Obesity and career, does it hold you back? Does your weight affect your success? And how about being underweight? Many questions related to weight and its impact on someone’s career hit my mailbox on a regular base.
A recent research study co-authored by Mark Roehling, Michigan State University professor, and Patricia Roehling, professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, found that only five percent of male and female CEOs at top US companies had a body mass index (BMI) over 30. This BMI places them in the category of obesity.
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
- Overweight = 25–29.9
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
This percentage of obese male individuals is much lower than the US average percentage of obese men and women, which as of this writing, is 36 percent for men and 38 percent for women in the same age group.
Obesity and Career:
This study aims to show that those who are in positions of power in US companies are most often also physically healthy and conscious. This does not mean they need to have a strict workout regime or follow a specific diet, just that they put effort into keeping their bodies healthy, which in turn has allowed them to maintain a healthy mind and achieve success within their industry.
The study also highlights how often assumptions are passed about people based solely on their physical body and appearance. Luckily, this is something that does not have to work against you in the workplace as you have full control over the way others view you.
First Impressions Reminder:
Obesity is a disease that many will battle in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, regardless of your body mass index, people will make assumptions about you based on your physical appearance. Obesity and career seem to go hand in hand. However, this goes for not only those struggling with weight gain or obesity but also those who struggle with anorexia or being underweight. Quite frankly, even those of us who are of average height and weight get assumptions passed about them, about how often they exercise or what they eat.
These kinds of judgments are unavoidable; however, by keeping up with your physical body and putting effort into looking and being healthy, you may get ahead in your industry. This is not to say that you have to be a certain size to be a CEO, but if you are mindful of your health, others will assume you are a mindful leader. If you are focused on curating a healthy body, likely, you are also focused on maintaining a healthy mind. Many of us with healthy habits get better sleep, are fueling with nutrient-rich foods, and therefore, can tap into their creativity and maintain the energy needed to be successful throughout their day at work. Apart from ensuring you are healthy, all the assumptions people make about others’ physical bodies are based on what the body reflects about the mind.
Above all, be sure you are mirroring what you want others to see in you, into your physical appearance. This can be done by making sure you are keeping up with your appearance and creating a professional impression on those you meet. My best tips for ensuring your physical body reflects your skillset as an employee include:
- eating foods you love that make you feel good and satiated,
- dressing in clothes that fit you and that make you feel confident,
- and ensuring you are moving your body enough every singly day.
Movement does not mean you have to be doing a strict exercise program, maybe you go on a walk during your lunch break, walk your dog, clean your house, walk some stairs, or do an online yoga class. There are so many ways to move your body to maintain your health without needing to buy a gym membership, expensive equipment, or inconvenience your daily routine.