Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Could a Digital Weight Loss Program be for Me?

We have a new benefit at work to support those of us that struggle with weight, exercise, and proper diet. It used to be called Prevent, but now the new company, Omada Health, has us all digital. I took the on-line screening to see if I qualify. Little doubt that my robust features would help me get into the program, but I was surprised at what I would receive once I did. Last Thursday a package came in the mail, quite a heavy package at that. In it was a digital scale. This is not any scale, but a smart scale. Once I weigh in, it  transfers my weight to my on-line account for tracking any changes. The package also had a tape measure to take measures of wait, hips, and torso, and other body parts should I choose to do so.  I did not at this stage take more than minimum, but into my online record went those as well. There is a food tracking log to keep as part of week ones lesson.

Checking e-mails Sunday night and I had several in my in box from my new Omada coach. Each Sunday night she will send me, and my cohort, a new lesson. There is online chats, and motivational tools to help stay on track. The program runs for 16 weeks, with a different focus every four weeks/month.

Month one: Eat Better
Month Two: Move more
Month Three: Prepare for Challenges
Month Four: Reinforce Habits

They boast that 80% of all who start and stay with it will see success.  Success is defined as a weight loss of 7.5% of total wight by the end of the 16 weeks. I would like to be more successful than that but seeings how I have lost a grand total of seven pounds since New Years, I'll take 7.5% in 16 weeks.  It will be hard. Let's take a look at my obstacles. 

Month one: Eat Better month started on October 23rd, one week before Halloween. The week of the chili cook off at work. Challenge accepted. 

Month Two: Move more starting November 21st, Thanksgiving week. This is a week that could see snow falls and frigid temperatures, but I will be trying to stay motivated to get up and exercise when I just want to stay in a nice warm bed.

Month Three: Prepare for Challenges, like the entire month of December! 

Month Four: Reinforce Habits, which should be appropriate with the new year. 

The scale thing creeps me out, a bit Big Brotherish for me. However, no lying or smiding the facts. Plus, no having to actually be weighed in front of real people.  I have fluctuated by over two pounds between Thursday when it came and this morning.  I guess that is probably normal. Has anyone else tried a digital weight management plan? Was it part of your health care coverage as this is for me, or did you spend out of pocket funds. Was it successful? Wish me luck and I'll be checking in with updates. 

Other health related updates, the tests from my rounds a few weeks back for the most part turned up nothing new. I will be checked again in about four weeks for iron and vitamin D once the heavy doses prescribed have had a chance to build up. I have a couple neurological follow-ups, but the doctor feels it is highly unlikely that I'm experiencing any more than an RA flare up. Combined with the vitamin and mineral deficiency, my symptoms were mimicking other autoimmune diseases. Wendy, you were right. Doctors may always find something more to look for, but I am still grateful all is for the most part, just routine.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Stretching to November

DH and I ran over to Cobornes Thursday night and stocked up on more of the good deals. I caved and bought some convenience foods, namely the Knorr rice sides because they were 10 for $9.00, and with that you got a free 2.5 pound bag of frozen chicken breasts. I'm not a fan of the sodium, but if served with a lean meat and vegetables, the overall meal is healthy. DD loves them, and we like to use the Spanish rice for taco and fajitas. We are right around $250 for October in the grocery department, and this inlcudes DH's ice cream and chip run. I refuse to count the massive bag of bite sized chocolate he bought though. Big deals were another six Kraft cheeses, another three boxes of cereal, canned tomatoes and chili beans, and we grabbed four more cans of tuna, as low as we see it go. We picked up Yoplait's for just $0.29, limit of 12. These will be eaten for breakfasts and lunches well before the end of the month. I almost feel like I should get more as I take yogurt just about every day for my lunch. 

We will need fresh fruit, bread, eggs, perhaps milk, and meat of some sort to round out meals for the month, but I know I will keep under $300, by shear will power. We should be positioned well to keep November in check, as several items will not be used before month end, plus the pantry was pretty full before this shop. This is good as I'll need extra funds, unless I can be very planful, for my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner. I need to think through some meal planning. Last night was hamburgers and sweet potato wedges, tonight will be a tuna hot dish with corn, sandwiches for lunch, and Sunday I'll do brunch with pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs and fruit. Sunday supper will probably be Italian herb crusted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, and salad. My big baking day yesterday resulted in three dozen chocolate chip cookies, four mini loaves of pumpkin bread, and a small apple crisp, which I'll serve when the mother in law is over for dinner. I popped it in the freezer and on Sunday will thaw and reheat so it will taste fresh baked. I alos froze two of the bread and half the cookies.

I'm trying to stretch the household, health and beauty budget out to November as well.  My big Target shop labor day weekend is still keeping us in paper supplies, shampoo, and deodorant.The one area might be dish washing liquid that may need some dollars. I like being stocked, but I haven't gone overboard to the point that things are cluttered and I don't know what I have. That is a good feeling, and more like how I used to manage my household when I had no choice but to be orderly with teenagers and a toddler. 

This weekend has been just what I needed. Nothing exciting, but I am enjoying being home wwith no agenda. I took pup for a long walk this morning and he is a bit spent now. We'll go for another long one before dinner tonight. We may be meeting friends for a drink tonight-depends on DH when he gets home. DD1 is going with friends to a haunted hay ride at the garden center up the highway, and the timing would work well for  us to have a little meet up between dropping her off and picking her up. I'm in a borrowed car still, but my  new phone came and I am back in modern times. I have another purged box and bag of clothes, but think I will stop on route home Monday rather than run a special errand.A friend who's parents still live in town is stopping by to pick up DS's college graduation robe, which I have no idea why we still have it. Her kids high school is putting on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, like DD2 was in last spring, and she is on props and costumes and needs this for the Preachers robe. She's also borrowing a lot of things our school used and the back drop. I think it is next weekend; I might have to cross the state lines and go see it! 

This has been a post pretty much about nothing, so if you are still reading, thank you kindly. Sometimes downshifting everything, including the clock and calendar is needed more than a life of excitement. What can be better though than a weekend of good fresh air, home baked goods and cooking, drinks with family and friends, and a little blogging to friends? Enjoy what's left of your weekend, and comment below how you spent yours. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

It May Be Cliche:Pumpkins and Leaves!

I live in Minnesota. The winters can be brutally cold and there are summer days that rival the deep south for heat and humidity. Yet, there is this splice of the year when all things are perfect. The sun will shine, the breeze will blow softly, a light jacket or sweatshirt is all that is needed. That time is now. What better way to experience the best of Minnesota weather, a day off of school and work, than getting out and about with my favorite teen? We had a lazy day, stopping at the library before a hair cut, then exploring a few shops. We had a low cost lunch at Panera, thanks to an old gift card I found, enjoying soup, salads, rustic sandwiches, baguettes' and smoothies. We make lunch a sampler meal whenever we go out, sharing items for optimal tasting. Spending was  low in the shops, as I have become quite disciplined, with the purchase of a sweatshirt for DD, and two hand soaps in Christmas decor at Gordman's for $.99 each, less than 1/2 what Bath and Body Works charges even on sale, though I love Bath and Body Works products. 

The outing was completed by a stop at a small farm off the highway, too perfect not to use as a photo op for my new toy, and pick up a pumpkin.I grabbed one of the two last butternut squash she had as well. We'll have  my mother in law over for dinner on Sunday, and she likes squash. Here is my day in pictures. The tree is from our front yard. There was a lovely early morning moon peaking through, but I could not capture it on the camera so you'll need to use your imagination. My life is not all pumpkin patches, autumn leaves, and perfect days with my family, and I try to stay real on my blog. Yet, there are the days that are gems. Photos of pumpkins and leaves may be cliche, but I do not care. I love fall on sunny days and hope you get a chance to experience this bliss yourself. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What's Right in the World

I could have had a totally shit day yesterday. On route to work, my car started gurgling and wincing and all kinds of other things it shouldn't be doing. This is a two year old car mind you, so I was not prepared that it was a transmission issue. My cell phone battery died to the point it can't hold a charge, so here I was stranded on a busy two lane highway, barely any shoulder, and steep declines down into a ditch. After about 30 minutes, a nice man stopped and let me use his phone, and helped get my car to a slightly safer place. He left, and about 45 minutes later, roadside assistance came.  At that same time, the man came by again, back the other way from his earlier appointment and stopped to make sure I was OK. the car got towed, it is under warranty, and DH got me a loaner. Nice people going out of their way is a god send in today's world. Bad odds that my car breaks down when I have no cell service, but I was back in commission by 10:00 a.m.

I am off today and tomorrow, switching up my days off to take advantage of a school break for DD. Unfortunately, I have a project due on Friday, that I just got the scope on Monday. A colleague in another agency, who has a shared responsibility, took on drafting the report yesterday, which meant I could just review, add, and correct, saving me hours. There are a few more hiccups, and she is going to do one more review, send my ways, and I'll only have to do a final review and edit tomorrow morning. Good colleagues are also a treasure. I still will have to log in and do work on what should be a day off, but compared to how I was feeling walking into the office yesterday, loads were lifted on this project by the time I left.

I stayed late at the office getting my parts of the project done, plus trying to leave things in good shape. I'm wearing two hats right now, and me being out is like two people being out of the office. I carefully crafted my "Out of Office" message with some FAQ's. Several times in the day, I had to switch back and forth between data systems, each one taking extra minutes, each one sucking minutes from my day, but I managed to clear my voice and e-mail some how. I was hungry and tired by the time I got home, but fortunately, I had frozen ham left from DD's confirmation, ready to throw in the oven potatoes, and corn to steam, and we still had dinner by 7:30, and not take out or frozen pizza. DD handled other chores, DH took the whiny pup for a walk, and we still ended up with a stress free night considering all the craziness of the day. Having a working freezer, working oven, and an adaptable family are all good things.  I admit though, yesterday took all my resiliency not to have a break down, and I felt tears well in my eyes as I waited by the roadside, as I was trying to make sense of the project, and as I was on a longer than needed phone call, and could hear two others ringing in at the same time. .

With my four day weekend, my plans are simple. We have housework and the norms of laundry. I'm hoping to get to a few more house projects, more purging, and some painting of a piece or two of furniture for our room or one of the extra rooms. DD and I want to have a poke about in a couple nearby towns; she calls them wander days. I'm going to get a good deal of baking done over the next few days. I need to try out Anne's Pumpkin Muffins. I may start a book, or at least pick up a favorite and reread. I ignored the debate last night. I know what is crap in the world, and I don't trust either to fix it. I have more faith in those around me to make the world a good place. My faith in fellow members of the community was bolstered yesterday, on a day I truly needed to be uplifted.