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Lunch group hears how good habits build fitness at work

  • Paula Kreissler, director of healthy living and community development for Healthy Savannah, talks about simple tips for a healthier lifestyle during the Savannah Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Power Hour lunch on Tuesday. (Katie Nussbaum/Savannah Morning News)

Replace your candy bowl with fruit. Take the stairs. Drink water.

Most people are familiar with this simple advice when it comes to making healthier choices, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed especially during work hours.

“It comes in small changes, small steps. … You don’t want to make (your goal) so hard that the first thing you do is think you can’t do it,” said Paula Kreissler, director of healthy living and community development for Healthy Savannah.

“If you’re drinking sweet tea every day, then maybe you don’t drink it at lunch or drink it every other day. Once you achieve that, then you can move on to another step.”

Kreissler, who spoke at the Savannah Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Power Hour lunch Tuesday at the Savannah Morning News, offered simple and healthy strategies for employees and employers to adopt into their daily routine. The goal of Healthy Savannah, which was formed in 2007 by former Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson is to make the healthy choice the easy choice no matter age, income level or neighborhood, Kreissler said.

When it comes to drinking the recommended 64 ounces of water each day, Kreissler suggests just drink when you’re thirsty and always having water readily available at your desk, bag or car and, of course, stay away from soda.

“(Soda) is just pure, solid poison. There is so much sugar in each of the drinks and if it’s not sugar then it’s something that you can’t pronounce,” she said.

“… The sugar content in Gatorade, Powerade, Coke, Sprite is way more, just in one of those, than what you should be consuming on a daily basis.”

Kreissler also recommends taking a quick mid-morning or afternoon walk around the office and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Typically you want to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in every day, she said.

“You might be slow, but you’re lapping everybody on the sofa,” she said. “… Just get out and be active.”

Employers can help workers get a jump start on a healthier lifestyle by adopting a healthy vending machine policy, providing annual on-site health screenings and conducting standing meetings or meeting in a nearby greenspace.

“It’s pretty simple, not complicated, but you guys have to set the example,” she said.

For people who travel frequently or spend their lunch times in meetings, Kreissler said downloading an app, such as Map My Fitness, can be helpful to keep you accountable, but ultimately try different methods and find what works best for you.

“I’ve decided that whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest thing I can do because I feel better,” she said.

“If you eat grains, eat whole grains. And if you do eat meat, eat the cleanest organic, grass-fed meat you can. I wouldn’t follow any one diet plan. Some people have success, but we typically find they aren’t sustainable.”

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In Case You Missed It