Halloween and the Sweet Tooth Craze

It’s no surprise that America is sugar obsessed. Most everyone is aware that too much sugar is not good for the body, yet we consume some of the highest amounts in the entire world.  According to the USDA, the average American eats about 170 pounds of the sweet stuff each year.

Sugar is much like an addictive drug, exciting the pleasure centers of our brain and enticing our taste buds to crave more. Consuming mass amounts of sugar overtime can cause serious health problems such as chronic disease, obesity, migraines, diabetes, behavioral problems and even allergies.

How can you reduce your sugar intake? 

Eat sweets in moderation. Read your food labels and beware of sneaky sugar in bread, condiments, salad dressing, soups and pasta sauce.  Replace one sugary drink per day with a water, and cook more meals at home.

For kids, especially during Halloween, monitor their intake and set allowances of how much candy they can have per day. The increase in sugar can affect their sleep patterns and ability to pay attention in school.

Eight Tips to Avoid the Negative Effects of a Desk Job

Many people find themselves sitting at a desk for a majority of the workday. If you are one of those people, you probably realize that this sedentary lifestyle is not the best for your health. Sitting at a desk all day is bad for your heart, your posture, your circulation, and can lead to weight gain.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent it. These eight tips will not only help keep the weight off, but they can mitigate some of the other detrimental effects of sitting at your desk all day as well. Most of them revolve around the simple act of moving – any chance you get.

Tip #1: Jump start your metabolism in the morning before work. To burn more calories throughout the day, try drinking cold water and eating a good breakfast with protein, or get in some early morning exercise. Even a quick 10-15 minute exercise when you get out of bed (push-ups, crunches, burpees, etc.) will be beneficial and give you added energy for the rest of the day.

Tip #2: Watch what you eat and stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and pack yourself a healthy lunch. Throw away that bag of chips or box of cookies and swap it out for fruits, veggies, healthy protein, nuts, and yogurt. See our blog on “Eating Healthy During the Work Week” for more great ideas. {LINK TO BLOG WHEN PUBLISHED}

Tip #3: Do exercises and easy stretches at your desk. Every couple of hours, or when you have a free moment, incorporate exercise or stretching into your day. It will get the muscles moving, heart pumping, and blood flowing.

Tip #4: Use your lunch hour to get some exercise. If you can’t get to a gym, go for a walk. The activity will give both your mind and your body a break. Don’t forget to forego the elevator and take the stairs!

Tip #5: Swap your chair out for an exercise ball. This simple change will improve your posture by forcing you to use more of your core muscles to sit up straight. You might also be tempted to squeeze in some crunches, planks, or other exercises when you have a free minute or two.

Tip #6: Evolve to a standing desk. You probably don’t want to stand for a full day, but alternating standing and sitting will break up the monotony of sitting. More importantly, you burn more calories when you stand.

Tip #7: Schedule walking meetings. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! You’ll be getting work done while getting some exercise all at once.

Tip #9: Get a Fitness tracker. It’s amazing how numbers can drive you to set goals and exceed them. This is part of the philosophy behind fitness trackers. It keeps track of all the things you do during the day (activity, exercise, food, weight, sleep) and gives you feedback so you can see the numbers, whether it’s pounds lost, steps walked, or hours slept.

Having a sedentary job doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to gain weight. Just remember to eat right and keep moving!

Time Management Tips for Back to School

Even though summer feels like it just started, the school buses will be revving up before we know it. In order to prepare for back-to-school time and transition schedules for you and your family, it’s important to implement good time management practices that will lessen anxiety and stress.

Get a jump start on things before school starts. Look for weekly deals at your favorite stores for school supplies and buy extra so you have it for the middle of the year when your student starts to run out. This not only saves time, but money, too. Also, start implementing the school year schedule early. Slowly adjust sleep and wake up times to get closer what they will be during the school year, assign “homework” that can be completed in the afternoon, and schedule time for activities such as what the student would experience at recess or after-school activities.

When the school year arrives, set you and your family up for success by carrying out the routine you’ve established. Also, packing backpack and lunches as well as setting out clothes the night before will help for an easy morning. Additionally, buy snacks in bulk to save money and portion them out beforehand so you can grab and go. This is a helpful tip for back-up breakfasts as well if you are running late in the morning.

Doing a little bit at a time to prepare for the transition back to school can go a long way to keeping your family on track and your sanity intact!

What to Do (and NOT do) to Help You Sleep Like a Baby

Some of us sleep like babies, but unfortunately, many of us don’t. Approximately 20 to 40 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia, a sleep disorder resulting in wakefulness or restlessness and an overall inability to sleep. Some people can fall asleep fine, but suffer from an inability to stay asleep, which is referred to as sleep-maintenance insomnia.

Dealing with insomnia of any kind is frustrating and the reality is that there is no cure besides medication. What you can do is improve your “sleep hygiene” to get your body and mind in shape for a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips to make that happen.

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. The routine will reinforce the natural sleep-wake cycle of your body.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise during the day (but not in the few hours before bedtime). The physical activity will help tire your body out so you can sleep better.
  • Develop a bedtime routine that involves winding down as you get in bed. For example, take a warm shower, brush your teeth, do some easy stretching or practice yoga before turning off the light.
  • Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable. This involves being in a cool, dark, and quiet room with a comfortable mattress.
  • When you find yourself tossing and turning in the middle of the night, try to meditate. Practice progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing to force yourself into a more relaxed state. If that doesn’t work, try listening to soft music or reading for 20-30 minutes before you try to go back to sleep.
  • Avoid eating large meals before bed.
  • Avoid stimulants (caffeine, nicotine) in the afternoon.
  • Avoid alcohol in the few hours before you go to bed. Alcohol may initially seem as though it makes you sleepy, but it may cause you to wake up later as your body metabolizes the alcohol.
  • Avoid using technology right before you go to bed (i.e., watching television, working on your computer or other electronic devices).
  • Avoid naps or limit them to no more than 30 min.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. To wake up well rested and refreshed, set yourself up for success by using our tips above to improve the quality of your sleep.

Why Millennial Entrepreneurs Should Start a Government Contracting Business

Why Millennial Entrepreneurs Should Start a Government Contracting Business

Frank Contrarian Viewpoint #117.5 

See that blue arrow pointed to that guy’s head? He might be a wealthy man one day. If he plays his cards right, I give him a 43% probability of achievement which is something I cannot say about other entrepreneurial endeavors.

How Can I Be So Sure?

I took this picture at the National Veterans Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) a few weeks ago in Norfolk, VA where about 300 veteran-owned business executives gathered for the Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium 2017 (VETS17). The gent identified by the arrow is one of two millennials in a room full of no-hairs (like me) and grey hairs who call themselves small business government contractors.

There were only two millennials in attendance. I know this because as we did an impromptu age roll call during a luncheon and we only had two young men (both mid-thirties) stand-up. The rest of us stood up when 40, 50, 60, and 70 years old were called. I estimate the average age of these small business execs at 50.

Mind you, I did not spot anybody using a walker or a cane, but as I wandered the conference floor and attended sessions, I could not help but wonder who in the hell is going to replace us? Where is the young blood for this industry? As I see it, small business government contracting is not a sexy industry and thus not attracting millennial entrepreneurs. Remember the old Apple commercials featuring PC and Mac?

Not too hard to figure out which guy belongs in Washington, DC and the other in Silicon Valley. The PC/DC guy tends to wear suits and ties and the rules and regulations to conduct business are crushing. Few gov cons will set up shop in a WeWork environment, there will be no dogs in the office, and forget about the kegerator. Ask an MBA entrepreneurship class about heading east (assuming you are west of DC) to set-up a govcon business and eyes will dart to the floor.

So why should millennial entrepreneurs consider entering the govcon world? Below are my top four reasons:

  • The US federal government is the world’s largest customer spending $400B annually and small business set-aside programs are a great way to started.
  • Warren Buffett often discusses his economic moat concept in that a business should continue to widen the moat every year to keep its competitors at bay from its core business. There are many ways in government contracting to construct a business moat ranging from company ownership (i.e., set-aside eligibility), contract vehicles, and security clearances.
  • Notwithstanding the PC guy pictured above, as I understand it, Washington, DC and its immediate surroundings are considered cool places to live. I am not a millennial and ceased being cool along time ago, so you have to make your own decision about this.
  • Finally, it’s not all about money in government contracting. In my business, we serve active duty service members and veterans on a variety of programs and we enjoy a double bottom line; making a profit while supporting our Nation. For me, I can have my cake and can eat it too.

So pack up your stuff and Waze it to DC or Silicon Valley? Let me know your thoughts.


This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Dan Frank, CEO of Three Wire.