Less is more….more or less

By Tony Shepley

We are enjoying a health awareness boom at Shepley. 4 years ago, we began a wellness program for employees.  We’d always rather invest in prevention than in cure! For the first two years, we were certainly writing the checks but not yet reaping the rewards. We had a small group who was interested but it took a while to get the momentum going. It appears that most of us think of healthy behavior only as a reaction to one of life’s events such as life after divorce or the favorite pair of pants that now won’t button up any more. Perhaps it’s last year’s bathing suit that just doesn’t fit the way you remember it or maybe we have just done a triple take walking by the full length mirror. That feeling that your reflected image looks a lot more like someone else than it does the true you is enough to scare most of us right on to the treadmill or exercise bike, at least for a while.

How long can that type of reaction stay as a motivator? Truth be told, it looks like the road to hell paved with good intentions is always ready for a fresh top coat! So after two years of writing those checks, something happened. Wellness at Shepley picked up its pace. Things seemed to come into their own focus. Our people started walking at lunch, a “healthy 10” menu joined our regular lunch menu, Fitbits got people counting steps, and then step competitions started to happen in our group.

We started a Weight Watchers program in 2018 and lost over 800 lbs as a company. We saw people transformed, literally! We have two on our staff who have lost over 100 lbs each and show no signs of gaining it back. My favorite story was from an employee who told me that he couldn’t remember anymore which hip was his bad one. He had been carrying the equivalent of two 50 pound boxes of nails around for years and now he walks like he’s floating. Recently, we had a 6:30 AM Wellness session with 25 of us and we all got down on the floor and did a plank contest (how appropriate in a lumber yard!). Of the 25 of us, you can guess who stayed in that horizontal plank position longer than any of us, including a number of people half his age….our biggest loser. He said two years ago in plank position, he’d have been resting his stomach on the floor!

Shepley Weight Watchers Program

Think of the fact that Mother Nature gives you endorphins when you exercise. It feels good!  Think about the fact that being in shape feels better than fat tastes. Think about maintaining bone density through lifting weights or sending your system the right messages through aerobic exercise or keeping your heart operating properly by watching what you eat along with that exercise. The health risks of obesity are staggering and so are the costs.

We have seen people here who are able to stop taking cholesterol medication or blood pressure medication by taking control of their health and their diet. We are seeing people with completely different physiques. Talk about “Before and After”. We now have examples around us who have taken control of their weight, their diet, and their exercise routine. They look great and they feel great.

Mark Twain used to say “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”

Reba McEntire says it better, “All the money in the world can’t buy you back good health.”

Mark, you’re always funny, but Reba, you hit the nail squarely on the head! Next time I hear “Who will have more?”, please pass me the less!

Tony Shepley

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