I have spent the last 10+ years working with brokers and clients to design wellness programs and strategies. I've been in hundreds, if not thousands, of conversations and vision meetings, and have seen what agencies are doing across the nation. Successful Consultants are seeing their health plan as a business strategy, rather than an employee benefit….
There are no magic pills, shakes, powders or quick fixes.
The weight loss industry has offered us so many diets to choose from that they've begun to contradict each other! This massive industry (which, by the way, raked in over $65 billion in 2017 alone) turns out hundreds of strategies - many of which revolve around your intake of macronutrients, or compounds found in all foods we consume in large quantities: carbohydrates, fat and protein.
A lot of trending diets place emphasis on one macronutrient over the others, but at the end of the day, a balance of all three is not only important but critical to overall health. What many people fail to realize is that our bodies are extremely adaptive to our needs and naturally do some of the balancing act for us! For example, if your body is low on iron, it will absorb more through the foods you eat, or if you're getting too much vitamin C, your body will naturally excrete what it doesn't need. You don't have to be hyper-vigilant about your intake - just listen to what your body needs and make nutritious decisions.
Finding a healthy balance doesn't have to be that complicated - in fact, it shouldn't! I wrote this blog to help cut through the confusion. Here are some tips on where and how to start your long-term "fresh is best" sustainable diet:
We all have our health and wellness journeys and we all mess up - myself included.
I've opted to get honest and share some of the obstacles I've encountered along my personal wellness journey. I hope my experiences strike a chord and reassure you that you're not alone. Everyone - even health coaches - can fall off the self-care wagon.
In my case, it started with a move to the countryside and leaving my exercise routine and habits behind in June of 2017. Pair that with new work responsibilities and a bout with bronchitis and you're left with a very slow-moving, stressed-out Allison. Looking back, I recall feeling insincere about health coaching; I wasn't advocating for myself or taking the advice I was offering others - I wasn't being the health coach I knew that my participants deserved. Today, I stay motivated with these tips and best practices. I hope you'll find they help you, too:
I give myself a pep-talk.
Research shows it only takes five seconds to commit to a decision - positive or negative. When I first made the decision to return to the gym, I didn't define success by how long I was there or how hard I worked. I defined success by simply getting there, parking my car, and not finding an excuse to leave. Over time, I had to train myself to disrupt the negative thoughts keeping me from exercising and commit to doing and feeling better.
While I personally enjoy the gym, it isn't for everyone. As adults, we often equate exercise with a fitness facility, but it isn't the only place to pursue physical activity. Find an exercise routine that fits your needs - something that you'll look forward to. Weekly recreation leagues offer a chance to socialize with friends and opting outside with family can give you all a chance to reconnect in the midst of a chaotic week.
I set myself up for success - even if it means outsmarting myself.
I exercise in the evenings because it works for me. I pack a gym bag before I go to sleep and take it with me to work so that the transition from the office to the gym is effortless. I like working out to my own music, so if I forget earbuds, I'll likely have an excuse to skip. I know myself well enough to strategically plant a pair of earbuds at work, a pair in my car, and stash yet another pair in my gym bag.
Nutrition is no different - if I don't make time to prepare meals, I leave myself vulnerable to making excuses. I've learned to embrace what I playfully call '#mealprepMonday' and will research a few healthy recipes for inspiration before I get to the grocery store. When I don't have time to prepare, I default to my list(s) of healthy, low-cost lunch options - and stick with it.
- Greatist | 35 Quick & Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches
- Family Fresh Meals | 50+ Healthy Work Lunchbox Ideas
- Fitness Magazine | Lunch Section
- EatingWell.com | Cheap, Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work
I get adventurous - but stay realistic.
Making changes to your eating habits will take time and practice. I started by taking a good look in my refrigerator and made a commitment to avoid processed foods and add more veggies and fruits to the drawers - preferably ones that would last considering I'd try to avoid them.
Stocking up on fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas, or vegetables like squash, celery, and carrots are all easy on-the-go options with an extended shelf-life. (Produce pro-tip: when spinach or kale start to wilt, move the greens to the freezer and use what's left for smoothies). Remember that your taste buds evolve, so don't shy away from trying new things.
Taking steps to reclaim my active lifestyle was difficult, but so empowering. To get it back, I started small - one day of exercise each week, eventually building to two, and so on. I embraced the feeling of sore muscles because it meant I was doing something right and pushing forward. Wellness is a journey filled with obstacles, but persistence and dedication fuel strength, confidence, balance and a perspective.
Already a participant? Log into our Wellness Portal to track your progress and measure your success.
Loosely defined, health coaching is a process that facilitates healthy, sustainable behavior change by challenging a coaching participant to actively listen to their inner wisdom, identify aspirations and transform their goals into action. The Health Solutions process takes the coaching element to new levels by using a clinically-based coaching model and participant data to set realistic and specific personal health goals. As a wellness program coordinator and a health coach for HSI, I'm answering on what it takes to be an effective wellness mentor, guide, and coach:
Let me serve it to you straight: traditional corporate wellness programs are just moderately successful experiments. While it’s common for companies to offer ‘feel good’ programs and incentives, they often fail to link organizational expense to expected financial gain. While these programs offer encouragement and incentivize a healthy lifestyle, the risks and overall cost for employers just continue to climb.
Our last post - Measuring Health - was such a hit that we've decided to take things a step further on your journey toward recalibrating health from every angle.
For those of you that missed our last blog post, we introduced the concept of the wellness wheel - a means to visualize and determine where your emotional energy is currently being used and help you find balance and set realistic expectations - just in time for the New Year!
What's the standard for well-being? The truth is, it's always evolving. The literal dictionary definition of health is "the condition of being sound in body, mind, and spirit." As a health coach for Health Solutions, I'm proud to help participants understand that all aspects of their health and wellbeing are important to reaching goals and anticipating obstacles.
Wellness is so much more than weighing yourself and counting calories - it's adopting a mindset that ensures you are making yourself a priority.
I work with participants spanning in age from millennials to baby boomers, and have learned that regardless of your stage in life, to successfully lead it, you've got to 1.) Advocate for yourself, and 2.) Listen to your body. At Health Solutions, we take pride in being problem-solvers. The following are just a few ways you can make the most of your time and start putting more focus on what matters - you and your health:
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult, but adopting one won’t happen overnight. At HSI, we do this through coaching – that means exploring and offering solutions built on conversation, goal-setting, education, and accountability.
The best way to get motivated is to start. Don’t focus on everything all at once and remember that drastic changes aren’t healthy either. Adopting healthy habits require commitment, practicing willpower, patience, and accountability. Together, we’ll focus on small, actionable routines and milestones that encourage you to notice and embrace small victories.
Don’t get hung up on the scale. When it comes to managing your weight, focus on the small decisions you can make on a daily basis: pick the apple over chips, take the stairs, and embrace that endorphin rush post-workout. Maintaining your confidence is key to staying motivated.
A bad day is good data. Whether it was a stressful day or a missed opportunity, we’ll work together to determine the trigger and address it in a proactive, intentional way. In the words of Vince Lombardi, only perfect practice makes perfect. You’ve got to model the behavior and lifestyle before you can claim it for yourself.
We're delighted you've dropped by. This new feature at HSI will showcase our best thinking on topics ranging from healthy lifestyle, diet, and exercise to data analytics and the financial implications of a healthy workforce.
So, please come back again!
For immediate release
Cedar Rapids, IA, July 11, 2017 -- Health Solutions, LLC is pleased to welcome CarePro Worksite Wellness team members into its firm. The agreement to acquire and integrate CarePro Worksite Wellness is now complete. Health Solutions, LLC is committed to delivering the same great services that CarePro Worksite Wellness customers have received over the years. Additionally, they wil now receive new and exciting services that Health Solutions, LLC implements. In addition to "best in class" wellness services, all CarePro Worksite Wellness customers will benefit from expanded wellness technolgies, predictive intelligence data analytics, and a full-service wellness firm committed to improving participants' health risks and reducing costs for employers. At Health Solutions, innovative health risk management strategies are our passion and our priority.
Jennifer Musick PharmD, Founder and President of Health Solutions, LLC stated, "We are excited and proud to be able to welcome the CarePro Worksite Wellness clients and team members to Health Solutions. This integration will allow Health Solutions to grow our footprint within our community, offer enhanced services to the CarePro clients, provide the opportunity to the CarePro team members to do what they are passionate about with expanded resources and support and allow CarePro to expand their clinical services. It is a win-win for both organizations!"
Michelle Jensen, President and CEO of CarePro Health Services stated, “CarePro is grateful to have had the opportunity to serve our clients with their wellness initiatives. As CarePro continues to focus on providing healthcare services to the communities we serve, the transition of our Worksite Wellness division to Health Solutions will provide our clients with continuity of service and enhanced services. CarePro will collaborate with Health Solutions by providing clinical services utilizing pharmacists and other clinical specialists.”
About Health Solutions, LLC
Health Solutions, LLC is a financially accountable corporate wellness provider. Founded in 2004 by Jennifer Musick PharmD and headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA, Health Solutions, LLC has grown to become a leader in corporate wellness for performance-driving organizations. Health Solutions provides clinically-based wellness coaching that integrates biometric data and reporting to provide financially-sound wellness initiatives to decision-makers.
Health Solutions is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and provides wellness services and health coaching nationwide. For more information, visit www.healthywithhealthsolutions.com.