Motivating Employees to Lose Weight

Almost everybody wants to drop a few pounds or so, but losing weight is a tedious task. However, if your employees lose weight and become fit, slim and healthy people, your company would benefit from lower insurance costs and improved productivity.

Doing so in your workplace would require employee goodwill and teamwork. By helping your employees achieve what has been an unattainable goal, you become part of a larger solution for your workers. The "hero status" that you would gain and the positive results in their bodies is more valuable than a paycheck.

Although weight loss is not your organization’s area of expertise, these tips will help you come up with your own fitness program that works on all employees.

Don’t just single out obese people – Be inclusive. Create a wellness program that emphasizes the benefits of a lifestyle change, centering on healthy eating and regular exercise, which would be beneficial to everyone. This means that even the "thin" workers should also shape up and be fit. Even if you have employees who are already doing everything right, you still need to provide them with the health program to help them keep up the good work and maintain their ideal body weight.

Be honest about the cost of excess weight – Tell your workers with all honesty that your company is finding it difficult to provide higher wages and better benefits when much of the company’s money goes to support illnesses that could be prevented, such as heart disease. A company-wide meeting or a passed-around company announcement could do the trick, but it is more important to initiate face-to-face conversations with your employees. They will respect you more if you express concern for their well-being rather than just the money aspect of it.

Be prepared for a long-term commitment – Losing weight takes time, a lot of time. Overcoming obesity and related diseases will take many years even, because they didn’t become obese overnight either. However, it is best to solve the problem now than to deal with it later. That is why you need to make sure you stand by your employees every step of the way. Never let them steer away from their goals and keep them focused on their ideal body weight.

Offer incentives – These added benefits vary, from small cash bonuses or gift certificates to insurance premiums for reaching pre-determined milestones. Other companies make this program a "team event" and create friendly competitions between departments, and provide an afternoon off, for instance, for the team with the most pounds lost in a month.

Teach the basics of managing body weight – This is not only important for those who are overweight, but for those who currently have a normal weight to avoid them to becoming obese themselves. The only way to achieve a healthy body weight is to consume a moderate, nutritious diet, and regular exercise. Fad diets, fitness gadgets, and other get-thin-quick schemes-no matter how tempting-won’t work.

Get your employees excited about good nutrition – Put up a "healthy lifestyle" bulletin board where you and your employees can share delicious and nutritious recipes, as well as great exercise routines. You can even host a potluck lunch with everyone bringing his or her healthful dish. Don’t forget to remove all traces of junk food in your workplace, such as soda vending machines.

Encourage exercise groups – Humans are more likely to sustain an exercise program if they have company. You can hire an aerobics, pilates, or yoga, instructor to come in several times a week-during pre- or post-work hours-to lead everyone in a vigorous workout. Other great activities include having a lunch-hour walking group, or putting up your own gym (just make sure to sign a waiver so you’re legally covered in case of injury).

Associate weight loss to larger family issues – Offering to help employees actually set a healthy example for your employee’s children. They can be a powerful motivator to have their kids lose weight and be fit as well!

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