The TV show "The Biggest Loser" serves as a model and inspiration for weight-loss competitions on the local level. Losing weight at work promotes a healthier lifestyle. Many companies offer wellness programs and other incentives to keep their employees healthier, so a weight-loss competition fits into that initiative. A supportive competition with an even playing field encourages more employees to stick with the challenge.
Work out the contest's details before the competition begins and define the time frame for the contest. Give participants enough time to lose weight and make healthy changes, but drawing it out too long could cause people to lose interest. Shoot for about 10 to 15 weeks and set weekly weigh-ins. Choose between recording straight pounds lost or percentage of weight lost. Using the percentage method makes the competition more even. A contestant with lots of excess weight is likely to lose more weight and would have an advantage if you only consider pounds lost. Add other components that allow contestants to earn points for other achievements, including how supportive they are of other contestants or how often they exercise. Doing so places more of an emphasis on the overall healthy changes.
Simply recording weight loss leaves the competition at a very basic level. Additional components provide more encouragement and support for the participants. Weekly meetings in which people share successes and struggles promote a sense of community between the participants. Plan the meetings during lunch time and encourage participants to bring a healthy lunch along for the meeting. This is also an ideal time to bring in speakers to talk about things such as nutrition and exercise to make the contest more educational. Prizes are often part of a work weight-loss program, serving as a motivator for the contestants. For a company-sponsored competition, prizes might include a day off from work or a monetary reward. If employees organize the competition, an easy option is to ask everyone to pitch in a set amount to the prize pot. The winner at the end gets all of the money as the prize.
Team Vs. Individual
On the TV show, contestants join teams for the weight loss competition. Adding a team component in the office is one way to promote a sense of camaraderie and support between the participants. Randomly assign participating employees to a team to avoid arguments. Include team and individual prizes to increase motivation to encourages all participants to continue losing weight even if their whole team isn't ranking well in the competition. Create two leaderboards for this method; one tracks group gains and losses and the other tracks individual gains and losses.
Organizers should never force a workplace weight-loss contest onto employees who don't want to participate. Keep it voluntary and low pressure for the best results. Confidentiality is also a concern when it comes to weight. The coordinator of the contest is the only one who should see the weigh-in information. Another option to keep the information confidential is to simply record loss or gain amounts, not the actual weight of the person.