OK ladies – swim suit season is approaching. It may be harder to believe for some of us what with the frigid temperatures we have all shared but….warmer weather (i.e. less clothing) is coming. Are YOU ready? Kind of makes one long for the old style swim suits!
Accountability and support are two of the best tools we can have in our box if we want to get healthier and more comfortable in our lighter clothing. And of course, that what’s this blog is all about – giving us all tools to get us to our best selves.
One of the best support tools we had at my place of work in the past was a weight loss challenge program championed by a couple of co-workers. The premise was that in a set period of time, ours was 12 weeks, participants would lose a certain percentage of weight. Everyone had the same goal, let’s say 5% weight loss in 12 weeks. For a 200 lb person that was equal to 10 lbs overall with each week’s goal being .8 lbs. We all paid to join – we put in $20 but the amount could be anything. Each week, we were weighed in by one person, no actual weights were ever distributed, only % lost. You knew your standing each week in relation to the other ‘contestants’. The winner of the challenge – the one that lost the biggest percentage of weight, was awarded half the money collected over the 12 weeks including the penalties! If you didn’t meet your weekly goal (e.g. the .8 lb for the 200 lb woman) you were penalized a dollar and had to ante up. If you didn’t show up to weigh (and were at work that day) you were penalized a dollar. If you gained weight from the previous week (even if you met your goal) you were penalized a dollar. We awarded the other half of the money to the next two runner ups (with decreasing amounts going to each standing). You could do it however you chose – all the money to the winner or some other winning scheme. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we were supporting each other and keeping each other accountable.
Everyone did their own thing regarding diet and exercise but were always willing to share tips. Usually the ‘biggest loser’ for that week was asked what her secrets were. Recipes were shared, fitness tips distributed, etc. I never failed to lose weight when I participated in that program and once I even won (over $100). I was held accountable by the weekly weigh-ins and possible fees and I was supported by doing this with a group of people.
There’s so much literature out there that reinforces the advantage of having a support group when trying to lose weight. It’s just like anything else, it is easier, more fun, and WAY less stressful when you are doing with others. “Most people put all their effort into finding the right diet or exercise program but don’t put any energy into creating a support and accountability system, and too often, that’s where the devil lies,” says Adam Shafran, DC, an exercise physiologist and chiropractor who is the author of You Can’t Lose Weight Alone: The Partner Power Weight Loss Program.
No one is running the weight loss challenge at work right now and it has been on my mind so much, I just may need to put my ‘fierce cape’ on and get it started again. I have the spreadsheet to calculate everyone’s weekly goal if any of you are interested in also being a ‘caped crusader’. I would love any suggestions for re-motivating the group at work and any special challenges I could include along the way to make it fun for all – maybe some little incentives for fourth and eighth weeks? I know I can count of this group for support. 🙂