Sunday, January 30, 2011

What do you mean an hour at the gym doesn't counteract a sedentary job?

I read The Hazards of the Couch by Roni Caryn Rabin in the New York Times on January 12th and it's been haunting me since. The gist of the article is that the amount of time we spend sitting can have an "overwhelming, seemingly irreparable impact on one’s health that physical activity doesn’t produce much benefit." This is not good news for me. I commute 25 miles to work in DC area traffic each day and then I spend most of my day sitting in meetings or at my desk. I've been counting on my daily exercise regimen to balance out all this sitting.

Since reading the article, I've gone back to wearing my Fitbit. I put my Mac on my desk and hit refresh on my Fitbit window from time to time during the work day. When I see a long stretch of grey, I think of a reason to run up the stairs to the 4th floor.

I guess we need to be thinking more about ways to incorporate movement throughout the work day into our wellness programs. Maybe we should take another look at I Move You (formerly Get Up and Move.) Do you have any tricks that help you keep moving during your work day?

Related Post: Can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 and 1/2 hours per day?

Update: This article was in CNN Health on June 24, 2011-- Sitting for hours can shave years off lifeThis article appeared in Forbes on January 11, 2011 -- Four hours on your computer doubles your risk of heart disease. In the news again on March 27, 2012, with this story from WTOP and some tips from the Mayo Clinic to build more activity into your daily routine. On July 15, 2013, the Washington Post published this article Desk Jobs Can Be Killers, literally

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Foiled by the Scale Again

We had some trouble with our scale a year ago during our Biggest Loser program. We had not purchased one that was rated for a high enough weight capacity and it broke. We quickly replaced it and the replacement got us through that program, but we decided we would get a new scale for the kick off of this program. We solicited some recommendations and checked out our options. We wound up selecting Tanita model with a weight capacity of 440 pounds.

We did the initial weigh-in in our lunchroom and then moved the scale into the HR area which is carpeted. We placed the scale on a piece of metal, so the carpet wouldn't effect the readings. Evidently that didn't help. The readings varied dramatically from the initial weight in. For example, people recorded weight losses of 22 and 18 pounds which we knew wasn't realistic. So, we pulled the doctor's office type scale from our men's locker room. I'll never buy another type of scale again for the office. A few folks needed a quick tutorial on how to use it and I must say people moaned and groaned at the site of it. It's certainly not as kind as the Tanita was.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Did our Biggest Losers keep the weight off?

We just completed the intake process for the weight loss program we're kicking off -- Lost @ASHA. I asked Lifework Strategies to compare the current weights of the people who participated in the Biggest Loser program we ran one year ago with their starting and ending weights in that program. I figured this would give us a good idea if people kept the weight off. We had 95 participants complete the Biggest Loser program. 37 of those individuals joined our current weight loss program. Hopefully many of the others reached their weight loss goal. Here's is what we learned from the 37 individuals that are participating again. 

Since the close of the Biggest Loser program:
  • There was a cumulative weight GAIN of 219.6 lbs. An average of nearly 6 lbs per person.
  • 6 individuals have lost weight (16.2%)
  • 12 individuals have gained 0-5 lbs (32.5%)
  • 10 individuals have gained 5-10 lbs (27.0%)
  • 9 individuals have gained more than 10 lbs (24.3%)
When Lifework Strategies compared the initial Biggest Loser weights to the current weights, they found the following:
  • There has been a cumulative weight LOSS of 39.7 lbs. An average of about 1 lb per person.
  • 18 individuals have lost weight (49%)
  • 13 individuals has gained 0-5 lbs (35%)
  • 6 individuals has gained more than 5 lbs (16%)

We are looking for new ways to help employees maintain their weight loss and continue their progress until they reach their desired weight. Last year, we thought we could transition people from the Biggest Loser to our Biggest Mover program, but we found that most of the people interested in weight loss were not interested in exercise and tracking their activity. (I guess that's not shocking.) This year we'll try a different approach. Please pass along your suggestions.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Using a Pledge to Convey Expectations and Encourage Desired Behaviors

We used a participant pledge during our Biggest Loser campaign and our diabetes eductation program. The pledges helped us convey what was expected of people and participants seemed to take the commitment seriously. So, we created a new participant pledge for LOST.

We're also hoping the pledge will help us get people to take advantage of the free, individual, wellness coaching available through our partner, Lifework Strategies. During the Biggest Loser campaign, people said they wanted more one-on-one coaching, but only six participants took advantage of this service. We included a commitment to contact a coach in the pledge this year and we will provide information about the wellness coaching during the kick off meeting. I hope this has a positive impact. I'll be sure to let you know.

LOST Pledge