What Office Weight Loss Challenges Can Teach Us About Long-Term Success
You have likely participated in a weight loss challenge through your work. This widespread phenomenon combines the fun of a goal-oriented competition and the nudge we sometimes need to get motivated; these contests can be an excellent jumping-off point for a needed transformation. They can be fun for you and your colleagues to improve health while getting motivated to win office bragging rights and sometimes a solid prize. However, the reality is that most office weight loss challenges fail to yield long-term gains, even when the participants are motivated with the best of intentions.
To start, let’s understand why office weight loss challenges work. Right out the gates, they create a sense of camaraderie — a sense that everyone is in it together. Significant challenges like losing weight are most effective with this component and can illustrate, for a bariatric patient, a crucial element of success. Patients will learn that having a large and supportive team to help them through weight loss challenges and understand that they are not alone are critical factors in both short and long-term success.
The second is goals. Well-structured office weight loss challenges with attainable incremental goals often succeed more than those with open-ended or ambiguous goals. This is also true for bariatric patients. You need to set achievable, gradual goals to experience incremental wins on your way to the long-term finish line.
Then, there is the reward. Just as in anything else in life, we need to see the fruits of our labor to continue staying motivated. Office weight loss challenges often come with monetary rewards that push employees even harder to achieve their goals. And the compensation isn’t necessarily financial. Standing out in a workspace and proving your tenacity and drive are rewards in and of themselves. These are also suitable lessons in any wellness endeavor. How others see us for our efforts can be infectious and push us to work harder.
There are also some reasons why office weight loss challenges can fail.
First, they eventually end. These good choices and behaviors may be derailed once you’re out of competition mode. If you truly haven’t understood or adopted these behaviors in earnest, they will end when the contest does. However, this behavior is not contest-dependent; the struggle with weight gain never truly ends for somebody tackling obesity. As we all know, motivation can be challenged at any point in any journey.
These challenges are also arbitrarily set by someone else. The motivation to succeed is typically not internal but rather external. While an external push can be precisely what someone needs, others may participate because everyone else is doing it or not to be left out. Much like deciding to undergo bariatric surgery, this decision needs to be your own. Internal motivation and the desire to improve are critical components to success after bariatric surgery. This is why we tell our patients that they must indeed be ready to commit to a new lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and sometimes supplementation, for the rest of their lives.
In the end, the office weight loss challenge is an excellent lesson in what to do and what not to do for the bariatric patient. If we can take the best aspects of these challenges and combine that with eliminating their shortfalls, we give ourselves a greater chance of success in losing weight and maintaining that weight loss.
We encourage you to watch our online seminar to learn more about bariatric surgery and whether it is the right option for you. Remember that not everyone is suited to bariatric surgery, as success will be dependent on the willingness to undergo and commit to a complete lifestyle change. We look forward to speaking with you about whether this is the right time to pursue the bariatric option.