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Why A Fit And Healthy You Is Good For Your Career – Guest Blog

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by Sally Symonds, Healthy Life Mentor and author of “50 Steps to Lose 50kg . . . And Keep It Off” & “50+ Recipes to Lose 50kg . . . And  Keep It Off”

One in three Australians wants to lose weight, which probably isn’t surprising when you consider that only a quarter of us are a healthy  weight to begin with. Summer is just around the corner, so many of us are probably just keen to get into a bikini without feeling like a beached whale—but have you considered how weight loss could affect other areas of your life? Sure, it’ll improve your health, but you might be surprised to learn that it can also benefit your career.

Unsurprisingly, this is partly to do with perception. Unfortunately, weight-based discrimination is on the increase, and research shows that interviewers tend to favour candidates of ‘normal’ size[1].

Hiring someone just because they’re thin is clearly discrimination, but studies reveal that the healthier you are, the more productive you tend to be at work—in fact, healthy employees are three times more productive than their unhealthy counterparts[2].

It’s clear that staying in good physical shape also helps keep you in good mental shape. The experience of losing weight can actually arm you with some excellent transferable skills—research shows that those who have successfully lost weight and kept it off develop a ‘prevention mindset’ that enables them to better consider the long-term implications of their actions[3], a skill that comes in handy for an awful lot of jobs. And don’t forget the discipline, focus, and consistency required of anyone who’s on a weight loss journey—these skills are a fantastic asset in all kinds of working environments.

Staying healthy also helps you foster a positive mental attitude and stay focused. Regular exercise not only helps you sleep better, but reduces your stress levels and allows you to think more clearly[4]—all of which can only be a good thing when you’re at work.

Of course, when you perform consistently well at the office, your efforts can yield great results—think promotions, pay raises, and job security. Interestingly, all of these tend to be more likely for those who are fit and healthy.

Perception still plays a part here—if you’re fit and healthy, you’re more likely to be perceived as a better employee, and thus more likely to perform at a higher level in your job.

Of course, when you perform well, you get promoted, which means you earn more—studies indicate that Australians in ‘persistent good health’ experience a steady increase in earnings[5]. In fact, a EEOC study showed that obese workers earn an average of 2.5% less than their normal-weight colleagues[6].

Being healthy helps you stay employed and financially solvent, too: older obese Australians are 20% less likely to be employed full time compared to their non-obese counterparts[7]. Long term, staying trim and toned can actually grow your net worth—researchers at Ohio State University found that when participants in a research study lost enough weight to drop from an overweight to a normal weight BMI, their net worth increased by an average of USD4,085[8].

Leaving aside the more serious matters of earnings and the career ladder climb, remember that bikini and consider that staying trim lets you invest in a better working wardrobe. Let’s face it, presentation is important in the workplace, and it’s an unfortunate reality that many professional women are judged on their attire. But if you’re fit and healthy, shopping for smart work clothes isn’t just easier, it’s more enjoyable, and even more economical—studies show that the bigger the clothes, the higher the cost[9].

But none of this is bad news for anyone who needs to lose weight. When you consider all the benefits it can bring you in your career—better job prospects, higher earnings, and a productive approach to your work—it’s clear that starting your weight loss journey will set you on the path to all kinds of positive long-term change.

For more information on online weight loss coaching and healthy living visit www.sallysymonds.com.au

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[4] Tomporowski, Phillip, Effects of acute bouts of exercise on cognition. Acta Psychologica, Volume 112, Issue 3, March 2003: 297-324

[5] Binod Nepal, Alicia Payne and Laurie Brown, AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report Issue 23 – Healthy, wealthy and wise?: The relationship between health, employment and earnings in Australia, Sydney, July 2009

[7] Binod Nepal, Alicia Payne and Laurie Brown, AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report Issue 23 – Healthy, wealthy and wise?: The relationship between health, employment and earnings in Australia, Sydney, July 2009

[9] http://www.cosmopolitan.com.au/plus_size_gets_downsized.htm 

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