For businesses, employees'
poor "fueling" (eating too little of the foods needed by the body,
and/or too much of foods/substances not needed) can have even more
immediate ramifications than the first coronary bypass. Even before your
employee begins showing dramatic symptoms of one of these eating-related
illnesses, that employee may experience low energy or exhaustion; a high
bodyfat level that saps vitality, agility, and self-esteem; and more frequent
minor illnesses such as colds and flu due to suppressed immunity.
Since we are a culture that often responds to crisis, we easily
miss the significance of these supposedly more subtle signals. But a employee
who is eating his way to cardiovascular disease or cancer will reflect that
lifestyle in his everyday performance long before it manifests as an emergency.
Simply put: an employee without quality "fuel" cannot provide
quality performance, and is not the asset he or she could be.
Common sense says any business tool not cared for will become
less effective and more costly--and the human body is literally the most
sophisticated and important technology your company has. Most business owners
believe their success is in their people.
Research has shown that physically fit employees are more productive
and are absent less often than those who are not fit. A study published
in The Physician and Sportsmedicine found that low levels of cardiovascular
fitness were strongly associated with high rates of absenteeism from work.
However, significant reductions (25% to 40%) in absenteeism were found for
those employees who had a good to excellent level of cardiovascular fitness
(Parade, Sunday, December 20, 1992). The overweight miss work more
than their normal-weight counterparts and people who are 40% overweight
also visit the doctor more. (Marketdata Research, Lynbrook, N.Y.).
In addition to loss of productivity because of low-energy or frequently-absent
employees, a business pays for "food ignorance" in another way:
through skyrocketing health care premiums.
Having employees-the insured-be accountable for their health is
rarely included among the possible "cures" for health care cost/access
issues. Instead, blame is laid upon the government, insurance companies,
and doctors. But employers can tap personal responsibility as a resource
for taking control of health costs--by educating employees in a way that
actually inspires impactful changes in eating.
There is a particularly high degree of "food abuse"
in the workplace, fostered by an American tendency to place work over health.
Rushed or skipped meals, fat- and sugar-laden "snack carts" and
vending machines, and heavy business lunches and dinners are accepted as
a condition for doing business.
It's considered almost a status symbol, a sign of job commitment,
to work through lunch or even dinner. But that's a sham. Fueling the body
properly can improve performance on the job--not to mention elsewhere in
life. The negative physical and mental repercussions of working through
lunch (pushing the machine without fuel in the tank) are not worth the hour
of work done while the employee is "running on empty."
You would never send a delivery truck out to a customer without
gasoline in the tank. But how frequently do you send your employees out
to an important meeting or to begin a vital project, without knowing if
they're fueled--indeed, without any consideration of what difference that
might make? Yet few would argue that trucks are more important than people.
It's simply been, until now, a matter of not thinking about it quite
And it's not just in the workplace. People usually continue to
feed their bodies inconsistently when they get home--because most are never
given the complete picture as to what kind of eating really works and why.
The few who do have the facts are not using them, because they weren't educated
in a way that's inspiring to them.
Very simply, Americans don't know how to eat to "fuel"
high performance bodies--or even to meet their basic needs--on the job or
at home. Many think they know because the news media of fashion industry
toss them an occasional bone--a sound-bite with no context. Most are frustrated
because applying those simplistic sound-bites rarely works. Americans don't
know how their bodies work or what they need, and they're usually too focused
on meeting some short-term "weight" or "shape" goal
to consider overall fitness, long-term health, energy and strength-let alone
enjoyment of food!
When an employee knows how to, and is inspired to, fuel his/her
body, he/she experiences: increased vitality or less fatigue, greater alertness
and concentration, easier waking, more energy and stamina for exercise,
and fat loss--as well as greatly diminished concern about fat, weight, diet
and food. All contribute to an employee's morale and performance as well
as health, fitness and longevity.
For the company, this means higher productivity, reduced absenteeism
and fewer health insurance claims. The employee who learns to be prepared
also spends less time spent away from the desk hunting down food (typically
either vending machine or burger joint)--foods which waste even more time
once eaten, both by decreasing immediate performance and damaging it in
By helping employees learn to (and be inspired to) care for their
bodies, a company is not only providing a benefit that will make a difference
in employees' lives (which fosters loyalty and reduces turnover); it is
also protecting its investment in its people. Such a company is also taking
part in a short-term and long-term way to reduce claims and slow health
care premium hikes, since an enormous percentage of our health care dollars
are spent on preventable illnesses, most of them eating-related.
Remember, most people don't know about what the body needs--and
what happens when the body doesn't get what it needs. And there's a tendency
in our culture to place work before our health and physical condition--as
if it's either/or!--and to miss the crucial connection between our bodies
and what we are trying to accomplish.
BodyFueling® can help you and your employees make this connection
and learn exactly what to do about it--in a way that will become an exciting,
easy and pleasurable way of living.
© 1997-1999 "Fueling and Business"
Robyn Landis ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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