Get All Access for $5/mo

8 Ways Fattening Your Waistline Is Thinning Your Bottom Line Success requires being in it for the long haul, which in turn requires healthy food, sufficient exercise and enough sleep.

By Scott Putnam Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ron Krisel | Getty Images

As an entrepreneur, you're no stranger to the demands, pressure and sacrifice needed to run a business. You're the one on the hook for making sure things get done. When focusing on the needs of the business sometimes everything else moves to the back burner -- including our own health needs. If improving your bottom line has diverted your attention from a steadily growing waistline, you're certainly not alone.

I work with seasoned business owners who admit that although they think about making diet and lifestyle changes, the needs of the business always seem to come first. The pervasive thought is business matters are the top priority and the growing waistline can wait. Nothing could be further from the truth! Currently more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight and one-third of those are obese. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), obesity-related conditions are the leading causes of preventable death. Taking care of your health makes good business sense.

Here are eight convincing reasons to make health and wellness your absolute top priority in 2018.

1. You need to protect your assets.

Any business person worth their salt knows that protecting assets is a fundamental part of keeping a business afloat. If you've battled with serious illness, you can truly appreciate the old saying, "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything."

Rather than protecting their health, busy execs often damage their most precious asset with unhealthy food and lack of sleep or exercise while burning the candle at both ends. Your health is the largest asset in the portfolio of your life. Are you protecting it by choosing a healthy diet and lifestyle or could it be at risk?

Related: Why Food, Sleep and Exercise Are Critical to Success

2. You'll gain a clearer vision.

You work hard to create a successful business and do what it takes to reach the top. You've likely experienced draining the battery of precious time and energy. I used to run myself ragged with long days slugging down fast and cheap food while doing very little activity to raise my heartrate. Eating healthy was not a priority at the time. Sure, I thought about it often enough, but mistakenly believed it was something I could revisit at a later date. I finally came to the realization that later was an illusion. I needed to create a vision and mission for my health that was as clear as the vision I had for my company.

Results matter, and our daily decisions about what to put in our mouth may be the most important ones of the day! A good place to start is by deciding how healthy you want to be. It really is a decision. These little daily choices piled on top of each other add up to a lifetime of either good or bad eating habits. Seeing the big picture of how your health habits drive your success in business is the first step to making lasting change.

Related: How Consistent Exercise Makes You More Productive

3. It pays dividends.

We are unlikely to make significant changes unless we have a clear understanding of the very real and tangible benefits of a diet overhaul. Change is rarely convenient or easy when we are comfortable with how things are, even if they're less than optimal. Trekking down the dark and cold alley of the unknown is a leap of faith.

I never realized how horrible I felt until I felt better. Lack of energy and a general feeling of mediocrity were my daily baseline norm. After a wakeup call from my doctor, I adopted a plant-based diet and began moving my body more. I began a "couch to 5k" program. When I finally realized the fruits of my labor the "dividends" included an almost electric buzzing energy, enthusiasm for my work and a new zest for tackling life's challenges. Dividends like these are undoubtedly capable of propelling business forward!

Related: 3 Simple Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

4. The team needs you.

You've likely heard the phrase, "No man is an island." We all need the support of strong mentors and leaders in the organization to achieve goals. A vibrant team requires a strong and healthy leader at the top. Having the strength to inspire and motivate others requires a concentrated effort on your part.

There's an old saying, "Successful people do what unsuccessful people don't feel like doing." If you're not reaching peak performance in leading your team, or the energy meter seems to be low, it may be a symptom of poor diet choices. You've surrounded yourself with good people committed to supporting company goals. They need you performing at your best, pulling out the stops and driving the bottom line. Leading by example is the best way to cultivate healthy, happy and productive co-workers. By walking your talk, you become the person others want to follow and emulate.

Related: Inspire Wellness in Your Workplace, and Watch Productivity Soar

5. Stay balanced and nimble.

In the face of an ever-changing business landscape, being lean, balanced, and flexible allows our business and our bodies to adapt quickly to changing demands. If you find yourself in a "health rut" and it feels like you're stuck, think balanced and nimble by being proactive and taking action before you're forced to. Being proactive with our health means we're choosing to eat the healthiest foods that truly fuel body for peak performance. Okay, we all know we should eat right and exercise. Great, we get that, but what does that actually look like, and how does it help us stay agile? A mounting body of evidence is showing the benefits of eating more plant foods and less animal products for many reasons including boosting productivity. In his book, "How Not to Die," Dr. Michael Greger outlines specific methods for eluding our most common killers. Spoiler alert: he recommends eating a variety of whole plant foods and avoiding animal products, along with the flagrant culprits like processed, fried, and junk foods.

6. Healthier Bottom Line. When I think about what it means to have a healthy bottom line, and growing my business, the numbers need to be in the black. Viewing this same idea through the lens of our own health, do we find ourselves in the red or in the black? A healthy waistline is just as important as a healthy bottom line for longevity. As a former obese (and now recovering) food addict, I can speak with authority about the pleasures of indulging in unhealthy foods and the justification that "I deserve it." After losing 65 pounds through a plant-based diet and seeing my weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol plummet, I can tell you the numbers don't lie. If you want to maintain a healthy "bottom" line, it's a good idea to stay in tune as often as possible by getting regular physicals. I recommend getting the works: check weight, body-mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol and the other health indicators through biometrics (bloodwork). Taking a good hard look at these numbers may be the wakeup call you need. Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric for 30 years, nailed it when he said, "Change before you have to." I'd like to write a fortune cookie that says, "He who focuses on the bottom line in money matters must not ignore a growing waistline." Knowing your numbers, setting goals and tracking improvements will move you much quicker toward a healthy "bottom" line.

7. You're Accountable. This could be the most powerful reason of all to place your health and well-being at the tippy-top of the priority list. As a business owner, we get all the credit or the blame for how well the business is doing. We can't point the finger at others and somehow skirt the issue. We have to face the music and address any issues head on. It's exactly the same with our health. We get every ounce of credit or blame for our current state of bodily affairs. You might be thinking, "Hold on a minute…what about my genes? Don't they play a role in determining my outlook for potential diseases?" The answer is yes, and no. According to Dr. Neal Barnard, our genes are dictators of our health but more like "committees." He notes in his book, "Turn off the Fat Genes," it's really more about whether or not our genes are expressed, or "turned on," which has everything to do with what we eat. Good health or poor health must be earned and we're accountable for what's at the end of our fork!

8. Results Matter. As a plant-based nutrition expert and product licensing coach with InventRight, I aim to see tangible results. The numbers matter. When you begin to make and track changes in your diet, you'll not only feel the difference, the numbers will reflect your efforts and you'll be amazed at how fast it can happen! In the documentary film, PlantPure Nation a group of people are placed on a whole food, plant-based diet for just 10 days. The participants are weighed, and their biometrics are taken before and after the 10 days. The positive results are staggering, and the doctor in the film revealed that "in 27 years of testing, he has never seen results like these." Your health, much like your business is dynamic and takes effort on your part to improve.

In 2018, consider treating your health as well as your business by taking an honest inventory, recognizing any areas of improvement, noting potential threats, and staying focused on the one thing that truly matters most…YOU!

Scott Putnam

Founder of Whole Living Nutrition, LLC

Scott Putnam is an inventor, entrepreneur and nutrition coach who blends his passion for health and wellness with the world of business. He helps people license their ideas as a coach for Inventright and is co-owner of Whole Living Nutrition, where he shares resources for nutrition, health and wellness.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


How to Close the Trust Gap Between You and Your Team — 5 Strategies for Leaders

Trust is tanking in your workplace. Here's how to fix it and become the boss your team needs to succeed.

Health & Wellness

Get a Year of Unlimited Yoga Class Downloads for Only $23 Through June 17

Regular exercise has been proven to increase energy and focus, both of which are valuable to entrepreneurs and well-known benefits of yoga.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

'Passing By Wide Margins': Elon Musk Celebrates His 'Guaranteed Win' of the Highest Pay Package in U.S. Corporate History

Musk's Tesla pay package is almost 140 times higher than the annual pay of other high-performing CEOs.

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.

Business Culture

Why Remote Work Policies Are Good For the Environment

Remote work policies are crucial for ESG guidelines. Embracing remote work can positively impact your business and employees.