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CALL FOR COMMENTS: Employer-sponsored wellness programs and benefits

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What are your favorite employer-sponsored wellness programs and benefits? How do they work? What costs do you pay? How did you learn about them? What benefits are on your wish list?

I was selected to participate on the 12-member AlaskaCare Wellness Committee. AlaskaCare is the health plan for certain State of Alaska employees and its retirees. The committee serves as a workplace point-of-contact and advocates for plan wellness program involvement.

I used my health plan benefits to get where I am today and am keen on what works for you as part of my committee duties.

I *am* pleased with being selected. I had to apply online, I was not invited. I am proud to let people know about free options like SparkPeople. From my application essay:

"I finally learned how to take care of myself. When I was younger I didn't exercise, I ate poorly, and did not have a good grasp on my emotional health. By the age of 36 I was morbidly obese, with 250 pounds hanging on my 5' 2" frame. My blood pressure had crept up to 134/87. I had no energy. I was having difficulty with work relationships and field inspections, so my poor health was starting to impact my employment."

"I started using the employee assistance program in May 2009 to get my emotional house in order. In October 2009 I found SparkPeople, an online community of people like me who wanted to be fit and energetic. I learned how to track my nutrition and fitness for the first time in a daily, meaningful, results-oriented way."

"In May 2012 I can say I have maintained a 90-pound weight loss for over 12 months. I started by gently walking and using the elliptical at the gym. Then I bought a bicycle and started commuting to work. I bought a carbon-fiber road bicycle and started going for long distances. I learned to swim. I started jogging. I completed the 2011 Gold Nugget Triathlon. I ran my first 10 km event in October 2011. I learned to cross-country ski. I started hiking in earnest. I have shed insecurity, pounds, cholesterol, and blood pressure points. I have gained fitness, confidence, and like-minded friends."

"I will see 40 in 2013. As I look at my future, I don't see the diabetes that killed a grandmother, a grandfather, uncles, and aunts. I have reduced the likelihood of heart disease seriously impacting my retirement years. I discovered tools I can use to maintain my weight, stay moving, and feel fulfilled."

"The good choices we make every day are amazing and wonderful. They build a good life. I am interested in helping others discover their own good choices and using our workplace to empower and encourage making those good choices every day."

Make good choices, be well.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AUKEBAY316 7/20/2012 12:00PM

    emoticon

I too live in Alaska and work for SOA. Congratulations on being selected for the wellness committee! It is invaluable to have the insights of someone like you who has lost weight and lowered their blood pressure be able to share your story and insights on wellness. Hopefully other employees will be inspired. We are so fortunate to have such good employee benefits.



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CORNERKICK 7/20/2012 1:33AM

  :)

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APPLEPIEDREAMS 7/19/2012 8:19PM

    I'm so glad you were able to find the tools you needed.

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JAMBABY0 7/19/2012 6:25PM

    Nice blog.

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