By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager
Professional women need to prioritize their health and nutrition if they want to perform at a high level, said one nutrition expert.
“Your health really is your greatest wealth, and you do need to put yourself first,” said Carolyn Stephenson, senior vice president of strategy at Syneos Health Communications. “You won't be able to serve your team, take care of your kids or nurture your partner if you're not feeling your best.”
Stephenson will present “Health is Our Greatest Wealth,” at the Women, Wealth and Wellness Conference in July, discussing hormone imbalance and how to develop a plan to nurture physical and mental health.
She said women “so often put themselves last,” because of commitments to children, partners, colleagues and more. This can come at the cost of losing out on their own personal and professional opportunities.
“When we're talking about any other health goal or outcome, the first step really starts with acknowledging that, by putting yourself first, you're not putting anyone else last,” she said.
Living a healthy lifestyle can be a complicated issue for many women, Stephenson said, thanks to pressure from society and others to look a certain way or eat particular foods. An abundance mindset is key for those looking to think positively about their relationship with food and their bodies, she said. Instead of avoiding some types of foods, focus on whole foods and vegetables that will give energy and nutrients.
One of the common issues Stephenson said she finds in the professional women she works with is little time available when it comes to planning and preparing meals. Oftentimes they look to foods that are convenient in the moment but don’t offer much nutritional value. She said she encourages women to integrate a healthier style of eating without disrupting their busy lifestyle.
Stephenson said if most of what you are eating is healthy and nutritious, you shouldn’t feel guilty about treating yourself to snacks and other indulgences occasionally.
“Think of it as ‘I'm having all of these things that make my body feel good and fuel me so that I can show up as the best manager, present mom, loving partner and good friend,’” she said. “All of these things use nutrition and an abundance mindset as enabling you to show up as your best self.”