Carly Bedwell, Gilead
Early this month we awarded our Champs Cheer to everyone who completed the J.P.Morgan Corporate Challenge. We had a great turn out from all 3 of the Gilead sites. It was a very hot evening but everyone did amazing. It was a great event to incorporate people of all abilities. We had people who are ‘natural’ runners who could race round very quickly, people who had never run before who managed to keep running the whole way and others who wanted to take it as a brisk walk. It was great to see so many people getting active on a lovely summers evening.
Tess Tucker, Paul Smith Ltd
My ‘Champ of the month’ this month is Lisa Starr from our Nottingham office. She took part in the ‘Race-for-life’ at Clumber park on the 4th of July. She did the event with her Sister-in-Law and 13 year old daughter in memory of a family member and another relative who is currently suffering from Cancer. They mainly walked the 5K course but Lisa says her daughter was eager to get running, maybe next year! Lisa raised £170 herself for the charity and her Sister-in-law made it up to £500 with some sponsorship from the company she works for.
Well done Lisa, and family, a fantastic cause and achievement.
Simon Booth, Weight Watchers
This month I have award our GM, Chris with the Champ Cheer. As an organisation we launched our #ww5kmyway which was all about getting our members more active, completing a 5K in any way shape or form they liked over 1 weekend in July.
Chris, as always, led the way and because of it took up running, something that he has never done before and in preparation for the event, used the couch to 5K app and put together a video of his time training for all employees to see. Since this Chris has truly got the running bug and is now starting to look at pushing his distance to get further.
Also in July we held our office and field management team sports day event. I took the opportunity to set up a stall and invited people over to find out how to get more out of their Vitality insurance. Employees have since booked in for their health assessments, synched activity devices and as a consequence are now receiving their rewards!
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland
Congratulations to Eleanor Holt & Antonia Skinner for quitting smoking
Why did they decide to stop smoking?
Eleanor said: “On the 26th June this year I decided to stop smoking for good. There were many reasons for my decision, some more obvious than others like my health, and to save money, but also smaller incentives (yet just as important) such as being able to walk for 10 minutes without getting out of breath and wheezing, for my hair and clothes not to stink of smoke, to stop smoking around my friends and family, to not have that awful smokers cough when I woke every morning and to prove to myself that I control my future - I chose life.
Antonia added "There is no benefit to smoking and I got to the point where I was thinking if I don’t stop soon I am going to cause some irreversible damage as I am not getting any younger! I am also very into being healthy and keeping fit so smoking was just counteracting all the hard work!”
Challenges they have experienced.
Eleanor said “Ok so I’m not going to lie, quitting smoking was tough…. I decided to go cold turkey as I just wanted to get rid of all the rubbish and noxious chemicals inside my body asap! So going from 15 cigarettes a day to 0 was so scary! So I downloaded a NHS Smoke Free app which was a godsend. I checked it everyday and looked forward to receiving my ‘new reward badge’, it sounds cheesy but it was the daily incentive I needed. Some reward badges did shock me, like on 23rd day of not smoking I received my “saved 6 days” badge which meant I added 6 days to my life… Yes over the first few days I was rather ratty, especially when driving – I did puff on my 0% nicotine vape at the beginning, especially in the car, but I puffed on it so much that I felt like I was in an 80s music video all the time! So only after 4 days I stopped vaping too. Had terrible cough over the first few days as well, it pretty much turned into a horrid cold – but it was just my body’s way of detoxing. Even though I did face the above challenges (including ones that I have not mentioned) I can proudly say I did not (and have not) had a cigarette since my decision on 26th June. Although at times I was really tempted!”
Antonia said “It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done but I got through the cravings by just thinking ‘this feeling isn’t going to last forever’, which of cause it doesn’t and smoking rarely crosses my mind now. “
How has it benefited their health?Eleanor added “Where do I start?! What a difference 5 weeks of not smoking has made to my health….! My sense of smell has improved, my breathing has completely changed for the better and my circulation is at its best because my
lungs are processing more oxygen around my body. I have started spin classes at the gym, am going 3 to 4 times a week – and I love it! I would never been able to do these classes when I smoked! Food tastes better because the nerve endings on my tongue have now fully repaired, my skin, teeth and hair look healthier and I have so much more energy! And to top it all off I have saved to date £223. I would recommend everyone that smokes to stop! It is super hard, but the benefits of stopping far outweigh the side effects of smoking - I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends, family and co workers.
Antonia finished with “There are too many health benefits to mention, however I ran a marathon in April which I know would have been almost impossible if I was still a smoker! Advice to people wanting to quit – there will never be an ideal time, it’s easy to make excuses that you have an occasion coming up when you will want to smoke!
Take one day at a time and try not to think too much about it or too far ahead and just focus on not having a cigarette that day!”
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited
In June, it was Walk Over Cancer campaign so we decided to challenge employees to walk 10,000 steps a day throughout the month. Even though some people said they would not be able to achieve the target they joined in to participate. Darryl was our winner with a whopping 512,081 steps throughout the month, closely followed by Nicky with 465,417 steps. Darryl was not in it for the prize but for improving his personal health so kindly passed the £25 sweatshop voucher to Nicky.
This was a good initiative and people who took place enjoyed it. We were publishing the league table every week so they could see how they positioned themselves against other employees. Hopefully employees will have been inspired by Darryl & Nicky averaging over 15,000 steps per day!
Darryl said on the challenge
“I’m not in it to win a prize, but more because it’s about changing my lifestyle. I got the Fitbit and the app in March, and it’s helped me to gradually do more and more walking. I started with very small changes. Taking long cuts instead of short cuts.. A long cut is to find a longer way to get somewhere to do more steps. 5 minutes more or maybe 15 minutes more. It all counts. Now I’m trying to do a bit of a walk to work (from Gloucester road), a walk around Redhill at lunch time, and a detour back to Gloucester road. On the weekend my family and I are trying to avoid using the car and do more things locally, which is not always easy but working so far.
- Less tiredness (also linked to Fitbit as it tracks my sleep and advised to have the same 40 mins to go to sleep and wake)
- Loss of weight
- Less headaches
Frankly if I can do it – anyone can, as I am not a health nut, I can’t stand gyms. Walking is simple, easy and can be done literally anywhere!”
“I’ve really increased my step count since I bought my Fitbit and make sure I always do my daily 10k steps. Some friends and I have regular step competitions and encourage each other, we’ve also started doing a Saturday morning Park Run followed by brunch as a reward. I play hockey once a week which really helps the step count and also taking the dog for long walks in the sunshine is a great way to get some exercise. I try to go out for a walk around town at lunchtime every day rather than just sitting at my desk. Keeping active makes me feel happier, I have more energy, sleep better and I can reward myself with plenty of treats without feeling guilty!”
As a result, we would like to cheer both Darryl & Nicky this month for their great achievement. Please find attached the Cheer.
Simon Booth, Weight Watchers UK Ltd
My Champ Cheer for this month has gone to one of our Area Managers Mel Pym. I’ve been running drop in clinics in the field for people to come along and see how they can boost their Vitality points and also double check that they are getting as many rewards as possible- setting up their Starbucks accounts etc.
Mel came to one of the clinics and has embraced all aspects of it. Mel is all set up with her fitbit, completed her health reviews and is now happily receiving a free drink and cinema ticket on regular occasions. So has already headed straight up to Silver!
I’m running a few clinics on the office over the next few months and now have a regular spot on our Times out newsletter where I am sharing the different elements of the Vitality programme to others. This month is about Vitality GP. We’re seeing lots if interest from others who haven’t signed up before, so hoping to see an increase in our employees who take this up for 2018.
I on the other hand also signed up for a ½ marathon, really pushing myself to the limits with the training for that! Run takes place on the 3rd September in Cleethorpes.
Tess Tucker, Paul Smith
This month I am doing a ‘champs Cheer’ for Tom Woodhouse who works at Kean Street in London. He completed the Vitality London 10,000 at the end of May. He has done a couple of half marathons and wanted to challenge himself over a shorter, faster distance. He completed the race in 47:30 and enjoyed it so much he is hoping to do another one this year! He also got over excited and entered the London Marathon ballot for 2018!
Well done Tom, keep on running and pushing yourself to keep fit and healthy!
Tharina Cronje, CTP
Since being a Champion, I have introduced myself to my colleagues and hosted 5 webinars about how to get started with Vitality and one face-to-face meeting, over 90 colleagues attended these sessions. I've made myself available for 1:1 support and have facilitated queries.
We have launched a Google + Community where I share tips and initiatives from the newsletter and we also replicate the content on our intranet for another part of the business, this is done on a weekly basis.
June is our Bring your own lunch to work lunch at my work. I've created a star chart, you get a star if you have brought your own lunch in and if it includes at least one thing of red, green or yellow on your plate. About 15 people are involved with this. The other incentive is that it is saving us all money. I have also shared healthy and quickly to make recipes with my colleagues.
On the back of the webinars one of our offices challenged themselves and are walking virtually to each of our 10 offices in the country, 1212 miles in between these offices. Every team member committed to walk 10000 steps a day, they are in week 3 of the challenge and they are over half way already!
Lindsey Passaic, Vitality
This month marked the start of running club at Vitality’s London office. To get the club up and ‘running’, I sent around a short survey to collect information about staff’s favourite time and day to run, running pace and whether anyone would be willing to lead a run. I used the survey responses to pick two days a month to organize lunchtime 5Ks. By sending out a survey I was able assign run leaders and communicate run club dates in advance so that staff could plan their time accordingly. To ensure that no one forgets about the runs, I send Outlook diary invites and post run reminders in common areas. We had a nice group at our first run and everyone’s looking forward to the next 5K around the city.
As the Champion in London and a qualified personal trainer, I also initiated a June fitness program. Instead of trying to organise the classes on my own, I worked with Vitality’s ‘Making a Difference’ committee to capitalise on existing business resource and make the classes as successful as possible. For four weeks this June, a group of staff has been meeting once a week for a 45-minute exercise class. The classes are all about having fun and getting in extra physical activity before heading home for the day. To make the classes as accessible as possible, they’re free, designed for all ability levels, and take place in our office at the end of the day. It’s hard to find an excuse not to join! The classes have been so popular we’re thinking of extending it for the rest of the summer.
As awareness of the Champion role increases, I’m hoping to spearhead initiatives around Vitality’s other health pillars such as nutrition and mental wellbeing. Heading into summer seems like a great time to highlight hydration tips and healthy recipes that keep you cool!
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited
“Steve has recently decided to sign up and partake in MacMillan’s Longest Day Golf Challenge for 2017 in memory of his friends’ granddad who died of cancer. In order to achieve this challenge, Steve has trained hard over the past few weeks and has achieved an incredible weight loss. Additionally Steve decided to change his diet but did not want to use this word as he thought it was negative, and instead decided to call it a lifestyle change. Both exercise and diet change have improved his health as a result.
Well done, and good luck Steve for the Golf Challenge we know you can do this”
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited
We were not sure what to expect when we attended the training on 4th April at Vitality London Office and what we would have to do as Champs. However the training day was great. Everyone was friendly and we were all in the same boat. The coaches were great and explained the values of the company, and the speaker was very inspirational. However when we left we were still not 100% sure of what was expected of us as champions as we thought we would have been given more information on our role and how to get people involved back at the office.
Since the training day we have started our Champs journey by setting up a Vitality information page on the business intranet site, so all employees have a point of reference for all things Vitality. The page includes the Members login link, Newsletters, Food of the Month, Getting started in 10 steps, and we plan to include details of any Vitality events such as races going on to encourage people to get active!
As a starting point we also thought it would be useful to ask for feedback directly from the employees, to better understand how they are currently engaging with Vitality and what they would like to see more of to get them even more engaged and excited about Vitality. We therefore set up a short questionnaire and asked employees to give their feedback. We plan on using this feedback to help us decide on future initiatives we will introduce into the business so that everyone can get involved!
We have also asked employees to nominate someone every month for the Champs Cheer, which gets everyone involved and encourages people to make small steps towards improving their health. We have sent a separate email to you with our Champs Cheer for April.
Please find attached a few photos from our Vitality intranet page!