Workplace Wellness: A Story of Positive Peer Pressure

A Work (Place) in Progress

You’ve heard the widely touted saying that You are the average of your five closest friends. According to social scientists, this may be a gross understatement. Researchers analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study, a study that spanned 3 decades, and found that an individual’s weight is not only influenced by first degree social connections, but by friends of friends and even the friends of friends of friends. That all sounds very complicated, but the basic reality is this. We are influenced by societal norms. And as the obesity epidemic continues to grow, there is an increasing chance that you have close friends, colleagues and family members who are overweight and/or obese. This raises your risk for weight gain.

But keep this important truth in mind. Influence goes both ways. Just as you might be influenced by societal norms that increase your risk for obesity, you have the opportunity to be the influencer, to be the one helping your friends, family and colleagues get healthier by modeling a healthy lifestyle.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person spends more time working than any other daily activity. It stands to reason then, that the people we work with form an influential part of our social network. Workplace wellness programs seek to capitalize on this and have gained momentum over the past decade with workplace incentives for healthy behaviors as well as workplace sponsored step challenges, and ‘biggest loser’ type challenges.

When the work culture becomes healthier organically rather than in a top-down fashion it can be an even more powerful source of positive peer pressure. We see examples of this in the home and family environment every day at Weight Management @ The Group. I routinely hear my female patients brag that their husband has lost weight right along with them even though he is not ‘doing the program’.  But, we saw an especially inspiring example of the power of social influence in a group of female colleagues who joined the program over the last year.

Several of the women in our program from a Davenport workplace agreed to share their experience of doing a weight loss program like this with co-workers.They have generously shared their BEFORE photos as well. 

It all started in November of 2017 when Linda entered the program.

She had a short term goal of taking off some weight prior to a vacation to Maui and a longer term goal to reach by her next landmark birthday. She lost her first 30 pounds leading up to her vacation and is currently at 60 pounds of total weight loss. Here’s what she has to say.

“I think the biggest thing for me is if we are having a hard day we have someone to talk too.  We bounce ideas and strategies off each other.  Also, if you forget to bring a shake there is always someone that you can borrow one from.  You have another set of eyes on you!  HA HA.....We check in with each other at the drinking fountain to see how our water intake is for that day.”  









By January, Shelli, a friend of hers from work had started the program as well after seeing and hearing about Linda’s experience.   In February, another colleague decided to take advantage of our comprehensive weight management program. By July of this year, 5 women from this Davenport workplace had begun the program and to date have lost a collective 200 pounds.

Shelli describes her experience:

“I’m so happy that I found out about the program through a co-worker.  I had no idea what to do or where to turn to.  Needless to say, it has been very successful for me.  I in turn had a few co-workers ask me what I was doing to lose weight and they also signed up.  We have shared ups and downs, ideas, inspirations, compliments, recipes, support, and shopping places with clothes on sale since we all needed to buy new clothes!  I am also grateful for the Weight Management team who have been very professional, supportive, friendly, informative, encouraging, honest, caring, and always available for me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you…..”

Shelli is nearing the maintenance phase of her work with us, having lost 60 pounds. She is adapting back to a whole foods diet, and is heading into the holiday season with new-found confidence around food.

It is natural when you see people every day, work with them, eat lunch with them, that they will eventually ask about the weight loss. These women were enthusiastic about the experience they were having and the support from Weight Management @ The Group. They were eager to share it with their co-workers.



Mary took a step forward for her health in June when she decided to work with our Weight Management team. She too has enjoyed the added support as well as the friendly competition


“Seeing co-workers lose weight was very motivational for me and helped me find the support I needed to get started. I thought, if they could do it, so could I. With the help of my husband as well, I have started on a life change and have changed my relationship to food. I feel so much better, more healthy and confident.”
















In July, Jaime decided it was time for her to get healthy. Despite challenges, she too has enjoyed the extra support of having a built in support system at work.

“I absolutely love the added layer of support at work, where it seems we spend a lot of our waking hours.  Work has also in the past been hard for me because of temptations, but having the others around has helped so much.  Now there are enough of us that when we have pot-locks everyone around us asks what we can eat so everyone is included.  My most tempting hours are daytime so the extra support and encouragement from these ladies has helped a ton!”













As a team, we have appreciated the extra energy and drive these women have had. We really attribute that to the additional support they have from the social network that has formed in their workplace. Whether you get your support for lifestyle change from your home and family environment or from your friends and extended social network, the value of that added support is clear. Let us be part of your support network! Join us Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. for a free educational session and meet other people who are doing the program.

If you think your workplace might benefit from our workplace wellness program, ask about our Corporate Wellness Partnership Program!


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