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   Coming Up : Inside Out - London: Friday February 9, 2007
Nicholas Ridley-Wilson
Healthy workers - good for morale and attendance

City living

Stressful jobs and healthy lifestyles don't go hand in hand.

The Employee Advisory Service says that absenteeism from work is now costing employers £11.6 billion every year.

That's £476 for every worker in the country.

Inside Out's Sadie Nine visited a city of London company who are trying to turn things rounds for their staff with an innovative new scheme.

Healthy working

City Law Firm Beachcroft employs 400 staff in London, and about 1,400 across the country.

Brenda at work
Brenda - keen to lose weight and improve fitness

They've recently got Mitie Catering to run their staff canteen, Café 100.

They offer a nutritional programme called City Living, and this is now on offer to staff at Beachcroft in Café 100.

The menu choices are healthy and nutritious.

As a result, because many of Beachcroft's staff work long hours, they can rely on being able to get a balanced meal for breakfast & lunch.

Plentiful fruit, vegetables, and juices are on offer, there's a salad bar and menus are published in advance so staff can plan their eating.

Tailor-made diets

The Slimcoach plan

Slimcoach uses "Weight Loss Intelligence". This holistic approach brings together knowledge about how mind and work. Slimcoach has three principles:

* if something doesn't challenge you, it won't change you. Rising to a challenge and succeeding can be a very positive experience:

* if changing your diet and undergoing weight loss doesn't feel good, it isn't going to work. Feeling deprived and hungry, and fighting to resist foods you crave is not a good mind set. Slimcoach looks at how people can connect with positive sources of energy:

* you need to have ownership of what you're doing. Following someone else's diet instructions doesn't put you in charge. You need to take control of your own regime.

Source: Slimcoach

City Living can provide a tailor-made programme for staff who really need to make changes.

Solicitors Emma Bate and Nicholas Ridley-Wilson, and Legal Secretary Brenda Gordon signed up to a month-long regime.

Emma and Nicholas wanted to reduce stress, eat more healthily and have more energy.

Brenda was keen to lose weight.

All three also hoped that a better lifestyle would make them more productive & efficient at work.

So they filled out a detailed questionnaire which was analysed by nutritionist Liz Sheppard-Jones of Slimcoach.

She gave each of them detailed eating and exercise plans to follow over four weeks.

Inside Out charts their progress over the month.

Positive changes

All three were successful, and by the end of the month they noticed real changes in their appearance and lifestyle.

Emma is no longer worrying about food because she knew she could get healthy and delicious meals at work.

Healthy workplaces - nutritionist Liz Sheppard-Jones in action

Although she didn't need to lose weight, she has shed a few pounds and is also finding she has more energy.

Nicholas looks much better and is exercising regularly.

Although he still enjoys eating out, he is more careful about his menu choices.

He's noticed his concentration has improved at work and he is coping better on days when the pressure mounts.

And Brenda has lost over four pounds, and no longer has blood sugar dips during the day.

She's cooking better food at home, and has changed her eating habits.

Similar schemes

Beachcroft are delighted with the results and hope all three staff will feel healthy and enthusiastic about themselves and their work.

They think many employers will start running similar schemes to help staff cope with the demands of their jobs.

Liz Sheppard-Jones also thinks we'll see more firms adopting these attitudes.

Nick and Liz
Benefits - Liz has encouraged Nick to make healthy choices

As she points out, the National Audit Office have predicted that by 2010, £3.6 billion will be spent on lost-productivity through lifestyle-related disease.

The Government is putting pressure on companies to be more proactive about their employees' health.

It's no longer enough to offer private health schemes and a gym.

With 28 million working days lost in 2004/2005 through obesity-related diseases alone, it's time to start taking staff's lifestyle choices more seriously.

The City Living programme will continue to be offered at Beachcroft, and is being extended to other firms in the City.

Meanwhile, Emma, Brenda and Nick are delighted with their results and how they've transformed their work and home lives.

All are determined to continue with their healthy living and working plans.

For more information

For more information on Liz Sheppard-Jones and her nutritional coaching, follow the link to her site below at Slimcoach or contact Liz at

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