It’s difficult to resist pastries and pumpkin pies. It’s a time when I’d prefer to hide indoors, loosen my belt buckle a notch and convince myself another fast-approaching Yukon winter requires an extra five pounds.
Why do the words “cold-day” and “chocolate” go together so nicely?
Adrienne Marsh, active living coordinator for Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon (RPAY), confirms I’m not alone with my winter’s-coming blues.
“It’s getting darker, it’s colder, people just want to have comfort food,” she says.
Apparently, many Yukoners get off track this time of year as people aren’t venturing outdoors as frequently.
What Marsh, along with Kim Hunter, registered dietitian and healthy eating coordinator, are promoting is active living and healthy lifestyles (even in the workplace) as a year-round thing. Just in time, because Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month is Sept. 29 to Oct. 26.
“It’s about awareness,” says Marsh, “about workers building more active lifestyles with healthy eating options in the workplace.”
These health enthusiasts say it’s as simple as climbing stairs, walking to someone’s desk instead of e-mailing, parking your vehicle further away or walking during lunch.
Who wouldn’t enjoy a little stretch or fit break during their workday?
Employers benefit from better performance, higher productivity, lower health care costs and, most importantly, employee satisfaction. Over 50 per cent of Yukoners are active and many workplaces have established wellness committees, but huge steps are needed in adopting a healthier outlook.
It’s important to have everybody on board. Instead of providing donuts, cakes and muffins at meetings, opt for fruit or veggie trays.
“The biggest thing in preventing overindulgence is being prepared and planning ahead,” Hunter says. She recommends having snacks like dried fruit, wholegrain crackers, canned fish or peanut butter.
If there’s a fridge available, low fat yogurt, cut vegetables and fruit are great choices. Eating healthy throughout the day and continually fuelling the body can also help prevent a sugar crash or overeating.
Encourage healthy eating among coworkers, Hunter says. Motivation is easier if you have the support.
“Those cookies and coffee at two o’clock are a habit,” she explains. “It’s about changing those routines and ensuring everyone is on the same path.”
A general rule: if it’s not there, you’re less likely to eat it. If nutrition policies at workplaces veto junk foods or vending machines, it’s easier for employees to avoid those afternoon munchies. This lifestyle can be transferred to families as well.
Marsh thinks the majority of Yukoners cherish active living but, “it’s a matter of saying, ‘I want changes in the workplace and I’m going to coordinate this action’.” She encourages workers to find common goals and go from there.
Information on setting up workshops in your workplace is available from Marsh or Hunter at 668-2328 or at www.rpay.org. And there are upcoming healthy eating workshops at the Canada Games Centre.
Although I’m still uncertain about the science behind seasons and my taste buds, I know if it’s not in my lunch bag, I won’t be tempted by the sticky and sweet.