Whether it’s a problem of willpower or of setting goals too high, for many people the idea of losing weight can feel impossible. Years of trying and not achieving success can be dispiriting, and can lead to a general “why bother?” attitude. But what if part of the problem is that, when we set our sights on losing weight, we’re doing so on our own? What if expert help could not only make our goals feel more attainable, but also improve our overall day-to-day health? Now, what if that same expert help was available in the workplace?
Blount Memorial Business Health programs nurse supervisor Kathy Yarlett says several local employers offer that help to their workers. “Blount Memorial Business Health offers a worksite weight management program called ‘Healthy Choices for Life’ to local companies,” she said. “The program includes 12 or 13 one-hour sessions that help participants focus on healthy eating, building healthy habits and increasing physical activity,” she explained. “The focus of the program is to help people embrace healthier behaviors and lifestyle changes that, ultimately, will help them achieve their goals,” she added.
“For the first session, I like to do an overview of the program’s contents,” Yarlett continued. “Participants are able to ask questions, and then are asked to complete a lifestyle pattern and assessment questionnaire. At each session, participants weigh in – in private with me – and we discuss successes they had for the week and challenges that they faced for the week. Each participant also is asked to keep a food diary or journal of everything they eat each day. We also help them explore ways they can increase their physical activity each day,” she added.
Yarlett says the idea is to provide people with the tools necessary to lose weight and keep it off for good. “Over the course of the program, we cover a wide array of topics including such real-world weight loss challenges as dining out, deciding what to shop for and cook on your own, how to begin and expand an exercise routine, and portion control,” she said. “Our last few sessions, though, focus more on the mentality of weight loss, such as how to stay motivated, how to cope with setbacks and accepting the idea that weight loss is a lifetime commitment, not something you can just drop once you reach your desired weight. Losing weight is not about a quick-fix; it’s about changing your life for the better, forever,” she added.
“Aside from the obvious benefits for employees, our ‘Healthy Choices for Life’ program also can be a huge benefit for employers,” Yarlett continued. “The fiscal health of a company is tied directly to the health of the people who work there. Healthy employees are more likely to show up for work on-time and be more productive. Plus, investing in programs that promote health and wellness can reduce everyone’s overall health care spending,” she added.
For more information about Blount Memorial Business Health’s worksite weight management program, call 865-977-5795.