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Living life in the fast food lane

Whilst browsing on-line discussions on social media, Sarah Heward, owner of The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum, Perthshire, realised how many people working in the fish and chip industry have health issues. Here she shares her tips for staying fit and healthy

I’ve spent my entire working life in the catering and hospitality sector and I’m now in my mid fifties. Although it may sound odd, the truth is that I’ve never felt better. But it hasn’t always been like this.

I have had quite a journey, both professionally and personally, many challenging situations mixed with wonderful experiences and the opportunity to meet some lovely and inspirational people. The one thing this industry has never been is boring!  Every day is different. However, I found that as I got older both my physical and mental health was declining and I wasn’t looking after myself. Something had to change and, in fact, lots of things had to change. And these changes had to be sustainable!

Going on a diet really didn’t cut it for me, so instead I made small, gradual changes and stuck to them. So here are my top tips for success if you want to make changes to your lifestyle:

1. Take time to create a vision of your desired outcome. Make it strong and attractive. Make it something you can aspire to and be proud of. This will help provide day-to-day motivation to continue when times get tough.

2. Take time to plan out what you want to achieve and how you think you’ll do it. Enlist the help and support of friends, family and your work colleagues before you start.

3. Review your working practices, rotas, staff skill sets, procedures, opening hours, menu etc, and see what could change to help you reach your goals. Consider your sleep because getting a good night's sleep is vital to how you’ll perform.

4. Drink plenty of water and cut down alcohol and fizzy drinks if you need to.

5. Eat well. Plan your meals and eat at regular intervals throughout your day. My motto is “little and often”.

6. Make small, gradual changes, don’t try to boil the ocean!

7. If you have specific health concerns, spend some time looking into support groups, foods, supplements or exercise routines that are recommended to help and/or maybe seek professional advice.

8. Get some exercise and fresh air. Walk briskly for 20 minutes, four times a week. You don’t have to sign up for a marathon or Ironman but a simple goal might help motivate you. There are great events happening everywhere, all the time and you might be able to tie it in with marketing the business at the same time.

9. Be patient, take baby steps, focusing on each day as it comes. Keep it up and you will get results, I assure you. 

10. Take time to note your achievements and progress and be proud of being a better boss, partner, friend, parent and role model for those around you.

Remember, the better you perform, the better your business will perform.

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