widely sought after by many people especially business leaders. Some say ‘Health is your Greatest Wealth’ but how can we ensure we have a life balance between health and wealth in your career?
Dr Bill Price: Through your personal story, books and health supplements, you have helped many people find a balance between health and wealth. Tell us a little about yourself.
Sally-Ann: After years of illness, drugs, hospitals and pain, I met a medical doctor who showed me that my illnesses could be overcome through healthy eating and targeted supplementation. Within three months I was off prescription drugs, lost weight and found that for the first time in my life I felt really good.
This led to an all-consuming passion to find out more. I studied and qualified with a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition; founded Creed Living and wrote a number of books including The Low-Carb, Healthy Fat Bible. (Creed Living offers a range of Sally-Ann Creed-branded health supplements in South Africa.)
Dr Bill Price: So, there’s no doubt you can help business leaders balance their health and wealth from the perspective of “been there, done that, got the T-shirt!” What danger signs do executives need to look out for in order to maintain a healthier lifestyle?
Sally-Ann: Executives have unique needs in terms of their health. This is because they are often stressed; find little time for sensible nutrition, perhaps not enough time to exercise and get too little sleep.
Their cardiovascular systems are often first to issue a warning signal. This could be high blood pressure and/or raised cholesterol. These are two common symptoms of a stressed executive. Other unrecognised ‘warning bells’ are increasing belly size, stimulant abuse and a sedentary lifestyle (sitting too long at a desk or computer).
Stress and incorrect eating places a burden on the system unseen for many years, until one experiences a major health scare. This could be stroke, heart attack, diabetes or less cataclysmic things such as arthritis, generalised pain and fatigue, or fibromyalgia. However there are dozens of ailments a protracted period of neglect can bring about. Hormones suffer, memory and mood changes become obvious and personal relationships deteriorate.
Excessive stress invariably leads to depression and drug abuse can become a way of life for such people. Either recreational drugs to stay awake and / or ‘happy’ (an increasing problem amongst executives), or prescription drugs such as antidepressants, tranquilisers, sleeping tablets, pain killers, anti-ulcer drugs etc.
Frequent flying is another thing that can be a potential time bomb for executives due to increased exposure to radiation.
Some say ‘Health is your Greatest Wealth’ but how do we ensure we have a life balance between health and wealth in your career?
Dr Bill Price: What about poor diet, being overweight and the danger of developing diabetes?
Sally-Ann: If a person is eating most of their meals on the run, or relying on too much processed or ‘junk food’, then their weight will begin to increase around the middle. This is not just middle aged spread, but the inability of the body’s insulin to remove the glucose from the bloodstream and store it in the muscle. Instead there is fat storage around the middle. The trouble with this lifestyle is that the pancreas gets tired of having to pump out such enormous amounts of insulin – more and more is needed to do the same job, and becomes less and less effective at doing so – and the individual ends up with high insulin readings.
Diabetes is on the rise worldwide, but more common and very often completely missed – is insulin resistance, or Syndrome X. This is a condition where there is glucose in the blood from eating too many refined carbohydrates and sugar (something most people do on the run), and damaged fats. Damaged fats (such as margarine in which is found trans fatty acids), sugar – particularly the dangerous fructose (not the innocent sweetener we all believe it to be!) is found in all junk and processed food to one degree or another.
Raised insulin in itself is a heart disease marker, so shouldn’t be taken lightly. Look at most overweight executives in their 40+ years – you will notice a belly, a transverse crease in the ear lobe, perhaps raised LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowered HDL (good cholesterol), high blood pressure and perhaps skin tags on the neck, groin and under the arms. These are all tell-tale signs of Syndrome X. In fact, just two of these are enough to “diagnose” the Syndrome. There is a programme which can be followed very successfully with the help of an informed health-care professional.
Make the most of your Health and Wealth
Dr Bill Price: So how can busy executives reach a life balance over health and wealth?
Sally-Ann: As a Christian I think it’s important to focus first and foremost on one’s spiritual life. This is what brings peace of mind. Life is about relationships and one has to focus on the inner world with as much focus as outer world issues and realities. In doing so you realise the importance of getting the right balance with regard to health and wealth. And as we all come to realise, health is wealth!
Once you have spiritual peace of mind, it is helpful to make sure you get enough sleep, exercise enough (not excessively – around 30 minutes a day), supplement wisely according to individual needs and of course eat a sensible diet. Time for recreation is also important and if this is done weekly rather than annually – it’s much better for the body. Enjoying things together with loved ones or friends is a good way to relax, and is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Discover the value of exercise and a balanced diet in the workplace; Be aware of specific health issues that affect men; try out a variety of food supplements that will help you manage stress, and consider the health tips available for frequent travellers. We focus on these issues in other healthy living blogposts for executives.