The Skinny on Being Fat and Laid Off

Headlines today: Job losses forecast to continue during ’09.  So here is the problem.

Just do something to stay fit

The number one New Years Resolution is to be more healthy and lose weight. Actually paying attention to your fitness and girth can help your business success. Here’s how. Did you know that some companies are penalizing people for being fat?  Outrageous you might say. The fact is companies are choosing this route in an effort to cut health care costs and reduce the number of people having to be laid off. It is a bottom line, business decision and has nothing to do with fat acceptance or non-acceptance. Does this resonate with you? Have you pledged to better self-awareness to manage your health?

Scenario: The manager has been told to lay off one person. There are two that have been identified as candidates and they both have the same skills and background.  One is fit and one is not. Which one would you RIF (Reduction in Force)?

If you are trying to deflabbify yourself, think about the TLC.
Take it: You know you need to drop a few pounds but right now you have so much on your mind that you choose not to tackle your over active fork.  You have a plan to tackle it in 30 days and mark it on your calendar. The decision is to tackle it from a life style change vs. going on another yo-yo diet.

Leave it: You decide not to take any action and to reject the idea of losing weight.  Dieting is such a drag and you are always hungry. Buying larger clothes isn’t so bad anyway.  Who is going to notice or care.  Look at Oprah.  She just continues to yo-yo and you don’t want to fall into that trap.

Change it: You pledge to yourself to make a life style change.  You want to replace your six-pack with a six-pack. Your thighs rubbing together and igniting on fire is no longer funny. You make a flexible action list that will be your guide to feeling better and being healthier.  It’s not about dieting, it is about taking personal responsibility for your choices.  You are in control of what goes in your mouth. Yes, you need to change some habits and that is a good thing.  Some of your affirmations can include:
•    I save money because eating more costs more.
•    When I eat fast food, which is be less often, I make better choices.
•    I feel better about myself and I know I look better.
•    My insurance premiums are reduced because I am not in a high-risk group.
•    I enjoy the children in my life and am a better role model.
•    I understand that being overweight is an unspoken issue in business. I am not overlooked for my next position because of my girth. Obesity doesn’t carry the same protections as race, gender, age, etc.
•    My productivity is improved because I will have more energy and better focus. I know this can chip away at my earning potential and efficiency, so I choose to control it!

According to a Stanford University study, obese people with health coverage may already be punished on the job. Those surveyed were paid an average of $1.20 less per hour than non-obese workers. Why? Employers may intentionally adjust overweight employees wages to account for health care costs. Bottom line: it costs them more so it will cost you more!

So the real info that can help you NOT get laid off, is to lay off the candies, goodies and junk food.  Any other ideas on this dilemma? I would love for you to post your comment or question!

Marsha Petrie Sue

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  1. Systeria says:


    I do support the idea of a healthy lifestyle, but I’m not entirely comfortable with this notion that companies would carry out professional selection based on weight. I

    And I was wondering whether other people with other healthcare problems that are sure to contribute to high healthcare costs are also at risk here.

    I say this because although I was overweight until about a year ago, I was the one person at my place of work who hardly claimed her medical insurance.

  2. Cornelia says:

    Dear Marsha,
    I can relate to Systeria. I am obese and started six month ago on a Program to loose weight, because I have Back Problems. At my place of work it is “not allowed” to have a personal life. When it became known, that I am going to a support Group for my Lifestyle change, my work schedule was changed, so I cannot attend my group anymore. All requests and pleads did not work – yet.

    Marsha – what is your advise on that?

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