Thursday, June 21, 2012

Losing Weight At Work

I've always said that successful weight loss is all about lifestyle change.  If you can switch over to daily routines (key word - daily) that include reasonable exercise and proper eating, you can lose weight and KEEP it off.  If you have to stress yourself to do it, then you probably won't go very far.  Bottom line, if its too hard to do, most of us won't do it!

Assuming that most of us work, its safe to say that a major part of most days involve a high degree of dedication (8 hours?) towards staying employed.  Though some might have jobs that involve exercise, many of us spend our days parked in a sitting position with little opportunity to get up and move around.  (Flat Butt Syndrome!) 

As it stands right now, most employers are more concerned with getting tasks done, than with finding ways to provide staff with healthy lifestyles while at work.  But there are changes appearing on the horizon.

As health care costs increase significantly each year, Companies are waking up to the fact that healthy employees cause less financial drain than unhealthy ones.  Besides higher attendance rates, staff members who maintain a higher degree of fitness also tend to be more energetic and typically exhibit a more positive attitude while at work.  And of course, healthy workers tend to use medical services a lot less than their unhealthy counterparts.  All of this adds up to one thing - places of employment need to be gateways to healthy living, not impediments.

An article by Monte Mitchell of the Winston Salem Journal focuses on what one NC Manufacturer is doing to help their employees lose weight and enjoy healthier lifestyles while at work.  Renfro Corp, the worlds largest manufacturer of socks has among other things, marked off a walking track on the floor of a warehouse at the company's headquarters in Mt. Airy, NC.  Workers are encouraged to use it where appropriate as a means of getting up and refeshing themselves in a healthy way.

Staffer Sharon Flippin lost 35 pounds over the past year, a feat that she attributes to the efforts of her employer. She typically walks a mile each morning and afternoon on the indoor track.  "It helps me keep from getting stressed and clears the mind, and you have the added benefit of exercise," said Flippin.

Unfortunately, Renfro Corp is more the exception than the rule at this point, but the trend towards the development of corporate wellness programs is slowly catching on.  For example, I do weight loss motivational presentations for companies based on my success at losing 70 pounds using a combination of simple things that anyone can do.

But in the meantime, any efforts to incorporate a healthy lifestyle while at work may fall on your shoulders.  Where practical, try to get out of your chair or work station at least once per hour to walk around.  Consider taking the longest route between two points (without being counter-productive with your time).  This can be as simple as taking the steps instead of the elevator.  My favorite approach is doing conference calls on my cell phone in the parking lot (we don't have an indoor track). 

Trust me, there is always an opportunity for exercise if you just open your eyes and look for it - the real problem is that most people spend a huge amount of brain power trying to find ways to avoid it!

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