Rise of the Cubicle Zombie

You are a 30 something, male, thinking what happened to me, perhaps you even made it to 40 something

The Thirty’s hit you like a Tua punch to the face….and then 40 was like a Joe Parker left hook….

Your career has taken over and you are working 70 hour weeks, not exercising and eating crap on the run.

You feel exhausted all the time and you are carrying a little “extra” where you don’t want it. You are less inclined to engage with your partner in a sensual way, sex has become perfunctory and last less time than it used to.

You might have a young family underway and a new house with a mortgage and lawns to mow, gardens to keep tidy, maintenance on the house and car to manage and the list goes on. The “stress” of real life has hit you and hit hard.

Your nutrition consists of an Up and Go along with a flat white for brekkie, you hit the sandwich bar for lunch and you snack on lollies and trail mix, ‘cos it’s healthy, throughout the day. On your way home you pick up a sneaky six pack of stein grenades, and you have a pre-prepared meal heated up in the microwave for dinner because it is simple and everyone has had a full on day and the last thing anyone wants to do is take the time to cook, it is just so much like carrying on work when you get home.

As you arrive in the office, sipping the last of your second red bull for the morning, you are feeling ready to go as you head to your desk. Your manager sees you and grabs you for a quick catch up. That quick catch up with your manager has just added another 30 hours of effort to you next few days and you end up wondering where you are going to make up all the time. As you sit down at your desk you suck it up and get on with your morning, mid-morning rolls around and you are feeling drained, so you pop out on the coffee run as it is your turn and that puts a little more fire in your belly, you also nailed a One Square Meal or something like that to get you to lunch time. Sitting in your cubicle tapping away on your keyboard, answering the phone, doing your job and not seeming to get ahead. Lunch time rolls around and a few of your colleagues and you head up the street to knock back a Subway, it is Wednesday after all and they have that Meatball special you so love for $7, and you wash it down with large coke.

Back in your cubicle after lunch has got half way down your throat, because you had to wolf it down remembering you hadn’t prepared for a 2.30pm meeting, you are sitting having a hard time focussing on what you need to prepare for. Was it a meeting about team building or was it on the project you had been assigned just that morning. You hunt out the emails and realise you actually have to present on a topic related to the project you hadn’t done any research on as yet. Time. For. Another. Coffee.

By the time the 2.30pm meeting is wrapping up at 4pm due to it running over time, you are in a complete mental fog barely realising the meeting is being bought to a close and that you had presented a 15 min slide deck by winging it based on your previous experience. Your ability to concentrate and absorb what is going on is waning and people just seem to blurry apparitions in the periphery of your sight. You decide you need to get back to your desk and get that late afternoon red bull hit you think should have happened at least 45 minutes ago. Wow, there you go, things seem to come back into perspective and you sit and craft an email summarising the meeting and the next action steps you need to accomplish. Hit. Send. Home. Time. Hmmmm where am I going to get my six pack from tonight, maybe a nice craft beer will do it, should I get a couple of ciders for my partner as well, that’ll help assuage my guilt.

Holy. Crap. Cubicle. Zombie.

You may not “look” overweight and you have been having nagging thoughts about cholesterol and heart issues for the past couple of years. You decide on getting a check-up with your doctor and your cholesterol levels are high, not crazy high, however enough to worry you and your family and the doctor is hanging out to prescribe you some drugs or may well have done this already. A good doctor may have told you that you needed to get your nutrition sorted out and given you pamphlet which has some basic information and a couple of websites to visit, you read it briefly and toss it on the kitchen table to do something about later on. You felt overwhelmed and under-supported in helping you make some change.

What happened to my twenties you may be asking…

You blazed through your 20’s without having to worry about much in life, you had tons of energy, a great job that paid well, an active social life and not much real responsibility. You played a team sport on the weekend and trained a couple of nights during the week and went large with the lads a couple of times a week as well. Red Bull Vodka anyone. Your career was important and you have developed it nicely and are forging a successful reputation for yourself which will continue to pay off for you.

As your 20’s were closing out you probably met a lovely partner and things were getting serious, less time going large, more time spent with a new priority in your life. Meals out, wine instead of beer, long walks on the beach, maybe got your first pet as a “trial” for what the commitment of looking after another living thing brings to your own life. Sounding familiar, read on.

Cubicle. Zombie. What. To. Do.

A week or two after your visit with the Dr and getting your results along with a pamphlet and a “telling you” approach to the solution, you still haven’t managed to do anything about it. Why is that? You are a smart guy, have a great job with a supporting family however you just don’t know how to put it all together or even where to start.

You skated through the twenties and have habits you just can’t switch off by going on a “diet” or thrashing yourself at the gym with skant regard for your thirty something body and mind. You have a general view of what the outcome looks like and could choose a hundred different ways to get there, do I go Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, juice only diet, blah blah blah supplement this and supplement that. The answer is yes and no to be fair, however without a great foundation of some simple habits it doesn’t matter what “diet” approach you take it is likely to end in failure or at the very least not sustainable over the long term. Is that a healthy solution, well quite simply no. To get to a better place you need to put down some good foundations and do simple things like the following before you concern yourself about a specific approach to food like Paleo, Zone, South Beach and so forth. Do the following well and things should start to change for you:

  • Eat slowly
  • Eat until you are 80% full, if you don’t know what that is, think of Christmas Day as 120% full and dial back from there
  • Eat Protein Dense Foods with Each Meal
  • Eat Vegetables with Each Meal
  • Eat Healthy Fats Daily

If you have no idea what or how to do any of those things then you should be looking to engage a nutrition coach to help you formulate a plan. Maybe you don’t know what protein, carbs and fats are or how you should be putting them together for you specifically. Perhaps you don’t know how to shop or cook properly. If those are the foundations you lack then buying a “diet” plan off someone for $149.00 or something like that is a recipe for disaster, excuse the pun.

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