Employee Wellness implements 'Weigh to Go!' program

Among many of the new things that can come with a new year, weight loss seems to be one of the top priorities. Those resolutions can become difficult while trying to juggle the different aspects of life that professors and other faculty can experience.

This year, the Employee Wellness program has created a way to help the staff at Weber State University accomplish a healthy lifestyle, referred to as “Weigh To Go!”, an incentive to help individuals understand how to effectively lose weight.

“Instead of placing emphasis on weight loss, I want employees to focus more on healthy body composition,” said Raeanna Johnson, the coordinator of Employee Wellness.

When individuals try to lose weight, they often focus on “excessive cardio exercise, low-calorie diets or single-food diets,” Johnson said. “The participants will lose weight (this way), but the majority of that weight loss is water and lean muscle tissue. The negative side effects of low-caloric diets can include heart palpitation, cardiac stress, a weakened immune system and dehydration.”

Overall, the effectiveness of this program doesn’t come down to how much weight a participant will lose, but how much lean muscle tissue is gained on an individual and team basis. Employees are encouraged to participate as couples in order to not only motivate the employee but their household as well. Johnson clarified that participants will not be penalized for any weight gained, but it has to be gained in muscle weight. The Employee Wellness program was only expecting to have 40 participants this year, but so far, 115 participants are registered.

Many teachers and other faculty struggle with staying consistent in regular exercise routines and adequate nutrition. Kathy Newton, a health sciences professor, said she isn’t enrolled in the program, but “in the winter I go skiing and take spin, step and weight classes at the gym, and I try to add lots of vegetables to my diet and cut back on carbs.”

Monica Linford, a secretary for the nursing department, also said she doesn’t always have time to participate in scheduled programs, but tries her best to stay active.

“In the past, I was signed up with Employee Wellness,” Linford said. “I went to the gym twice a week and I loved it, but we have gotten so busy here in nursing that I haven’t been able to take advantage of it as much I would like. Right now I use my breaks to take a walk to the end of campus.”

Like Newton and Linford, some faculty members work on wellness on their own. For those who need some more support and a guided program to help them accomplish their goals,  Employee Wellness is here to help WSU staff and faculty attain and then maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“Weigh To Go!” was put in place to help “teach participants to eat a clean, nutritious diet, and to balance exercise between cardio and strength training to gain lean muscle tissue, which is real weight loss,” Johnson said.