Creating Change in a Drive-Thru Lane
7/29/09 // Posted in 2009 Archive
Like any parent, I know that fast-food restaurants can be a haven for small children. Though the food is neither supremely tasty nor nutritious, the success of these restaurant chains persists due to its clever marketing. But the appeal to children has led to oversized portions and high fat intake, as we watch children grow up and suffer from obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Today many are left wondering if we are doomed to fail in this $4.99-all-you-can-eat, on-demand life â€¦or can a solution be found?
What if we start by changing just one thing? So many people think that improving their health requires some dramatic lifestyle overhaul or a complete upheaval of their daily activities. Better health is rarely accomplished through a complete shift or dramatic overhaul, but through awareness and one change at a time. This idea is a principal part of Concentra's TotalCare health improvement programs. Using awareness and better choices, we guide individuals toward better health by changing just one thing.
Still, people fear change because they view it as insurmountable, but it doesn't have to be. We recently challenged our colleagues to take part in a 60-day challenge to improve their health. There were no restrictions on how it could be achieved, just simply what employees felt comfortable doing in an effort toward better health. Many colleagues did their part by walking 20 minutes each day, while others cut out one bad food from their diet. It's a simple change and the addition of one thing to a daily schedule, but the idea is that these collective efforts can create colossal change. By the end, more than 1,000 colleagues lost a total of 8,846 pounds.
Nevertheless, change doesn't always come easy. It's most successful when people are supported in their efforts. This is something we communicate to clients when introducing our TotalCare health improvement program. A recent study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed employees who felt unsupported in the workplace were 60% more likely to develop poor health habits, adopt more sedentary lifestyles, and increase health care costs. Support and encouragement provided by employers and senior leaders is essential to employee engagement and effective change for participants. Not only does this demonstrate commitment to the program, but also shows employees that the company cares about its workforce.
During the 60-day health challenge, colleagues were asked to form teams to help support and compete against each other in the universal goal toward better health. I was there, along with fellow Concentra colleagues, exercising every day during lunch. I may not be the next Mr. Universe, but exercising together is an effective way to support and engage with other colleagues.
More than just eliminating the can of soda or the miles walked, taking that step toward a better and healthier life is about doing something great for you. A simple effort and a simple change can super-size your life instead of your diet.
President of Concentra Health Solutions
Contact Mike at Mike_McCollum@concentra.com or 972-364-8185