Just 3 years ago I weighed in at 240 lbs. a number no one seems to believe. I was a 6-foot man and the common phrase was that I “carried it well”. I’m not sure what “carrying it well” means, except for maybe to say “you don’t appear to be a complete lump of lard”. A kinder way of saying I needed to shed some pounds, a reality I knew and felt everyday.
How does someone go from in control to lack of self control? Why does someone do that? Was it a conscious effort at all? For me and probably for others in the workforce we don’t seem to one day wake up and say today I will be overweight and begin to lose control of a piece of myself. How could I correct this? It was a personal plan to make a change; it started with my plate and evolved into my activity. Along the journey I learned a lot about myself, but even more about the things around me that contributed to my own lack of self control.
A common occurrence at TFCU, or any business for that matter, is the presence of food at meetings. I’m sure you know the kind I’m talking about. It could include donuts, cupcakes, bagels, cakes, chocolates, or other sugary, fatty, and nutritionally void products. So what happens to someone who ingests the products of our meetings? They become a resemblance of the products they are given. It really is true, that you are what you eat! While employees may ramp up productivity during a meeting due to the occurrence of a sugar high the crashing effects are seen in the waste lines, lack of production, and increased health care costs. Here are a few FAT FACTS courtesy of CNBC’s documentary “ONE NATION: OVERWEIGHT”
- The annual healthcare costs of obesity in this country are $147 billion a year. This could rise to as much as $344 billion by 2018, according to one major study.
- Obesity has become one of the most expensive health problems in America today, surpassing smoking, according to study in Health Affairs
- Obese employee sick days total approximately 39 million workdays and 63 million doctor visits yearly.
- Employers have a big stake in getting their workforce to lose weight and reduce the enormous costs in medical claims and lost productivity linked to obesity. Recent studies have shown an impressive return on investment for every dollar spent on prevention and wellness programs.
- Johnson & Johnson CEO Bill Weldon confirmed his company saved $20 million in 7 years by implementing employee wellness program.
The second installment of my hope to evolve the credit union industry is to not only be proactive in products and services, but to create work environments that foster healthy, productive, proactive employees. Employees and Leadership who care about themselves, each other, and the members they serve. It is an employee first approach that creates an environment that empowers employees, while also causing a direct increase in profitability for the credit union by lowering costs of healthcare and increasing employee performance.
Today, my weight no longer controls me, and at 195 lbs. I enjoy being an active and productive member of my team. I finished my first marathon earlier this year, and I am working on developing a walk/run program for the members of my team. Employee first leadership isn't just about the external aspects of performance, but also the internal focus of how my team members feel and my leadership in that.