HEALTH

The Weight Loss Program Proven On Blue Collar Aluminium Workers

A beer or two is fine.

14/09/2016 3:53 PM AEST | Updated 28/09/2016 6:55 AM AEST
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Weight loss is possible for everyone.

Blue-collar metal workers are not exactly known as bastions of health. Generally speaking, you wouldn't expect to catch them partaking in sunrise yoga or forgoing an arvo tinnie for a kale shake.

And shift work is not always conducive to a healthy diet and a good night's sleep.

So it's particularly impressive that an Australian evidence-based weight loss program was tested on Newcastle aluminium smelter workers and produced brilliant long-term results.

There's no gimmicks like cutting all sugar or all carbs. There's no fasting or hour-long exercise sessions, and a beer or two is allowed.

It's called Workplace POWER, which stands for Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit.

"We like a bit of blokey humor," University of Newcastle Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition deputy director Philip Morgan told The Huffington Post Australia.

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Men need more than rabbit food to get through the day.

"A lot of messages around weight loss were not geared to men and participation in group programs was about 80 percent women.

"About 70 percent of men are considered overweight and the burden of disease for men is greater than women because of where they store their fat.

"We wanted to see if we could tailor a program to reach those men who wouldn't otherwise sign up."

The first 2011 study was on more than 300 workers at industrial smelter Tomago Aluminum in Newcastle.

If you don't think you'll never have another beer in your life, then I want you to have a beer tonight.Philip Morgan

"You'd speak to blokes and just about every man in the room had attempted weight loss before. They'll get motivated about weight loss and tell you they'll quit beer, or they've started going on two-hour bike rides.

"But the focus of Workplace POWER is sustainability.

"If you don't think you'll never have another beer in your life, then I want you to have a beer tonight. Don't cut carbs unless you think you'll do it for a lifetime.

"The big difference is this sustainable, realistic approach that isn't about eating like a rabbit or giving up an aspect of your diet."

It worked -- not only did participants lose an average of 5kgs, they kept it off multiple years later.

"After a diet, about 90 percent of people have gained all the weight back after five years so instead on focusing on the weight loss journey, we look at sustainable life changes."

As for the employers, participants in Workplace POWER had less absenteeism days (to the tune of eight hours per three months), and reported reduced fatigue, reduced workplace injuries and improved tolerance to physical work demands.

"It came down to the men getting better sleep and feeling better about themselves," he said.

Kelvin Murray
Less fatigue equaled less injuries.

Since the program's success, it's swept across the nation, being rolled out by the likes of Diabetes WA.

In 2015, All Earth Group participants' average BMI went from 37 to 35.6, the group reduced average alcoholic standard drinks from 7.1 per day to 2.2 and reported fatigue rating from 4.4 out of 10 to 3.2.

The same year at Qube Bulk the results were equally impressive, with the rate of participants eating two serves of fruit a day increasing from 0 percent to 75 percent.

For Morgan, it's a delight to follow the program's success.

"I have hosted hundreds of sessions and I do feel really proud when you see results. It's changing people's lives."

Read More Of The Huff Post Australia's Obesity Series:

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