Monday, March 30, 2009

Keep It Simple

Good health—and wellness information doesn’t have to be expensive, complex, hard to use or understand, or time-consuming. It can be effective and still be simple, and therefore, even more effective. But here’s a conundrum (I love that word).

We’ve had feedback from a few prospective clients who say our workplace wellness program is “too simple.” Some even say, “it doesn’t cost enough to be effective.” Can this be true?

In marketing there’s a fine line to be walked when pricing a product or service. But, when we started LoneStart Wellness our idea was to provide an effective, positive service at a price that would eliminate barriers to participation and provide participants with the necessary tools to achieve their wellness goals. Sure, we have to make a living, but at the same time, we want to make a difference.

Here’s a question: Why would you pay five or ten times more for what might very well be a less effective, and more difficult to implement and sustain solution? Are you looking for value, or “perceived” value? If you have a good answer, let us know—we’d love to hear it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Picture This

We all know that eating less means fewer calories, and that how much we eat can be as important as what we eat. We also know in our big world that the “bigger is better” concept results in overflowing plates of food in many restaurants, and with oversized portions and all-you-can-eat buffets, it’s easy to eat too much.

We’ve posted portion control hints before, but these from AARP are really easy to visualize.

So, what should your plate look like? Following are just a few recommended portions and how to visualize them.

  • ½ cup cooked rice, pasta or mashed potatoes: Visualize ½ of a baseball
  • 1 cup cereal: The size of a fist
  • ½ cup fruit: The size of an egg
  • 3 oz. grilled or baked fish: The size of your checkbook
  • 3 oz. meat or poultry: A deck of cards
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter: A Ping- pong ball
  • 1 teaspoon of oil or salad dressing: The size of a thumb tip

These are just a few ideas, but by visualizing what the serving should look like before you “dig-in,” you’ll find you might actually bite off less than you can chew.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Good News About Trans Fat

You don’t usually see the words “Trans Fat” and “Good” in the same sentence. But, in this case, it really is about good news. The amount of trans fat in our food has declined by 50 percent since 2005 (Center for Science in the Public Interest). Both food manufacturers and chain restaurants are beginning to switch from the use of partially hydrogenated oil (the only source of artificial trans fat) to healthier oils. If we can eliminate trans fat from our food supply, we can save an estimated 50,000 lives per year.

In case anyone reading this blog isn’t familiar with trans fat or partially hydrogenated oil, artificial trans fat is more dangerous on a gram-for-gram basis than any other fat in food. Like saturated fat, it raises LDL, the "bad" cholesterol that promotes heart disease. But unlike saturated fat, it also lowers HDL, the "good" cholesterol that guards against heart disease.

As for trans fat bans in restaurants alone, we’re now at about 20 percent. That leaves 80 percent to go, and that’s a big number. The number we want to hit is “zero”—as in zero trans fat.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Are you shooting grizzly bears with a slingshot?

David toppled Goliath with a slingshot. Were it only so easy as we tackle the issues of weight loss and wellness. But with a slingshot? Sometimes it seems that way. It’s a huge issue, and we’re tossing pebbles, trying to get attention. Take aim. Wellness is an abstract concept—for which there is a real need. But the definition presents another story.

We are all concerned, or should be, about the problems of overweight and obesity, the chronic health issues those conditions lead to, and the impact they have on each of us as individuals and in the workplace. (As an example, based on national statistics, if you’re an employer with 100 employees, you’re very likely spending around $5,800 a month on medical, prescription, and lost productivity costs due to conditions of overweight and obesity.) Still, even small changes make a big difference.

With its “fix-it mentality” society has largely ignored prevention and personal responsibility. But, now it’s time to move from “sick care” to “wellness care.” For too long too many of us have counted on the fact that if—and when—we get sick, “the doctor will fix it, insurance will pay for it.” Yet, in reality, we all pay for it. And in the truest sense of the word, reality, there is a finite amount above which we, and society, can no longer and are no longer willing to pay. We are reaching that point, and we are reaching it fast. There’s no turning back, wellness is no longer an option—it’s a business imperative.

If you don’t think so, why not? We’d really like to know.