Sep 26 2013

obesity in workplace

There are many people who are bound to the desk for the majority of their day.  Maybe you are one of them.  But aside from being inactive for most of the day, your coworkers and workplace could be crushing your plans to lose weight or even build muscle.

Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a social scientist at Harvard Medical School, stated, “Social influence in the workplace profoundly affects many aspects of our lives, including our health…”

That’s true.

I worked in various settings; farm, law firm, bar, and gym, to name a few.  Simply put, working in the gym made it much easier to stay fit, healthy, and strong because you are surrounded by people who want the same and you are an environment that is full of energy.

But when I worked at a bar, there was much more social influence to have several drinks and enjoy deep fried bar foods.  I’m proud to say, I didn’t succumb to the pressure very much especially since I was preparing for my first bodybuilding competition during that time.

For you it may be harder.

You have a goal of losing weight and getting into the best damn shape of your life.  You have it all planned out to workout in the morning, having a healthy breakfast, take your packed lunch, and carpe diem.  But, then you find out it’s someone’s birthday and your workplace is throwing a mini birthday party with pizza, cake, and ice cream.  That’s okay, because you have your packed lunch, right?

You sing the Happy Birthday, clap your hands, and while everyone starts digging in to the pizza – you pull out your bagged lunch and all eyes burn holes through your clothes.

“You’re not going to eat pizza?”

“Are you on a diet?”

“No birthday cake?”

“Wow, you are sooo good, I could never resist this?”

Sounds familiar?  It’s as if everyone suddenly becomes super defensive because you want to eat something different and become healthier.  Okay.  Maybe it is a special occasion and you want some damn birthday cake. But you get the point.

It’s like when their is bowl of fruits next to the box of donuts in the morning.  Everyone is grabbing their donuts to go along with their cup of joe, but then you make the decision to reach for an apple instead and the questions begin to fly away.

Another study by Dr. Jon LaPook found that obesity is become a “contagious disease” – spreading person to person like a virus.

Usually when we want to get into better shape and live healthier, we tell our family and friends first.  So let’s say, we have them all on board even though that doesn’t always happen.  You know because family and friends are supportive and want to help you out in any way especially when you tell them how important it is to you.

Fun fact: From the study by Dr. LaPook he found, “Among married couples, when one spouse becomes obese, the risk to the other increases by 37 percent. For siblings, the risk rises 40 percent.”

I digress, a little, but let’s get back to the workplace.

The fact above can also be angled towards your coworkers.  You spend the majority of your day and week with them.  They have an influence on your life as well.

corporate fitness

So how can you get your job to help you cut the fat and look and feel damn good?

Sharing your personal goals, especially when it comes to fitness and let’s be honest, your looks, is not as easy as telling your family and friends.  In the workplace, over lunch, people talk about diets, exercise, wanting to lose weight, their crazy night, gossip about other coworkers, and what not.

If you can get a group of coworkers to join in on your quest to being healthier, it’ll make your journey a lot easier.

1) Throw out a friendly challenge to see who can lose the most body fat.

2) Get the boss in on the mix to maybe have more an incentive for the winner.  Work it from this angle:

In addition to lost productivity costs, employers often pay more in medical costs for overweight or obese employees. Obese workers cost companies 42 percent more in medical expenditures, according to the Southeast Missourian. But there are ways businesses can mitigate the costs. For every $1 that companies invest in wellness programs, they earn back $3 to $6, the Southeast Missourian reports.

3) Create a buddy system to hold each other accountable

4) Bring in a good looking professional fitness expert, I’d like to think I’m good looking, to present on ways to increase healthy habits and fitness in the workplace and at home.

5) Take the initiative to start a health and wellness program at work.

Instead of having obesity in the workplace be the “contagious disease” – make a goal to have healthy and fit the new “contagious disease”.

Stay Strong.  Be Healthy.  Be Ku!

Aloha.

PS: Need a little guidance for yourself or your team, check out my coaching programs or you can contact me through email at [email protected] AIPAPROJECT.COM to set up something.

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