Healthy Holidays at WorkDecember 11, 2013
Don’t Gain, Maintain
And so it begins. That slippery slope of overindulgence that flows from Thanksgiving, right into Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa, then on through and often well into the New Year. Food in general, ‘goodies’ in particular, are everywhere. Workouts give way to holiday shopping, parties, and the now more than ever, never-ending to-do list.
Fascinating Fact: (or not so much?) Unhealthy behaviors and poor health are caused in large part by the culture we have created; and our health behavior choices are continually influenced and shaped by opportunity, the environment, and social norms. Simply put, it’s about the unhealthy path of least resistance our culture has created, supported, and rewarded. Healthy choices are hard. If you have a car, you don’t walk. If there’s an elevator, you don’t climb the stairs. If ‘treats’ are at the meeting, you’ll probably eat them.
But why not flip the script and use this truism to your advantage? Why not make the easy choice, the healthy choice? Is forewarned not forearmed?
I now hereby declare the Holiday Season Mantra to be: MAINTAIN DON’T GAIN!
Word on the street is that the average American puts on about 5 pounds over the course of the holiday season. Truth be told, recent research found the average weight gain to be one pound only. Sounds innocuous enough. Until you consider another important finding: most people never take off that one pound. You see where this is going – a road clearly not good to go down.
Consider an alternative. Muster the forces, gather a few like-minded coworkers, and put into action creative strategies that will bring everyone into the New Year healthy and fit.
You can do this!
- Enjoy healthy and delicious food at meetings: yogurt, fresh fruit, bagels, nuts, whole grain granola bars.
- Take the stairs. Encourage people to bring in their kids’ artwork to adorn the stairwell walls. And download these customizable motivational signs from the CDC’s ground-breaking StairWELL initiative to get them in there in the first place.
- http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/hwi/toolkits/stairwell/motivational_signs.htm#Message Ideas
- Ban candy dishes on desks. Those ‘minis’ add up quick!
- Recruit co-workers for scheduled, lunch time walks.
- Download (for free) Stretch Break to create a customized stretching at work program. Sitting is the new smoking! http://download.cnet.com/Stretch-Break/3000-2129_4-10339758.html
- Start wearing step counters. Create a public office display of steps taken. Prizes?
- Inquire about group membership rates at a Fitness Center close to work. Instant workout buddies and shower facilities!
Now no one likes a Holiday Health Scrooge – so please, enjoy the gifts of the season, edible and otherwise, and let the small changes you’ve made along the way land you firmly in the MAINTAIN group come January 1. Be well!