The holiday season is upon us and we all know what that means — food, food and more food. Every place I have ever worked starts celebrating the holidays with food on October 31st extending through to December 31st. Food brings us together. Unfortunately, most of the foods we socialize with during these few months cause us to gain more weight than we normally would at any other time of the year — cookies, pies, cakes, candies, nuts, cheesy casseroles, alcoholic beverages"?¦.
Why not start an office wide weight loss/fitness contest this year, including healthy eats for the next couple of months? I hate to be the one to say it, but offices are full of unhealthy and overweight people and this could be just the incentive everyone needs to get moving towards the New Year. Sometimes people need motivation and encouragement and groups provide that support needed.
We all know that men lose weight quicker than women, so the contest should be based on percentage of weight lost instead of pounds (divide the number of pounds lost into the total weight for percentage). Designate one trustworthy person to keep everyone´s confidential weight charts, because we all know this is a sensitive area for many people.
Plan to make the contest eight weeks long. This is enough time to lose a minimum of 16 pounds, which would be a huge accomplishment considering this is the eating season. Start on November 7th, allowing time to prepare and get the word out, and plan to have the final results in by January 3rd.
Have employees get involved in sharing healthy food items such as delicious morning protein shakes, fun potlucks where everyone brings something nutritious they´ve never made before (could be scary, but interesting). As a weight loss counselor, I highly recommend and personally use the recipes I find from the Body-For-LifeTM menus, http://www.bodyforlife.com/nutrition/recipesIndex.asp. Most of these recipes include user comments and ratings by the people who have tried them, which is a wonderful resource to know that someone has actually taste-tested the meals you are about to prepare.
If you have stairs in your building, use your breaks to walk. I have a friend who lost 30 pounds doing absolutely nothing but walking the stairs twice a day during her 15-minute breaks. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air. If you have a gym in your building, take full advantage of this opportunity. Yes, this is an opportunity to change your lifestyle.
Every Monday, chart the weight loss results of each participant. The employee with the highest percentage for the week should be given a reward such as a Â½ day off work, a two-hour lunch, a gift certificate for a movie — something meaningful. At the end of the contest, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners should each receive a reward — and remember once again, this was done during the most difficult time of the entire year, so make it worth everyone´s while. I say a cruise to the Bahamas would be quite nice (okay, perhaps not that extravagant) but you get the picture, have fun with it. Make it a big deal, because it is.
Health and Fitness is an individual choice. However, your company as a whole will reap the benefits through reduced sick days, reduced time off due to stress and fatigue, and increased employee morale. Quite often when people start a healthy program, smoking and drinking is reduced or eliminated, which is also a benefit to the company.
Send me an email on November 7th letting me know that your company has decided to participate. I will keep track of everyone´s progress and we all will celebrate in your victories at the New Year. I look forward to hearing from you!
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends, and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.” ~Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises from 1959-1994