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Natalie Murray coaching executives for a healthier lifestyle

Published:Sunday | December 13, 2015 | 12:00 AMJanelle Oswald
Natalie Murray
Natalie Murray with some of the fruits and vegetables essential for a healthy life.

Early mornings, late nights, international schedules, non-stop meetings, road-trips, family commitments and finding time for a social life often mean that health plans are abandoned. This is replaced by feelings of inadequacy in executives who subsequently suffer from low self-esteem and eventually develop serious health issues.

"High flyers tend to be very driven, they are focused on their career, business and personal goals. However, I have noticed they sacrifice their health-related goals, and as demands on their time increase, the things sacrificed are diet, self-care and exercise", Natalie Murray a certified health coach told The Gleaner.

"Running from one meeting to another often means forgetting to eat which sabotages your health. Skipping meals messes with your metabolism and foods such as energy/granola bars, tend not to be natural or healthy as they are high in sugar and preservatives," she said.

Murray says she has seen her high flyer clients burn out, gain weight and develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other stress-related illnesses such as insomnia, intestinal discomfort and mood swings or depression. "This not what a high flyer needs to keep them soaring," said the former banker.

A Star Level 2 Spinning(r) instructor certified by the creators of Spinning(r) Mad Dogg Athletics Inc, Murray traded in her corporate lifestyle for her passion to become a coach.

To improve your work environment in 2016, Murray shared seven mistakes most corporate heads make and ways to correct them.

"1. Skip breakfast: Make a green smoothie for an early dose of protein and vegetables to unlock your energy.

2. Giving up the exercise programme when stress gets high: Protect the time you dedicate to you. This time prepares and restores your body, making you better at your game.

3. Failure to plan meals ahead of time: Keep phone numbers for healthy places saved in your phone to order lunch delivery. Communicate dietary choices when invited to working meals. Ask ahead if your host can provide grilled options, instead of fried, or ask for extra vegetables instead of white rice or pasta.

4. Doing it alone: Get help, get accountability and get a coach. Get an emotionally detached partner who will ask the tough questions and keep you on track.

5. Forgetting to breathe: It might sound silly, but notice how many times you catch yourself not breathing in one day. To counter this, every time you type a password into something, take a deep breath that moves your belly not your chest. That deep breathing will help to calm your parasympathetic nervous system and help you cope with your daily stress.

6. Inadequate sleep: Working late on tablets and smart phones, or charging cell phones beside your bed with no "wind down" time, detracts from good sleep. Your hormones will be off, your hunger will be up and your brain will be foggy. Establish a routine prior to bed that enhances your sleep.

7. Not drinking enough water: Many of us are partially dehydrated. Download a water drinking app to your cell phone, let it remind you to drink throughout the day. Set a goal of half your body weight in ounces of water and see what happens.

"My programmes focus on helping clients move in the direction of better health and towards their goals. I also help people feel their best and understand their body so they can make better choices," she said.

Her focus is not on weight loss, but many of Murray's clients have weight loss goals and experience improvements in energy levels, better quality sleep, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and some have identified the cause of their eczema, their allergies and migraines afterwards.

Come January, Murray will offer programmes designed to shake off the extra holiday pounds, kick start a 2016 health plan, curb cravings and increase energy.

The married mother of three said, "Participants will be able to develop better habits; gain a deeper understanding of how their food choices impact their health, and feel empowered to make better choices."