Archive for the ‘fat’ Category

It’s an upward spiral that seemingly will not end any time soon.

I’m talking about the cost of health insurance and specifically the cost that you and I – Joe and Jane consumer – get to bear to have adequate health plans that take care of our families.

In this Wall Street Journal story, reporter Avery Johnson notes that the costs employees are expected to kick in to get health insurance through their employers continues to increase – at an alarming rate.

Knock on wood, I’ve generally been a healthy individual throughout my entire life. No broken bones. No chronic conditions. No major hospitalizations, save for a three-day stint of pneumonia that put me in a hospital bed in 2005. I didn’t like it. I’ve not gone back.

My two teenage kids and beautiful wife are also healthy people. So when we open-enroll for health insurance each October/November, it’s usually a fairly quick discussion and selection of the health care plan that includes a higher than average deductible and lower monthly premiums.

Pretty easy until now, that is.

Seems crossing the 45-year-old threshold has me thinking more about health costs as well as retirement planning (which needs to include saving for health care expenses needed after I end my career as a wage earner).

For the past several years I’ve worked in the health care industry. First for the world’s largest medical device manufacturer and now for the world’s largest health plan insurer. My eyes are open to the ways of health plan coverage and the costs associated with them. I’ve developed strong opinions on the use of medical technology to prolong life.

And as health care reform goes into the implementation stage during the next several years, I hope the very industry I work in gets smart at finding ways to help individuals manage their own care intelligently.

  • A focus on health and wellness early in life.
  • Assistance with the obesity epidemic in a way that makes sense (personal health coaches are already being offered through many work plans, but at a cost to everyone not just those who are affected).
  • Common sense approaches (and cost savings) for families and individuals who are above average on the health front and take the necessary measures to stay healthy.

By putting the onus on individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles, stay healthy and make smart health care decisions, Americans should be able to get the care they need when they need it at a cost that is affordable. Sounds so simple, but my gut tells me we remain a long, long, long way away from making that a reality in our country.

As with any major change, it happens in small steps. We first must get everyone pointed in the same direction before the big flywheel will start to turn (aka Jim Collins, “Good to Great).  This happens through various agents including our own federal government launching new laws and programs. But people, we can’t rely on the government to make the change for us.

In the end, our health and well being is up to each of us. Truly. We own it. And if we expect to have access to the best health care in the world, then we better start taking care of ourselves.



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The Donuts Have Left The State

donut shopThere’s 1,000 calories I no longer have to burn out of my system any more. Seems Krispy Kreme donuts pulled out of Minnesota. First, the store in the famed Mall of America was shuttered. Next came the Eden Prairie location. Those both closed in 2007.

Then, suddenly, the first location to ever open in Minnesota was boarded up…signs removed, fixtures no doubt unbolted and loaded up on trucks with a south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line forwarding address.

To be honest, I’ve not eaten a Krispy Kreme donut for years. Even though I lived just a couple miles from the famed Maple Grove location. The same location that, when first opened, drew crowds in the thousands every day. Local police had to manage traffic. Shuttle buses carted people to the KK parking lot from distant shopping center parking lots. It was…hilarious.

I mean seriously, is it worth standing in line for hours to wolf down fat pills the size of your fist? Proudly, I never waited in line for the specialty donut.

I’m sure the executive management team at Krispy Kreme is carefully evaluating its strategy for growth. As it was, at least for the Minnesota locations, this proved to be one fad that wore out its welcome almost as fast as the dough could rise.


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There’s some irony in the following story, so bear with me while I find it…

Today I had my two-year physical.  I’m 42-years-old and my doctor recommends a check-up at least every two years. He hinted at doing this annually. Sigh. I’m aging.

So in preparation for my 8 a.m. appointment, I had to fast for 12 hours. Only water and/or coffee.  Not a problem. I arrive and the first thing I’m prodded to do is remove my shoes and step on the scale. I don’t own a scale at home, but I know that even given my frequency with cycling and running (and completion of a sprint triathlon earlier this summer) I’d gained weight. Especially in my core area (that’s from the hips up to the chest for those not into such jargon).   I’m 6’2″ in height and this morning after 12 hours of fasting, I weighed 199 pounds. UGH!

In the exam room I waited for Dr. Smith (his real name) to do all the things he needed to do to physically examine me. He quickly asked if I was OK, noting that I’d gained 17 friggin pounds since my last exam two years ago. YIKES! Well, I am OK, but 182 certainly felt better on my frame than 199.

So my work lies in front of me. Improved diet. Hit the weights (again) to fire up my metabolism. And continue with the biking and running only increase the intensity level. But not before I stopped at a Starbucks for one last low-fat vanilla latte (200 calories) and a cinnamon chip scone (470 calories). Eat breakfast like a king, I always say.

What sucks is waiting for a physician to tell me I’ve gotten soft in the gut and should probably take action.

And the irony? I had to fast for 12 hours to get to 199.

Now hand me that dumbbell!


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