How Did We Get Started?
A few people came to our wellness team after a summer of happy hours and the Minnesota State Fair saying, “I need to lose weight, can we do something here about that with our wellness initiatives?” Given the sensitivity around weight and weight loss, as well as the HR implications around asking employees to lose weight, we knew a weight loss challenge wasn’t going to be our best option.
We wanted to find a way to provide support, promote wellness, and motivate our employees. So after some brainstorming and research, we landed on the idea of selecting a nutrition program for those employees who wanted to, could follow together. We decided on doing The Whole30 challenge at our office. The Whole30 is a 30-day clean-eating plan that helps you to clean up your eating habits by removing foods that could be negatively impacting your health. Essentially, you can’t eat all the things most would consider “good stuff.” What you can eat is whole fruits, vegetables, meats, and healthy fats. For many of us at the office, cutting out cheese and bread was scary, so doing it as a group was going to make it easier.
Here are a few things we learned about doing something like this at the office:
1. Have Support: Doing it with coworkers made it much, much easier.
For most people, your coworkers are who you spend a majority of your time during the week with so having a support system at the office was the biggest aspect that made the 30 days (somewhat) easy. When your office knows you’re committed to something, there is no cheating with a sandwich or fast food at lunch or a drink at the company happy hour. We created an internal Slack channel to post recipes and ideas, and even had a potluck lunch halfway through the 30 days for people to bring in their favorite items.
2. Education. Research. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Often things are easier when you understand why it is good for you. We purchased the Whole30 book for the office and printed out shopping lists and tip sheets for our café for employees and guests to read. Given the nature of our business involving many lunches and happy hours, we researched the restaurants around our office and found what employees could order when they were out to lunch with clients.
3. Use Local Partners
Possibly our biggest saver was a local Minneapolis company, Origin Meals. Origin meals makes locally prepared meals that are delivered to you and ready to eat after 45 seconds in the microwave. Our Origin Meals would show up at our office on Monday morning ready to eat for the week. Not only were they easy, but so Origin currently operates in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
So, what is the verdict after 30 days? Not only have people lost weight around the office, but overall energy levels and health has improved. We all feel more educated on healthy choices, how food affects the body, and the looser pants are just a bonus!
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