With the start of the New Year only a couple of weeks behind us many people are struggling to hold on to their commitments to lose weight. Statistics show that 38 percent of people in the U.S. made a weight-related resolution for 2014. However, research also shows that only about eight percent of people actually keep their resolution.
No matter if you make your weight loss commitment at the beginning of the year or any other month, you are likely to get distracted, prolonging that commitment and taking more time to reach your goal. However, this year you might want to stick to it since it might lead to more money in your pocket or that dream job you’ve been wanting.
What am I talking about? Many studies have found that there are certain stigmas associated with larger individuals in the workforce. When someone is overweight employers might assume you’re lazy and don’t have the willpower or dedication of a fit person. Employers may also draw a connection between your weight and more illness, impacting your attendance and becoming costly to the company.
Although the assumptions about being lazy or less committed may be subjective, the notion that overweight employees can cost companies more money does have some merit. A recent Gallup Poll found that full-time U.S. workers who are overweight, obese or have other chronic health problems miss 450 million more work days annually than their normal-weight or healthy colleagues. This missed work leads to about $153 million in loss productivity annually.
Being aware of these numbers alone can be enough to make a potential employer move you from candidate to reject after the in-person interview. So, if you’re just getting started on your weight loss journey there are a few things you could do the combat these presumptions.
Terry Pile, principal consultant of Career Advisors, suggests wearing clothes that are slimming and fashionable and staying away from outfits that may appear to be frumpy our outdated, since it’s important for someone who’s carrying additional pounds to have good grooming.
Pile also says to be cognizant of the companies you are targeting. You may not want to target fitness or fashion companies that will put heightened scrutiny on appearance.
Experts also suggest weaving in examples that show ambition and determination during your interview to counter stereotypes about fitness for hard work. “Emphasize how you worked hard, stayed late or worked over the weekend and how you have the endurance and energy,” says Pamela Skillings, co-founder of job coaching firm Skillful Communications.
And some experts even suggest being upfront during your interview and mention you gained a couple of pounds and that you are working to get healthier. This shows your potential employer you recognize you have an issue and that you are working to become a better person.
With more than two thirds of U.S. adults being overweight or obese according to the National Center for Health Statistics, there are many people who should strive for a healthier lifestyle. A bit a weight loss might be just what you need to give you an edge on the competition and land you a job in 2014.
Of course, this raises questions of fairness. Someone who has a few more pounds can be smart, capable, and better at the job than another thinner candidate. At what point does cross the line to discrimination? But the fact is that, upon first meeting, appearances matter.
How much weight do you think employers place on whether a person is too heavy?