Study Shows Losing Weight Can Make You More Productive at Work
Workplace productivity isn't merely a matter of having the right skills or mindset. Emerging evidence suggests that physical health, particularly body weight, plays a crucial role in determining an employee's productivity. A study published in the medical journal Obesity in 2017, titled "Obesity and presenteeism: The impact of body mass index on workplace productivity", shed light on this often-overlooked connection. This study's findings could prompt us to reconsider how we approach health, work, and the intersection between the two.
The researchers found a distinct correlation between obesity and productivity loss, with an even more pronounced effect among female employees. To understand why, it's helpful to consider the impact of obesity on physical health and wellbeing. Obesity is often accompanied by a host of other health issues, including increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems, which can significantly affect an individual's daily productivity. Moreover, people living with obesity may face mental health challenges like depression and anxiety, further impacting their ability to function optimally in the workplace.
However, acknowledging this correlation is only the first step. The key lies in devising effective strategies to mitigate the impact of obesity on workplace productivity. One such strategy might involve intermittent fasting (IF), a flexible dietary approach that has garnered considerable interest in recent years.
Intermittent fasting refers to eating patterns that cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Unlike traditional diets that specify what to eat, IF is about when to eat. Common methods include the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours a day and eating within an 8-hour window), the 5:2 diet (eating normally for five days of the week while restricting calories for two days), and the Eat-Stop-Eat method (involving a 24-hour fast once or twice a week).
Intermittent fasting has shown promise for healthy weight loss and overall health improvement. The fasting periods prompt the body to use its fat stores for energy, potentially leading to weight loss, improved metabolic health, and even increased longevity. Moreover, unlike restrictive diets, IF is often easier to follow, as it doesn't require calorie counting or eliminating certain food groups.
In the context of the workplace, intermittent fasting could provide an accessible, sustainable approach to weight management. By potentially aiding in weight loss and health improvement, IF could help enhance employees' physical capacity and stamina, reduce sick leaves and health-related work limitations, and ultimately improve productivity.
However, it's critical to note that IF is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It may not be suitable for people with certain health conditions, those at risk for eating disorders, pregnant women, and children. Employees should consult with healthcare professionals before initiating intermittent fasting or any significant changes to their dietary habits.
Moreover, employers play a significant role in fostering a healthy work environment. They should promote health education and provide support for employees pursuing health improvement efforts. While individual measures like IF can be beneficial, systemic changes to support employee health and wellbeing are equally vital.
In conclusion, the correlation between obesity and workplace productivity presents both challenges and opportunities. Intermittent fasting is one potential strategy among many for addressing this issue. As we continue to understand the intricate links between health and work productivity, it's essential to foster an environment that supports individual health pursuits and cultivates a culture of wellness.
If you are interested in trying Intermittent Fasting but don't know where to start consider joining our free 14-day IF Online Challenge. Once you sign up you will be given a shopping list, recipes and access to our online private Facebook group.