Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
December 16, 2010    

At work programs

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Amy Culver

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At work programs

Do you work in an environment where it seems that every Friday is "potluck" Friday?  Is walking through the office a daily obstacle course of candy and donut temptations?

While most workplaces are like this right now, some are this way all year long!  This can be very frustrating to someone who is trying to lose weight; it can be a deal-breaker!

Recently, I was talking to someone with this dilemma and he came up with a great solution.  He instituted an at-work weight-loss competition.

In a country in which so many of us are overweight, this is becoming a very popular employee morale boosting activity.  Most anyone is either in a position to start one, or at least suggest it to someone who is.  Who knows, perhaps the suggestion will even earn you a few brownie points.  Or should I say carrot points?

Because not everyone is the same size and could lose weight equally, you would have to find a way to measure results fairly.  Percentage of body weight lost is a simple one.  Some firms will hire a trainer to come in and take several measurements at the beginning and end of the competition.

You can set up weekly (or more often) "lunch bunch" meetings where you discuss hurdles and successes.  You can use this time to share healthy recipes and new food finds.

A great way to keep everyone on track might be to set up an at-work Weight Watchers meeting.  Weight Watchers will send a leader to your workplace once a week to facilitate a meeting.  The only string attached is that you have to have a minimum number of people (about 15) pay for a minimum number of weeks up front.  It works out to something like $100 - $150 per person for 10 weeks.  It's a small investment, and it really creates commitment for each person.  Although it might seem nice to get your company to cover the cost, I believe it's important for the individual to have something invested in the process. 

If your company is willing to put up some funds, though, there might be other ways to apply them.  As I mentioned above, hiring a trainer is a possibility.  This person could come and educate the staff on exercise and nutrition.  If the facilities are available, they could even facilitate an exercise class, or work with employees one-on-one.

Monetary awards are always a great motivator.  Even if the company cannot supply this, the participants could create a cash pool to be awarded to the winner.

The benefits of starting a program like this are huge.  A better overall environment is created for anyone who wants to live a healthier life.  The participants will have more energy, more focus for their work, and less sick days overall.  Participants will have an opportunity to bond outside their regular work time interaction in a healthy and constructive way.

Right now is a great time to suggest a plan to start after the New Year.  If you give it a try, please write to me and let me know how it goes.

Have a Merry Christmas!


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