Healthy Choices Over the Holidays

Friendly competition and fun helped winner, Kim Jones, stay on track.

From the first slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day to the last glass of bubbly on New Year’s Eve, the average American packs on 1 to 2 pounds each holiday season.

To help employees beat the weight-gain odds, the Park Well Care Center (PWCC) held a Holiday Weight Challenge aimed at encouraging healthy choices.

“The holidays are a known time of weight gain for all Americans, and over time, the weight gained through the holidays is not lost,” says Beth Tingle, PWCC manager. “This results in significant weight gain over the years, which can impact health.”

Accountability in weekly increments

Participants began the challenge by visiting the PWCC for an initial weigh-in before Thanksgiving. After that, participants were instructed to weigh in weekly through the New Year. Those who followed through were entered into a drawing for a gift certificate to the spa of their choice.

The goal of the Holiday Weight Challenge’s weekly weigh-ins was to make employees mindful of their nutritional choices – to think twice before having Christmas cookies for breakfast or a second helping of mashed potatoes. Plus, the group experience was intended to be supportive and fun.

Regular participation was the only criteria for being entered into the spa drawing, as the objective was mindfulness, not outcome.

This inaugural Holiday Weight Challenge proved overwhelmingly popular, with dozens of employees from Appliance Park and the Forum taking part. Kim Jones, a customer service specialist, was one of many employees to complete the challenge, and her name was chosen in the spa visit drawing.

“When I heard about the weight challenge, I knew this was something that would help me maintain my weight,” Jones says. “I believe we all do better reaching our goals with a little competition amongst coworkers or family to make it fun.”

Over the summer, Jones had worked hard to lose 15 pounds, and as the holidays approached she worried she might regain the weight.

Extra weight harder to lose over time

According to researchers from Cornell University, about half the weight gained over the holidays is shed quickly. And although the remainder often is lost within five months, eventually the extra weight becomes harder to lose, resulting in long-term consequences.

Though the Holiday Weight Challenge is complete, GE Appliances provides an array of tools to help employees stay healthy year-round. PWCC, operated by Premise Health, offers biometric screenings and other nutrition and weight-loss resources, and Appliance Park’s onsite fitness center, the Park Athletic Club (PAC), is open to all employees, their families, and contractors.

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