Breaking the Habit

Many of us find working out to be a chore. After all, our days are so full as it is – the thought of spending time in the gym is simply daunting. First, we drag ourselves out of bed in the morning, get ourselves and our kids ready for the day*, gulp down yesterday’s coffee, skip breakfast, drive an hour to work, work for 8-10 hours, drive an hour home, take the kids to their activities, cook dinner, clean the house, mow the lawn and now it’s 9pm. Where in our day would we fit a trip to the gym?

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As a serial entrepreneur and the founder of a startup tech company, I know all too well the value of our limited time and can sympathize with those of you who work long hours and have days filled with more than you can handle. So what do we cutout in our lives in order to find time to get to the gym? We’re constantly asked to exercise more and eat right, but let’s face it – that just isn’t in the cards for many of us.

There are other things in our life that can suffer with our crazy schedules. Sometimes, we start to procrastinate a little more than we should for items that are a little more trivial in our lives that don’t require our immediate attention. We might push off our chores; “I’ll dust tomorrow,” “I’ll do my taxes later,” “The mess is at least out-of-sight and now it’s out-of-mind,” “Getting the car inspected is optional, right?” It’s these questions that we find ourselves asking more frequently and they begin to add up. More importantly, our garbage starts to pile up, the dust turns into seasonal allergies and our spouses are more irritated than usual.

Similarly, we tell ourselves; “I’ll work out tomorrow,” “One donut a day won’t hurt,” “Are vitamins really all that necessary?” “Maybe I’ll just get a physical once every few years.” Before you know it, our “health” comes in last on that that long list of to-dos. Our backs start to hurt more, we feel more tired and lethargic during the day, and we start to develop poor habits, which overt-time, translate into real health concerns.

Recently, I blogged about the importance of working out, eating right and getting an annual physical. It is so easy for us (myself included here) to push off seeing the doctor, because it’s not convenient. It’s easy to think that we’ll work out another day this week and eat right tomorrow, because we don’t have to deal with it in the immediate. My question is this- if we start to break the habit of procrastination with other aspects of our lives, could we be more encouraged to be healthier? Could it be easier to work out if we are already moving around? I asked myself this and began to incrementally improve aspects of my home life- taking the garbage all the way down to the dumpsters, filing my taxes, organizing my bills and receipts, keeping my place clean and walking the dog more regularly. What I found is that moving from my desk to take the dog on a walk led to me bringing the trash with me downstairs. Once I was outside, I was encouraged to walk a few extra blocks and get a little more exercise and fresh air. When I returned home, I was more awake and energized. I cleaned-up the kitchen one day, the bathrooms another day, the living room another day and so on. . Before I knew it, these incremental changes helped to shape my home life for the better and subsequently were improving my health. I found that I got a little more exercise each day and I actually reduced my appetite. By keeping myself consistently busy, I didn’t have the time (or the will) to snack throughout the day.

All of this led me to ask one final question – if I can improve my health outcomes through incremental changes in my life and without major overhauls to my lifestyle, am I able to prove this through using MedClimate tools? Here’s the challenge to me – over the next few weeks, I will begin to update each of you on my personal health. I will weigh-in daily and show you my actual weight, BMI and body fat mass. I will only use MedClimate tools and technology to improve my health overtime. I will seek assistance from physicians through Hello Well video conferencing technology and will track my progress through our alpha-version Patient Portal. For any in-person visits to physicians, trainers or nutritionists I make, I will report these and only use our partner Living Social deals for these visits. I will calculate the cost to me throughout the next year and be completely transparent on all of these.

My goal is the vet our own product-line by using myself as a beta-tester. I pledge to be completely open and transparent about all health outcomes, measured data, changes in lifestyle and costs associated with seeking care. I will do my best to update our users weekly through blog posts and will update my weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the sidebar to the right of this post. These levels will be tracked through our integrated products manufactured by our partners, Withings, iBigStar and others. These products are commercially available and are fully-integrated into our patient portal.

Please post comments with any questions that you have, things you would like to see and encouragements you might have while I bring myself back to health. As always, we appreciate all of your continued support and we hope to offer the best products to you as we move forward.

Sign up today to be a beta tester with me! Registration is free and will go live on April 15 with our first offering- Hello Well.

~Tim Barnes, Founder & CEO

*Note that I included the children’s activities here. I admittedly don’t have kids yet (only a dog that thinks he’s a kid), but I include this for the many of you who do have kids.