There are very few companies that understand what a comprehensive wellness program actually should include. In many cases, we’ll talk to employers who provide a walking program, or they’ll have a Weight Watchers meeting in their building once a week and some consider those to be wellness programs. Those are components of a wellness program, but they aren’t really what we see as being a true wellness program. A lot of it has to come down to the individual because not everybody is interested in becoming healthier, not everybody’s going to run a marathon, and not everybody’s going to become a gym rat. For some people, just getting them to walk for 15 or 20 minutes a day is a lot given what we’re trying to do in this day and age.
We talk about a lot of families now where both mom and dad work. They’ve got a couple or three kids, they’re all involved in sports, music school, and activities outside of school, and it’s very difficult for mom and dad to find time to exercise or work out at all and to cook and eat healthier. So, a lot of the whole goal of trying to set up an established, comprehensive wellness program is all based around how you live your life every single day, and how to set long-term goals because you can’t lose a bunch of weight in three weeks and you’re not going to qualify for a marathon in a month.
The thing that we hope to gain when we start doing some of these wellness programs with companies is traction. Once you get a handful employees who didn’t used to exercise, or who used to smoke, or who used to be overweight, and you get them to start to make life changes and stop smoking, and lose weight and get healthier, then other people start to look at that and say, ‘wait a minute, how come you did that? How did you quit smoking? How did you lose some weight?’ and then we start to gain traction with those people.
Our preferred way of doing that is having our wellness coaches sit with people in a one-on-one basis and say, ‘What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to get to, and how do we set up a realistic goal for you to get there?’ so you don’t all of a sudden say you’re never going to have a dish of ice cream again, you’re never going to have pizza again, you’re going to eat nothing but salads for the rest of your life, because people just aren’t going to do that. So we find the best way to approach this is to try to get people to make small changes, incorporate more exercise into their daily routine, and over the long haul, be able to lose some weight, maintain their weight, eat healthier, and control the numbers that go along with that in terms of their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and those kinds of things so that they actually do become healthier. When they do, they require less medical service so they don’t end up at the doctor’s office as much as they used to in the first place to pay some of those exorbitant costs that go along with it.