From the Back of the Closet

Please excuse the lack of posting, I had to go to Vegas for work (poor, poor me!) and was gone for 4 days. I won $47 on a free slot promo. I rock.

At the start of 2008 my employer launched a new employee wellness program that is absolutely awesome. First they rolled out a “stop smoking” program and offered counseling and drugs (gum and the patch) for free. This was a bit ironic as we are a no-smoking workplace; they screen you for nicotine when you are hired and if you test positive it’s “thanks, but no thanks – find another job”. But there were thousands of smokers grandfathered in and this program was for them, free of cost, if they wanted to use it.

Next, they added weight loss programs and gave us two options: their own doctor guided program and Weight Watchers. With WW you could do the on-line program, find a local meeting or attend one of the dozens of @work sessions they offered on our campuses. Again, this is totally without any out-of-pocket expense. On my campus alone of about 700 employees there are 170 attending the weekly meetings. We are in week 15 of the first 18-week session.

Lastly, just a few weeks ago, they rolled out the final phase: exercise. This gave us the option of using one of the several employer-run facilities or joining Curves for free (yes, they are still working on another option for an off-campus facility that is not women-only). I have no idea how many people are using this new freebie but I hear the campus gyms are crowded; I myself have joined Curves.

First let me say that this entire program is fantastic – they have succeeded in wiping out the main hurdles to wellness: time and money. Second, to sweeten the deal they added incentives: when you complete the programs and reach certain goals (10% weight loss, 100 gym visits in 10 months, etc) you get a $100 bonus. It’s beyond generous and I am so very grateful.

I joined WW@Work the day it started in my building and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been heavy my entire life but this last year I gained a so much weight I was miserable. New job, new house, new city, new stresses and I was at my heaviest ever – I weighed more then I did at 9 months pregnant. Training for the 3-day didn’t help as all that mileage left me starving and with the mentality of “I walk 7-10 miles a day – I can eat anything I want!” but with my metabolism that was disaster. I’ve done WW before, a few times, and had good results but usually got to a point where I couldn’t afford it anymore, quit, did it on my own for awhile then fell off the wagon.

Now at 15 weeks in I’ve dropped 40 pounds and weigh less then I have since sometime in 2005. Make no mistake, I still have a long way to go, but I have never had this great of success (granted, I lost 10 lbs. in the hospital, but still). 15 weeks have gone by and I have not yet had a single gain, although the weekly losses are slowing a bit. I started the 30-Day Shred before I got sick to help keep the momentum going but have not re-started since I’ve felt better and I really need to (I will post about Curves later – I’ve only gone twice because their schedule is goofy and I sweat too much to go at lunch).

The suits I bought when I started this job hang on me. My pants are beyond baggy. And, at least for one more month, we are broke.  All of this means that I’ve had to go shopping in the back of our spare closet. Luckily, like any woman who has ever struggled with weight loss I have a few sizes of things shoved in the back of the closet and I’ve started pulling out the smaller stuff. It’s a great feeling but some of these things are horribly out-dated. The cash bonus comes to us in December and it can’t come soon enough because mama needs some new clothes!

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