Company helps chubby workers lose their jelly bellies

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 December, 2008, 12:00am

Early this year, CLP Power technician Cheung Kwok-wai was chubby and had a flabby belly. Walking a flight of stairs would leave him exhausted. But he lost 22kg within four months, thanks to the weight control programme organised by his company.

Mr Cheung is one of 18 participants who volunteered for the company's weight management course in March. Known as the Fitness/Weight Challenge, it was launched in 2006, aimed at helping staff achieve a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Eighty-four employees have completed the programme and collectively lost more than half a tonne.

'Our view is that if employees are healthy, confident and engaged, we'll have a good workforce,' said Daniel Chu Hok-man, the company's human resources manager.

'Although we do not have formal statistics, we think work effectiveness has increased since launching the programme,' he said. 'The employees are more energetic and the work atmosphere is better.'

Participants lose weight by combining a healthy diet and regular exercise over three to four months.

Their weight, blood pressure, sugar levels, body-fat percentage and body mass index are analysed by a fitness instructor, who then tailors an exercise programme for each.

Mr Cheung, 32, who weighed 100kg earlier this year, said he was alarmed to realise that his health was worse than he thought.

He failed in six of nine areas tested, including blood pressure and cholesterol.

'In the past, I had to see doctors often, as I got sick easily. I had a bad digestive system as well,' he said.

He had tried dieting with slimming pills but suffered from dizziness and feeling feverish.

So he enrolled in the CLP programme with two of his Kwun Tong office colleagues.

'The first month was really tough, as I had to stop eating my favourite foods,' he said. 'But the support and encouragement [of his colleagues] were the biggest motivator for me. I'd have given up if I was alone.'

After four months of hard work, Mr Cheung can finally see the fruit of his efforts. He is in good shape, weighs only 77kg and his belly is gone.

More important, he is healthier.

'I feel more energetic,' he said. 'I work out a lot more than in the past. I can even run faster when I play soccer.

'I will continue to keep up with my weight work, but I will focus more on working out on my muscles.'

His teammates, Wong Chi-keung and Chung Kit-ming, each also lost more than 18kg in four months.