Chronic Style

A blog about living stylishly with a few chronic illnesses.


It ironically took a colonoscopy for me to find some time to stop what I was doing and write — so hello from the Saturday after my Friday colonoscopy. I am 5 pounds lighter and a bit slow today, but feeling a-okay about the world since I am not drinking a 32oz Big Gulp of MoviPrep (bleh!) or wearing hospital socks. I’ve actually found the time to pay bills, write a few thank you’s and watch several episodes of The Good Wife while my husband takes good care of me and our sweet, crazy toddler.

With all of that in mind, I thought I’d share an awesome collection of TED videos about the importance of slowing down, something I do not often do. One of my favorites — if you cannot slow down long enough to watch many of them — is by Paolo Cardini who makes a strong case for “monotasking.” It’s fantastic.

Bon week-end!

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I’ll admit it, I’m as caught up in March Madness as most of the US is right now. Yet every time I watch that Kevin Ware injury* I can’t help but wonder how a lot of these men and women will be feeling when they’re an old lady like me (in their early thirties).

I chose the path of college sports as much as it chose me, yet as a four-year, Division I, NCAA college athlete myself, I sometimes still can’t pick things up or even change the radio dial with my right arm due to rotator cuff pain. Now I don’t expect anything in return from my alma mater — I’d do it all over again even knowing what I know now — but I’m able to find care for myself while a lot of ex-athletes cannot.

The New York Times‘ Bill Pennington wrote a really great piece on the vulnerability of college athletes even when they’re injured mid-sport. It seems like even Congress is aware of what a problem this is — maybe it will be the one thing they agree about in 2013.

*Warning: If you aren’t aware of what I’m speaking of, you may not want to watch — it is by far the most gruesome leg break I’ve ever seen.

(Image under Creative Commons license by McMorgan.)

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I’m all about making my life simpler through technology — and being fortunate enough to live and work in the place where a lot of that technology is born, I have quite a bit of insight into what the latest tools are for making this possible.

With that in mind, I’ve been testing out a few websites and applications (along with my husband) over the past 6 months and wanted to share my current top five (in no particular order):

Cake Health
An amazing site that helps you manage the endlessly confusing world of healthcare billing like never before. They’ll send you notifications of insurance claims, remind you of medical appointments, help you understand your costs versus your billed services, and even show you how you could be saving more money. You can also keep multiple profiles in one account, so keeping an eye on your entire family’s medical bills and appointments has never been simpler. Cake Health makes what was once the most complex part of American healthcare a piece of cake, with an organic cherry on top.

It’s like having your mother, a nutritionist and a personal chef in your pocket. What should you be shopping for? Which product is better in an “apples to apples”  (pun intended) comparison? Are you meeting your intended health goals? ShopWell can help you with all of these questions and more. They’ve also recently updated the app and it couldn’t be a more seamless and beautifully designed experience.

With the ShopWell app or website, you can keep your shopping lists in one place, scan new products at the touch of a button (in the store, in real-time), compare nutritional values, and be easily forewarned of foods that might aggravate food allergies. 

Gain Fitness
Don’t have access to a super-fancy gym? Traveling for work and just need a calisthenic workout you can do in your hotel room? Can’t afford that yoga class down the street? Gain Fitness is your answer. Even if you only have 10 minutes to get in some quick exercises, they’ll customize a workout based on your goals and location. My husband loves this tool and can’t stop using it.

The Eatery
Chances are (and many studies prove this) you’re a much healthier eater if/when you’re recording your meals and you know your crowd is paying attention to your eating habits. The Eatery* puts that theory to the test by giving you a simple “snap and rate” tool. Constantly making the right eating decisions is tough and The Eatery not only helps you with those decisions, but might just show you a pattern or insight you otherwise would not have noticed (like my darn après-lunch cookie weakness).

*Requires an iPhone.

If you’re even somewhat intrigued by the Quantified Self movement, Fitbit will be your new best friend. This tiny, clip-on device has not only become an essential part of my wardrobe, but has truly changed my behavior for the better. It even greets me by name and motivates me to get up and get going. Fitbit also links in to my Withings scale, so I can keep track of my weight and muscle mass all on one dashboard.

If you can’t afford to buy yourself one — they’re $99.95 online and available at most electronics stores — you can still use their dashboard for free to track + log your diet, exercise, weight, sleep schedule, activity and more. Fitbit’s weekly emails give you a handy snapshot of your life over the past seven days and can help you to easily see just how much progress you’ve made.

If you’ve got a health tool you can’t live without, I’d love to hear about it. Send me a note and thanks as always.

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