How You Can Plan Successful Weight Loss Challenges for Work

How You Can Plan Successful Weight Loss Challenges for Work

How many hours do you spend in the office? And before you defend yourself with the working from home answer, how many hours do you spend in front of your laptop or computer in your work office? I hear 10 hours at the back, 15 hours at the front, we have 8 hours from the lady on my left! What’s my point?

According to Forbes News, 80% of jobs nowadays are sedentary and physically active jobs make up for 20% of jobs. If you sit for more than 8 hours a day without any physical activity your risk of dying is like the risk of dying by smoking and obesity. New research suggests that sitting for long hours have adverse effects on your health, even if you exercise.

What are the effects of chronic sitting? Sitting for long increase your risks of developing heart disease, stroke, muscle pain, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol and blood pressure. In addition, our dietary habits nowadays of consuming junk food and highly processed foods paired with sedentary lifestyle makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight and stick to healthy habits.

The health of employees should be an employer’s top-priority because their physical health affects their productivity at work. Long working hours and lack of time encourage unhealthy behaviors like eating fast foods because they are convenient and chronic sitting.

Your employee’s health is also your responsibility as an employer. Even for employees, your fellow employee’s health and wellbeing should be a priority for you. What is that the say about teamwork? How can you prioritize employee health and wellness at work? One way could be through organizing weight loss challenges for work!

What Is a Workplace Weight Loss Challenge?

women, yoga class, asana

Office weight loss challenges are wellness programs that motivate employees to lose weight to achieve healthy weight. As long as you not only take into account group dynamic, but also complex individual factors, then the challenge will encourage employees to work harder to achieve their weight loss goals. The weight loss challenge educates employees on healthy weight loss practices they can follow to help them in losing weight. In some challenges, employers offer prizes to keep employees motivated and reduce dropout rates from the programs.

Do Weight Loss Challenges Work?

Yes, a weight loss challenge at work can result to weight loss among employees further promoting their well being. A study on overweight male shift workers participating in a workplace weight loss challenge reported that this method of weight loss is efficient and feasible and helps employees in losing weight significantly.

Another study on obese workers participating in a weight loss challenge at work showed that weight loss programs are effective in helping employees lose weight and promoting physical and mental well being.

A weight loss challenge works because it promotes healthier habits like eating healthy meals and increasing physical activity.

Why Do a Weight Loss Challenge with Co workers?

team, work, building

Why are weight loss programs at work important? Why not just do it alone? A weight loss challenge can be effective in the following ways:

Team Building

A weight loss challenge can be a good way to promote teamwork because employees are working towards achieving a common goal that is weight loss.

Promote Weight Loss

belly, body, calories

When you’re are doing a weight loss challenge alone, you may be tempted to drop out from the challenge when things get tough. However, when many people are doing it together, it will encourage employees to keep pushing until they have achieved their weight loss goals.

Weight Loss Challenge Ideas for Work

You can create weight loss challenges for work by incorporating fitness and dietary challenges to promote better health practices among them. Try team-based challenges to encourage your employee to be a team player and to foster teamwork within the workplace.

Set a period within which the challenge will run. Specify the start date and end date clearly to your employees. An office weight loss challenge that runs for 8, 10 or 12 weeks gives enough time for changes in weight without people resorting to drastic measures to lose weight.

You can throw in incentives that encourage people to stick to the plan and reduce number of dropouts. Here are some great ideas for weight loss challenges you can introduce at work to promote good health among your employees.

Calorie Counting Challenge

calculator, hand, calculate

Weight loss is all about restricting calories and breaking down fats for energy. Restrict your caloric intake through intermittent fasting. However, it is almost impossible to lose any significant weight on IF only. Pair your IF with a ketogenic diet to increase weight loss over shorter period of time.

Keto diet triggers ketosis which produces ketones that promote cognitive and brain function. Keto fasting will not only promote weight loss, but also behavorial and mental well-being increasing your productivity at work.

Keto Diet Challenge

Keto dieting is an amazing healthy way to lose weight. The basic ground rules of eating keto are sticking to low carb, moderate protein and high fat foods. Weight loss on a keto diet is achieved through ketosis, which is the process of fat breakdown for energy. Educate your employees on what to and not to eat while on the keto diet challenge to achieve significant weight loss.

Team-based Morning Exercise Challenges

Having a person holding you accountable to exercising will motivate you to keep working out even on days you just don’t feel like it. Exercising in the morning promotes strength and adherence by increasing fitness levels and increases productivity. Moreover, it leads to burning of fat that promotes weight loss.

In this challenge, the team that is consistent in increasing their fitness level wins. Every individual in the team’s body composition is recorded before and after challenge. Everyone’s changes in weight becomes a win for the team, rather than only an individual’s success.

No Takeout Challenge

Although ordering take out or delivery is more convenient on a busy day at work, most fast foods are junk food and are not healthy for weight loss. Introducing the no take out challenge will encourage your employees to eat healthy food that they have prepared at home hence avoiding junk food that is high in trans fat. One person can volunteer to make meals for everyone per day, creating a bond between your employees.

Ask your employees to post the healthy recipes they use to prepare meals at home to grow their co workers recipes portfolio. Sharing is caring after all!

BMI Challenge at Work

In this office weight loss challenge, only individuals with a BMI of 25 and above are allowed to participate. If your BMI is 24.99 and below in the initial weigh in, you will not be allowed to participate in this challenge. Weigh ins are done weekly to check for changes in your BMI. During this challenge, if your BMI falls below 25, you will not continue participating in the challenge.

Individuals with a normal BMI or are not allowed to participate in the BMI challenge because significant weight loss could put them at risk of being underweight. Underweight individuals are also excluded because they have more calorie needs and restricting their diets reduces their calorie intake which leads to health concerns.

Biggest Loser Challenge

slimming, scales, health

This a weight loss competition that encourages a person to lose weight for a grand prize. In office weight loss challenge, weekly weigh ins are carried out to keep track of one’s progress through out the challenge.

Only official weigh ins are done during this office weight loss challenge. All information from the initial weigh into the final weigh in remains between you and your employee. You are not allowed to share this information.

A winner is determined by the percentage lost rather than the total pounds lost. By doing so you uphold employer-employee confidentiality since to get the percentage weight lost, you will divide one’s number of pounds lost by their initial weight. You will not have to mention a person’s initial weight or actual weight, just the percentage of weight lost.

Weight Loss Challenge Rules for Work

Let’s discuss the do’s and don’ts of weight loss challenges for work.

Office Weight Loss Challenge Dos

Even though this is a weight loss challenge, DO promote body positivity and ensure your employees are comfortable under their own skin. Be inclusive of people with different body shapes and fitness levels. Only exclude individuals if participating in the challenge will poses a risk to their health. You can ask your employees to comment on what their experience has been as the challenge progresses and say words of encouragement to other employees.

Do promote team spirit rather than individual success. The office weight loss challenge is more about camaraderie, not competition. Make your employees understand that your neighbour’s win is your win too!

Do encourage weight loss methods that can be maintained in the long-term. Keto diet fasting and less intensive exercises like morning walks are weight loss methods that people can maintain. These will help employees extend their health success long after the challenge ends. You can start running groups, yoga clubs or cooking classes as the company’s initiative of extending these weight loss methods after the challenge.

It is your responsibility as an employer or employee to educate those around you. DO share articles about the keto diet or keto recipes they can prepare that promote weight loss. Ensure the resources you are providing are on healthy and sustainable ways of losing weight.

Communication is key when running these challenges. Do state the ground rules governing the challenge and that participation is voluntary. Mention the dos and don’ts to the participants. Most importantly, DO let your employees know that there are resources available at their disposal to help them achieve their goals.

DO determine the winner by the percentage of total weight loss, not the total weight they have lost. This will give overweight and obese employees an advantage since they loose weight quicker than those with normal weight.

Office Weight Loss Challenge Don’ts

DON’T offer prizes to the person who loses the most weight. You may cause others to take drastic measures of losing weight to win prizes and incentives. You shouldn’t promote unfriendly competition.

Nutrition is more about quality of a food than the quantity. DON’T encourage strict calorie counting without taking into consideration the nutritional facts of a food. A food may be low in calories, but is not nutrient rich, risking one to deficiencies.

DON’T share employees’ starting weight or their weight progress in the challenge. This could encourage body shaming leading to a hostile work environment.

DON’T allow the use of unhealthy ways to lose weight like diet pills, water pills, purging and starvation which could have side effects compromising someone’s health.

Incentives For Weight Loss Challenge at Work

Incentives are a good way of encouraging your employees to participate in office weight loss challenges. When there is a grand price to be won at the end of the challenge, remember to reward everyone else to avoid unhealthy competition and unfriendly behaviors among your employees. Good incentives include:

  • Fitness gadgets
  • Gym membership
  • Gift cards for gym or sport wear
  • Paid vacation.
  • Cooking classes
  • Paid nutrition crash courses on keto dieting.
  • Massage
  • Healthcare packages like supplement packages

How To Do Weight Loss Challenges For Work

You can organize a successful challenge by following these steps:

  • Communicate with management if you’re an employee organizing the weight loss program to seek their approval. The advantage of doing this is the management can fund the challenge if they approve of it. Ensure you live no detail out, tell them how the challenge will be carried out, for how long and the rules that will run the program.
  • If your company has a wellness program, you can speak to Human Resources (HR) to include the weight loss competition as part of the package. The HR may know if the company’s health plan can fund these challenges and contribute to the incentives offered.
  • Consider what type of incentives you will offer and who is eligible to win them. When offering a grand prize at the end of the competition, give out small incentives in the course of the competition to appreciate the effort participants are putting in.
  • Set the challenge to run for enough time to achieve significant weight change. Ten to 12 weeks is enough time to run your challenge.
  • Announce your winners based on percentage of body weight lost rather than just how much they lost.
  • Communicate about the challenge through emails and flyers to inform employees who are interested in participating to sign up for the competition. Include all the information they need to know in your message so that they know what they are signing up for. Participation is voluntary so do not force anyone to sign up!
  • If it is a team-based challenge, organize your participants into groups to take part in the challenge. Group people randomly without being biased or playing favorites.
  • Put up ways in which you can track the progress of employees during the challenge. You can announce your employees progress in terms of how they are feeling and how they are liking their teams rather than sharing how many pounds one has lost.
  • Instead of rewarding one participant at the end of the challenge, come up with different categories and highlight different employees who stood out in them. You can reward the best team player, best runner, the best chef and so on.
  • Provide opportunities for extension after the challenge.

Final Thoughts

Healthier employees equal increased productivity at work. Workplaces should provide a good environment for people to be the best versions of themselves both mentally and physically. Companies should set up initiatives that promote the health and wellbeing of their employees.

Do you have weight loss programs for employees at your office? If yes, do you participate in them? What challenges do you do, are they effective and do you enjoy them? If your answer is no, would you consider organizing a workplace weight loss challenge? Drop your answers in the comment sect below!



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