Improving your personal performance

Guest Blog by Georgina Stewart of the Nutrient Gap

Sometimes the simplest habits are the most difficult to implement.  In this guest blog, Georgina from the Nutrient Gap, not only explains the benefits of developing a healthy lifestyle, but also shares with us a four-stage plan for successful implementation.

At various times of the year, we find ourselves fuelled with enthusiasm, wanting to incorporate positive changes in our lives, such as a change in our lifestyle, to be healthier, to be a little leaner and to be more active, perhaps even to achieve a better work-life balance.

Taking control of our lifestyle, means we feel full of enthusiasm, breaking into a sweat, losing weight and then Sabotage! The dreaded doughnuts arrive in the office to celebrate a colleague’s Birthday. In fact, the office can be one of the worst places for weight loss sabotage. Even if you enjoy your job, you’re bound to get bored and tired, leading you to that mid-afternoon need for a pick-me-up.

Your job can also sabotage your new exercise routine, staying late to finish off a project means a Pilates class is missed or your early morning run must be postponed due to a breakfast meeting. With all your good intentions, achieving your goals now seems a lifetime away.

What can we do?

Getting into the habit of taking on a new exercise regime and eating well, takes practice, so does changing our mindset. Creating a habit also takes discipline. Studies show it takes approximately 66 days to make a habit an automatic one. We should in fact, focus on making small changes, eventually leading to bigger ones.

These incremental steps are our Personal, Planning, Plateau and Praise stages. These four stages can also be reflective in our working life when we have goals and targets to meet and new ventures to undertake.

Personal – Your goal is likely to be very personal to you and it may affect other people in either a positive or negative way. What we do affects those around us. When we’re aware of who our goals will affect, it can motivate us more to stay focused and take hold of opportunities. Ask for help. Tell your co-workers you need help losing weight and they may be happy to move the donuts elsewhere or stop bringing them entirely.

Planning – Plan exercise and healthy eating regimes, one week at a time. Keep healthy snacks in your drawer. Fruit, instant soup, popcorn or oatmeal will satisfy your hunger and keep you away from the junk. Bring in healthy foods. Take fruit to meetings, pack your own lunch rather than relying on the canteen, or better still, ask for healthier options to be included on the menu such as tomato-based pasta dishes, plant-based meals, salads, jacket potatoes, and fruit. Stay active, by tracking your steps. It’s a lot easier to be active when you can keep track of how much you’re really moving. There’s a reason everyone is wearing activity trackers like Fitbit! Put one on your wrist and find out how many steps you do in a normal day, then set yourself a goal to improve on that number every day.

Tracking your activity can be an excellent way to motivate yourself and keep you reminded of your goals. Try a standing desk. If it is possible in your office, standing up to work can be a great choice. Standing uses more muscles and burns more calories than sitting – and it can be great for your back and posture. Walk instead of calling or emailing. Use every opportunity you have to get up from your desk. Pretend it’s the ‘90s – instead of emailing or instant-messaging your colleague across the room, walk over to their desk and have a chat with them face to face. The steps add up, and it gives you the extra benefit of having some social interaction.

Plateau – People get disheartened on their exercise and weight loss program because they don’t know about the ‘Plateau’ stage. This stage is very frustrating, but it is important to know, even though you are not seeing the numbers on the scales change, or the endurance of a workout is still at the same level, things are happening. During these plateaus, when it seems as if nothing is happening, the whole body is ‘catching up’ and waiting patiently for every other part of the body to readjust before going to the next level. Just don’t give up!

Praise – Many people under-appreciate the minor things they do successfully every day. And yet they can recall in detail all the times they have failed or made mistakes. That’s because the brain remembers events more easily when they are accompanied by strong emotions. Remember, people like to be around those who have a healthy self-esteem and who are achieving their goals. Commit to acknowledging your achievements and your brain will begin to tell you the truth: that you can do anything! Share goals with those who are willing to keep you accountable and even celebrate your wins with you.

In our working and personal life, we should take our journey one day at a time; Think of this new lifestyle as a consistent journey, not a destination.

Based in Northamptonshire, The Nutrient Gap are accredited members of The Royal Society of Public Health, offering nutritional advice, weight loss management, behaviour change and sports nutrition.  The Nutrient Gap will educate you on ways to incorporate healthy eating using REAL food ,making you feel healthy from the inside out, by analysing your current diet and eating habits  to achieve your long term goals. For more information contact Georgina at or visit their website at

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