Category Archives: Corporate Wellness Strategies

Why I am adopting a Health at Every Size® approach

After nearly five years, I have decided to leave my job in medical weight management to practice a Health at Every Size® (HAES®) approach.

Here’s why:

Dieting does more harm than good.  Research shows that dieting is more likely to lead to weight gain than weight loss.  A review of 31 weight loss studies found that dieting was ineffective at producing long term weight loss, and one-third to two-thirds of dieters gained more weight than they lost (Mann et al, 2007).  Calorie restriction leads to preoccupation with food, binge eating and weight obsession.

Weight loss messages contribute to weight stigma.  Weight loss messages perpetuate the idea that anyone can lose weight, and that “overweight” people are lazy or lack willpower. In reality, weight is determined by a complex interaction between genes, environment and social influences. Once a set-point weight range is established, the brain works hard to defend it (Sumatran and Proietto, 2013).  Size diversity should be respected and embraced, just like other types of diversity.

Weight loss is not necessary for health improvement.  People who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and practice other forms of self-care can improve their health, without losing weight (Matheson et al. 2012; Schaefer and Magnuson, 2014.)

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How to Start a Walking Club at Work

Are you having trouble motivating yourself to exercise after a long day of work? One great way to start exercising is to create a walking club at work.  Organizing a walking club at your workplace is an easy, fun and inexpensive way to exercise.  Not only is exercise good for your body, but it can improve concentration, decrease stress, and help make the workday go by faster too!  Walking with a group makes exercise fun, which increases the chances you’ll stick with it.

Follow these easy steps to get your walking club started:

  1.  First, ask for management support.  A walking club benefits your employer too, by keeping employees healthy and boosting productivity.  Ask management to show their support by joining the club, or by purchasing an occasional incentive for club members, like pedometers.
  2. Next, get the word out. Post flyers, send out emails and ask your friends to join you on a walk everyday (even if it’s only for a short time!).  News travels fast, and the more people that        join, the more motivated your co-workers will be to join in too. Make sure to pick a time that works for the majority of members.
  3. Mix it up. Walking clubs are meant to be fun and low-key, but it may be fun to hold a contest or challenge between departments or groups within your company. Try challenging each department to see who can get the most walkers to participate in the walking club everyday for a week.  Ask management if they would give the winning group a prize.

For more information on how to get a walking club started in your workplace, check out this Guide from the Network for a Healthy California, or watch the video below.

Corporate Wellness Success Story: Capital Metro

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin, Texas, has experienced huge health care savings (estimated 2.43 ROI) as a result of their comprehensive employee wellness program implemented in 2003.  The short video below documents their success story.

Some of Capital Metro’s key wellness program components include:

  • A Healthy Options Cafe, where at least 60% of food offerings are healthy choices, and these options are priced below less healthy options.
  • Cash incentives, for employees who achieve and maintain: healthy blood pressure levels, healthy blood glucose levels, decreases in body fat, improvements in cardiovascular endurance (measured by Vo2 max), or quit smoking. (Note: I no longer advocate using incentives to entice behavior change.)
  • An onsite fitness center, with $5/month membership fees, and access to free fitness assessments and personal training.


Davis L, Loyo K, Glowka A, Schwertfeger R, Danielson L, Brea C, et al. A comprehensive worksite wellness program in Austin, Texas: partnership between Steps to a Healthier Austin and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Prev Chronic Dis 2009;6(2). Accessed  June 2, 2010.

4 Tips to Avoid the Afternoon Slump

image A lawyer-to-be friend of mine who is studying for the bar asked me today for tips to help her avoid the afternoon slump.  I thought this was an excellent question, so I decided to blog about it.  Here are 4 foolproof tricks to help you avoid the afternoon slump:

  • Eat a light lunch: When you eat a meal, blood is directed to your stomach to help it digest the food.  The more calories in the meal, the more blood that will be sent to your stomach.  The more blood sent to your stomach, the less leftover for your brain. So, by keeping your lunch light, you will help save some blood to keep your brain neurons firing.  Some excellent light lunches include:
  • Eat 1-2 healthy snacks: If you’re going to eat a light lunch, you will still need some energy to help fuel your brain throughout the day.  So, pre-plan 1-2 healthy “power” snacks.  A power snack is about 200 calories and combines fiber and protein.  Some ideas include:
    • An apple + 1 ounce walnuts
    • Baby carrots, celery sticks + 1 Tablespoon lowfat ranch dip
    • 6 whole-grain crackers + 2 Tablespoons hummus
    • 1 orange + 1 cup lowfat yogurt
  • Take a physical activity break: This may just be the most important tip to keep that afternoon slump at bay.  When you feel your eyes glazing over and a yawn coming on, its time to take a physical activity break.  10 minutes is all you need to get the blood pumping and send it back to your brain.  Great physical activity breaks include:
    • Going for a walk outside
    • Arm circles, marching in place and jumping jacks
    • Light stretching or yoga
  • Get enough sleep at night: None of these tips will keep you from dozing off if you’re sleep deprived.  Aim for 8 hours of restful sleep each night.  The good news is that eating healthfully and taking physical activity breaks will actually help you to sleep better.

With these 4 tips combined, you will be sure to be Zzzz-Free in the afternoon!