23 Feb 2012

Slashing the calories SLOWS fat loss?

Hi folks,

Yep, you’ve probably seen it in the media this week. Another piece of research has been published to further confuse those of us trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle! Basically it states that if we dramatically reduce our daily calorie intake (e.g. by 500 cal), then over time this can slow our metabolism (i.e. our calorie burning efficiency) or even causing it to plateau. 

Let’s clear it up & put it into context. This study is useful as it demonstrates that extreme / fad diets aren’t effective & are unsustainable. If you want to reduce your amount of body-fat, the best way is still to reduce your daily calorie intake by roughly 200cal (typically from any fatty & sugary foods).

To accelerate the process and make you fitter, involve different activities & exercise. The most effective exercises involve using the whole body working against a resistance as this will boost your metabolism, even at rest! Such ‘metabolic workouts’ are the latest trend hitting the fitness industry but should only be done with professional supervision. Also it’s worth remembering that you need to eat enough healthy foods for your working muscles to work & recover, so if you are reducing your calorie intake bear this in mind. Good indicators of too little calories are dizziness during workouts or prolonged muscle soreness after every session (not just from tough exercises).

If you’re a type company manager then use the above info to help out any groups of employees that are struggling to get healthier. Email it or put it on a poster to give them a helping hand – remember last week’s blog on workforce engagement?

Hope this tidy’s things up a bit,


16 Feb 2012

Why aren't you engaged yet?

Hi folks,

A valentines’ theme this week I think. As we know relationships are based on communication, not only personal ones but professional ones too. But good communication can only occur if both / all the people are interested… i.e. engaged with each other.

Many employers like to have that ‘family’ feeling or ethos in their workplace as we all know this is when people work at their best. The problem is when employers fail to engage their employees & so work is seen as ‘just a job’ with no emotional attachment. If people feel like they belong, then they will be happier, less stressed & put more into their work.

So, how do we engage our workforce? Some employees will be readily open to engagement whilst others will have no initial interest, but it’s these people who we especially need to entice. For them to become receptive to this we have to use values that are personally important to them (their health, financial reward, assisting their work, something for free, enjoyment).

If your workforce consists of 100’s or 1000’s then it is operationally impractical to engage them all at once (posters, emails, & feedback surveys are too impersonal) but not time effective to see them all on a one-to-one basis. Therefore a group setting is best, it also creates a team atmosphere & people will tend to open up more as discussions start.

But oh where can we get this group engagement I hear you ask? Well, our Occupational Fitness workforce workshops bring together employees from different departments, to discuss pro-active health techniques, with everyone on a level playing field, - perfect!

Hope this helps you develop some strategies for your workplace.


9 Feb 2012

Overweight & healthy?

Hi folks,

Something I saw in the media this week sparked me to do a little research to see if it’s possible to be overweight & healthy. Sounds a bit backwards I know but many people who have a high body fat percentage (i.e. calorie consumption) claim to eat healthily. There is much disagreement on this amongst medical professionals. Are these larger people saying that they are healthy as an excuse to not losing the weight, or does their size make them ‘who they are’, possibly making them mentally & physically happier?

The vast majority of us love food, definitely including myself. So if we exercise regularly & eat a healthy diet but of larger portions we should still be healthy right? Well our bodies will be getting all the vitamins they need but more energy (calories) than they can store so this will be stored as fat.

In this case, we will be fat but likely to be at no higher risk of the associated diseases than anyone else. For example, our blood sugar may be healthy (low diabetes risk), our ‘bad’ cholesterol & blood pressure may be low (lower cardiac disease risk). However the extra weight will cause muscular-skeletal issues stemming from joint pressure & reduced mobility.

So, a 150kg person who over-eats in healthy foods can eat more than a 150kg person who over-eats in fatty / sugary foods (1g carbs = 4 calories while 1g fat = 9 calories), & have healthier insides. But both people will not have good overall health due to the structural pressures of their weight.

Workplace health: For the reason mentioned above, to reduce sickness absence & raise top performance at work I recommend that the employer still needs to tackle ‘healthy’ & unhealthy obesity.  

Hope you found this interesting. I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on this one!


2 Feb 2012


Hi folks,

I was munching my muesli in front of the TV news this morning, when I heard one of presenters say “This year, February has been re-named Flabrurary.” Apparently the statistics show that the majority of us that made New Year’s resolutions to get healthier have already thrown in the towel after just 1 month!

Although it’s just a name & I can see the funny side to it, part of me is a little mad as what’s the point in advertising the fact when it’s not going to help anyone or make them try? Obviously most of these people who have given up didn’t really WANT to do it which brings us on to the question of why did they set the goals in the first place? If your one of these people or even if you’re still on track then here’s a few questions for you:

Why are you doing it?
-     To look good naked?
-          Because you feel you should be doing it?
-          To improve your overall health?
-          To compete with that person across the office?
-          To increase confidence levels
-          So you can try to ‘get away’ with eating junk?

You don’t need me to tell you what the right reasons are. If the reasons are well founded & you’re serious about making it stick then keep going (check out my blog on goal setting). Plus remember – it’s easier to be healthy in summer so hang in there.

If you’re into workplace health then why not give these people a hand? Organise a small health event, initiative, or office challenge to keep people motivated. It’s easier to do it as a group & it will pay off in terms of their work performance as well as for them personally.

If you need any help just give me a shout,