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, and 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 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 has adverse effects on your health, even if you exercise.
What are the effects of chronic sitting? Sitting for long increases 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 a 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 well-being should be a priority for you. What is that they say about teamwork? How can you prioritize employee health and wellness at work? One way could be through organizing a weight loss for office challenge.
What is the Weight Loss Challenge at Work?
Office weight loss challenges are wellness programs that motivate employees to lose weight to achieve a healthy weight. As long as you not only take into account group dynamics 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.
Workplace Weight Loss Challenge Template
The whole point of having a weight loss for office challenge is to achieve your weight loss goals. One way you can track your weight loss challenge is by using a spreadsheet that can promote healthy habits eating healthy food and exercising. Make a downloadable template that your co-workers can use to track their wellness challenge.
The spreadsheet template should have a space for the start date, end date, participant’s name, current body weight, targeted weight, regular exercise for weight loss, one’s diet, and any other information that may be useful to encourage participants to meet their goals. It is important to track diet as well as fitness levels for weight management.
Your spreadsheet should be downable and customizable to meet each individual’s needs. One person’s good habits may not be the next person’s, so allow room for flexibility. As the challenge progresses, incorporate weekly weigh-ins to check on how your participants are doing. This will also allow you to educate them on better habits for better health.
Since this is more of team building and not competition, encourage employees to share how they are going about losing weight. In your official weigh-ins, only disclose information on good healthy habits for losing weight and health success rather than sharing one’s actual weight and the number of pounds lost. Your weigh-in should encourage people to provide resources to each other rather than promote unfriendly competition and body shaming.
Fun Weight Loss Challenge Ideas
Here are a few great ideas for weight loss challenges you can create at the office for your co-workers. These are all team-based challenges to create a team spirit to allow for good health and a positive work environment.
Calorie Counting Challenge
Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit that will trigger your body to burn more fat for energy. One way to do this is through intermittent fasting. However, it is almost impossible to lose any significant weight on IF only. Pair your IF with a keto diet to increase weight loss over a shorter period.
Avoid the negative effect of calorie counting by educating people on healthy ways to restrict their calorie intake. Strict calorie counting can lead to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. These will deter you from the goals of your weight loss for the office challenge.
Keto Diet Challenge
Keto dieting, as mentioned earlier, is an amazingly 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, and challenge them to achieve significant weight loss.
No Takeout Challenge
One of my favorite office weight loss challenges is the No Take Out 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 takeout 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 every one per day, creating a bond between your employees.
An official weigh-in is important in this challenge for your employees to share healthier habits they have picked up from eating meals prepared by someone else, or even consistently eating homemade foods. Create a safe space for them to discuss the struggles of removing the convenience of takeout from their lifestyle to help them find solutions among themselves as a team. This will also help improve their mental health.
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!
Do Weight Loss Challenges Work?
Yes, a weight loss for office challenge can result in 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.
BMI Challenge at Work
Remember when we talked about flexibility, this office weight loss challenge is designed for only individuals with a BMI of 25 and above. 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.
However, you need to have measures in place that will help employees extend their healthy habits even after their BMI falls to the normal range. This is to help with weight maintenance and health success long after they are dropped off from the challenge.
Individuals with a normal BMI 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
This a weight loss competition that encourages a person to lose weight the most weight for a grand prize. In the office weight loss challenge, weekly weigh-ins are carried out to keep track of one’s progress throughout the challenge.
Only official weigh-ins are done during this office weight loss challenge. All information from the initial weigh-in to 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
There are different types of weight loss challenges with unique ground rules. Despite this, there are common across-the-board rules that every challenge follows to ensure it is successful. There are dos and don’ts to adhere to, failure to which one may be disqualified before the challenge ends.
Dos of An Office Weight Loss Challenge
DO promote body positivity and ensure your employees are comfortable under their skin. Be inclusive of people with different body shapes and fitness levels. Only exclude individuals if participating in the challenge 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 neighbor’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.
DO share articles about keto dieting or recipes to make while keto dieting they can prepare that promote weight loss. Ensure the resources you are providing are on healthy and sustainable ways of losing weight.
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 lose weight quicker than those with normal weight.
Don’ts of An Office Weight Loss Challenge
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 the quality of a food than the quantity. DON’T encourage strict calorie counting without taking into consideration the nutritional facts of the food. 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.
Weight Loss for Office Challenge Prize Ideas
The best prizes are those that will promote healthier habits and maintain weight loss. In cases where the winner gets a grand prize, try having different categories so that others can get rewarded as well. The grand prize can go to the participant with the highest percentage of weight loss, but it won’t hurt to reward the fittest participant or the best team player.
Here are a few prizes that would be great for your office weight loss challenge:
- Fitness gadgets
- Gym membership
- Gift cards for gym or sport wear
- Paid vacation.
- Cooking classes
- Paid nutrition crash courses on keto dieting.
- Healthcare packages like supplement packages
How Do I Host a Weight Loss Challenge at 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.
- 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.
- Consider what type of incentives you will offer and who is eligible to win them.
- Set the challenge to run for enough time to achieve significant weight change. Ten to 12 weeks is enough time to run your challenge.
- Communicate about the challenge through emails and flyers to inform employees who are interested in participating to sign up for the competition.
- If it is a team-based challenge, organize your participants into groups to take part in the challenge.
- Put up ways in which you can track the progress of employees during the challenge.
- 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.
- Provide opportunities for extension after the challenge.
Weight Loss Challenge at Work Email
As mentioned above, you will need a way to communicate your office weight loss challenge to others. What better way to do so than an email? Your email should be catchy to attract people to want to join the competition. It can also be a flyer sent via email!
The must-have information in your email includes:
- The company’s logo
- Type of weight loss challenge
- Duration of the weight loss challenge
- Information on whether it is an individual or team-based challenge
- Start and end of the registration window
- Any charges for participating in the challenge
- Information on prizes, when and to whom they are awarded
- Ground rules of who can and who is excluded from participating
- Information on weigh-ins i.e. where and what time will they be held, and what information will be needed from the participants during the weigh-ins
- Contacts for queries on the weight loss challenge
Team-based Morning Exercise Challenges
Having a person holding you accountable to exercise 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 the burning of fat which promotes weight loss. Plus, it will create that team player spirit long after the office weight loss challenge.
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 the challenge. Everyone’s changes in weight become a win for the team, rather than only an individual’s success.
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 well-being 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!