A group of 22 faculty and staff are participating in a Weight Watchers program as a part of the school’s wellness program.
Director of Health Benefits Nicole Ryan came up with the idea of integrating the Weight Watchers program with the school’s program to promote a healthy lifestyle.
“Obesity and being overweight impacts so many other parts of your health,” Ryan said. “Obesity plays a part in diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, so if we can keep our employees’ weight down to a healthy weight, teach them how to eat correctly, and encourage them to exercise, then we’re going to have a healthier population over all.”
The group, composed of two men and 20 women, meets every Monday to track the group members’ progress and to discuss personal goals.
The name of this particular branch of Weight Watchers is called Weight Watchers at Work.
Weight Watchers at Work specializes in incorporating school lifestyle with their program. The school is offering subsidies of $96 towards the usual $156.
Middle School Communications Department Head Jen Bladen started participating in the Weight Watchers curriculum in November after a friend tried it out.
With her friend’s recommendation, Bladen had been participating in the Weight Watchers program outside of school for five weeks before the Harvard-Westlake program started, and Bladen was able to transfer over her membership.
“Weight Watchers is a support group as well as a dietary program and doing it with people you know adds an aspect of accountability,” Bladen said. “I really appreciate that the company that I work for takes care of me [in terms of health].”
Ryan had wanted to involve Weight Watchers for some time and finally had the opportunity to do it in late November.
The Middle School has also started its own program and already has 15 members.
The Weight Watchers curriculum consists of awarding points for food eating in order to monitor diet.
Exercise is encouraged, but isn’t officially a part of the program.
Members at Harvard-Westlake are also considering starting an unofficial Biggest-Loser contest.
“I had really, really good success right away, I lost ten pounds right away… [and] we lost more than 30 pounds among us, which is really cool,” Bladen said.