Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Last night was my final call and monthly appointment with my "Get Healthy" program appointed Wellness Coach, Jill. I am going to miss talking with her and going over progress reports, etc. But I have not only met, but exceeded all the goals set forth by myself and by the program. So much so in fact, that Jill is putting me in as a success story to the organization. Don't know about all that, I just wanted to look and feel better lol.
For those that don't already know, a little background on the Get Healthy program. I work for the State of Pennsylvania, specifically for the PA State Police. As a State employee, all of our medical, dental, health benefits are paid in part by PEBTF (PA Employee Benefit Trust Fund). Now, just as all your employers in the private sector, and just like all companies large or small, the PA State Government is struggling with the ever rising cost of health care. And tighter and tighter budgets every year mean less money for all things. The unions try to negotiate a fair contract for us with good health coverage at somewhat affordable cost, etc. (Contrary to popular belief, we do NOT have free health care, NOR do taxpayers pay for the majority of it, etc). At the end of the day, the State has the same problem your boss does. How do I continue to pay for and provide my employees health coverage with ever rising costs, without raising their deduction to the point of a major cut, yet not bankrupt ourselves in the process? Often times the solution is to make employees pay a higher deductible for less coverage, more co-pays and at higher amounts, etc. Its an every changing persistent game of shuffling.
The fact is people...here is the harsh reality. No matter who signs your paycheck, its super expensive to provide health care for you and your family because quite frankly we are a nation of lazy fat asses. Oh, did I offend you? Well its true. I was one as well. I weighed 260 pounds, I didnt move much except from my cubicle to the bathroom on occasion and when I got off work, I was too worn out to do much more than watch tv until bed or play video games. I didnt even have the energy or desire most nights to cook any food other than the 5 minutes it took to heat up a processed box of whatever or maybe if I had some spare cash hit Wendy's drive through on the way home. And I am not alone. My whole family in one way or another exhibited similar lifestyles and it was super expensive to take care of them. 3 relatives with type II diabetes, 7 with high cholesterol who will forever be on drugs, high blood pressure in nearly all adults over 30, an average of 40 lbs overweight per all of us, etc. And that is the new standard of America. Its true and its why Health care is so expensive. And why we pay more copay and why every so many years our benefits deductions go up, etc. So, what is Get Healthy? (Sorry for the tangent rant)
Get Healthy is a program sponsored by Highmark Blue Shield and the PEBTF to offer a major incentive to all State workers. If you can take a self assessment and be determined to be "Healthy" your employer (State of PA) gets to pay 50% less to cover your health care benefit with NO reduction in quality or coverage. Because you worked to be healthy, its simply costs less to cover you with the same plan it costs to cover unhealthy or "At Risk" people. Simple truth. AND because it costs them 50% less to cover you, that means it costs 50% less of a pay deduction from your check. In other words, if I can be labeled as "Healthy", I pay half what the rest do for the same health plan. Pretty cool eh?
But what if your assessment puts you "At Risk"? Well I was there. Enter the Wellness Coach program and my new buddy Jill. If you enroll in Wellness Coaching, what PEBTF calls "Get Healthy" and you keep your appointments, you automatically go into the 50% reduction category. Because you are taking steps to change your life, and doing something about your health. At the end of the year/program, your coach submits your progress and you either get labeled as "Healthy" and keep the reduced cost, or you re-enroll and try again. Basically its a reward for those who are at least trying to better themselves. When I enrolled with Jill back in February of last year, I was 260 lbs, 46-48" waist, and had no energy or motivation. Now...11 months later...I am 194 lbs, lost nearly 10" off my waist and had my BMI drop over 8 points.
I am fit, I feel great, I have a ton of energy and it is all thanks to the guidance of you Jill. Thank you!!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
As I look at all the things I have left behind, the good and the bad, those moments define us. I also believe there is something to be said on reaching a point that you let the past die. If you hold on to even good things too long, you never move forward. SparkPeople, my wellness coach Jill, you guys on the Get Fit Harrisburg group, have all played a part to wake me up and move forward.
So here I am on a whole new lifestyle of better eating and wellness. I have lost over 50 lbs, am flirting with the 210 mark, and I feel great physically. I have more energy, I am motivated to exceed, and it has even made life easier. I am working on art again, something I had left by the wayside as a part of being in a new show at HCPAC (Hbg Performing Art Center). But I came to realize its not enough..still not quite enough. And I figured it out. I was holding on to too many yesterdays and living in this foggy haze. So no more.
This is a new chapter and folks, I gotta tell you...physical fitness and eating right is only a single ingredient to a much larger picture. Wholeness, living well, if there is anything my diverse studies have taught me over the years is that you also need healthy emotional and spiritual wholeness. So I have taken those steps as well. Spiritual health usually instills images of a religious faith, and while that's not necessarily what that term always means for everyone, for me it does. I have started seeking God again. Started believing there has to be more beyond this life. And it has brought a clarity and peace of mind.
Finally I have also began steps towards emotional health and well being. I am taking energy from my friends, and family and loved ones that encourage me and keep me wanting more. I have also trimmed the fat, and hard as it is, started distancing myself from unhealthy relationships with people who in some cases I have known for 10 years or more. But when its always drama and crisis mode and end of the world...they are draining. Like a leech. And its not healthy. This even includes the "social life" or dating aspect. I have let go of people who I still kept part of my life in a way even though things were never going to go anywhere and it was unhealthy. Yes it upset people in some cases who I am distancing myself from, and yes its hard in some cases. But the air is clearer and I can breathe better. Emotional wholeness is coming back. I even took a daring leap and joined a certain unnamed dating site just more for the heck of it to see what its all about. I shouldn't sell myself short and say I'm not expecting anything to come from it, but I'm certainly not into it hardcore where I email some new person every night or gawk and lurk at dozens of profiles throughout the week and flirt wink at all the ones I like...I find that..kinda creepy even though I'm being told by my friends that as the guy on a dating site, that's how its supposed to work. It's my job to contact and ping all the women I find intriguing until something happens and one writes back...I don't know..I still find it kinda weird to do that so I'm being conservative on it haha.
The point of all this is I realized it really is a trifecta....mind, body, spirit. You need health in all 3 as they are all linked proportionally together and one area of health can still be nullified by unhealth in another area. So as the lessons taught to us by Dori in "Finding Nemo" says...you gotta "just keep swimming"...
Thursday, July 14, 2011
THANK YOU for all the positive support and attitude you have given me on the past two months. While I was dieting and exercising to a degree, I was missing out on a whole lot. And doing quite a bit of large but common mistakes when it came to better living.
You showed me this site, and through your own knowledge and advice that can only come from one who has a degree in fitness and nutrition I have made a lot of changes for the better and the results speak for themselves. I look forward to meeting all my goals with your assistance.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I think one of the most incredible things about this website, one that still blows my mind, is how deep and comprehensive it is. Everything from fitness tracking to articles on recent studies of various health related issues, tips and guides to why some things work on weight loss and others dont, etc. But one thing I really like is the food items with suggested daily meal planning and recipes at SparkRecipe.
Lets be honest recipes and cookbooks have been around for years, but if you go through moms or even grandmas recipes, and look at the nutritional value of them, its not so great most times. Granted their idea of serving sizes and portions are probably more reasonable then ours today, but still when I see "add 2 cups of lard to pan"...it makes me hesitate. Diets and "healthy" eating cookbooks are nothing new either, but a lot of times the food either isnt great tasting, doesnt look appetizing, or has a bunch of wierd stuff Im not quite brave enough to try yet..."combine tofu cubes with goat cheese" kinda thing. I love watching food shows like Kitchen Nightmares and looking at the amazing looking dishes, or paging through Guy Fieri's book...but...his recipes even on the suggested portion size...wowza. "BBQ basted pork and triple bacon sandwich with fried onion rings" sounds great. But I bet the calorie and fat amounts burst half my daily limit lol.
So all that said, I love SparkRecipes. They are, so far in what I have seen, great tasting and looking recipes with sensible portions and nutritional amounts. Last night I made Vegetarian Chili. Man is that good...except I failed miserably. How? Well...I was going off my laptop as I preparing it and of course my mind was every direction at once with things...and when measuring out the chili powder I put in 4 tbsp...tasted and was like WOW HOT...look at laptop...and...chili powder 4 tsp..yeah thats....wait....*looks at tablespoon*...*looks at teaspoon*....*glance back to recipe*..chili powder 4 tsp...*facepalm*
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