Healthcare and Health Insurance: Being an educated consumer.

healthcosts

It was announced last night that Congress took its first steps to repeal many important parts of the Affordable Care Act. With that in mind, and many Americans heath care insurance and price caps at risk, I wanted to write a short piece on how to be an educated consumer and actions you can take to protect yourself against health insurance fraud and cut costs.

This will be an ongoing topic that will include interviews with health care providers, insurance companies and government officials to help keep you informed of how you can safeguard yourself from astronomical health care costs. With the repeal of the ACA upon us and massive deregulation coming our way, the government will not be helping us in this area, or let’s be honest, many areas, so we need to be educated consumers.

  1. Check pricing of how much a doctors visit or procedure should cost at Healthcare Bluebook.
  2. Price different healthcare providers on different procedures and doctors visits.
  3. Call your insurance company and ask how much they will cover for a certain service and what providers are in network and out of network. If a provider is out of network what does this mean for you?                                                                                                             I received a bill for bloodwork in the amount of $300. I called my insurance company to ask why and they told me the provider was “out of network”. They then told me they would negotiate a better price with the provider, it went down to $35!!! WTF! How the cost went from $300 to $35 I have no idea, but I tell you this to stress the importance of questioning every bill you recieve because you may get a lower rate. All of these companies are trying to get as much money out of you us as possible so don’t be afriad to negotiate.
  4. Challenge bills when they seem to high. Before the ACA, actually about 15 years ago          in 2001, I received a bill from Tufts for a hospital visit  that was over $10,000. I had fainted on the train ride to work, an ambulance was called and I was rushed to the ER. Thank goodness I had insurance because this all happened while I was passed out and in a haze. There was nothing wrong with me other than I hadn’t eaten much that morning. If I were in a better state I would have told the paramedics to go home although I probably would have still gotten some kind of bill! The insurance company attempted to charge me for the entire amount of this transaction, from ambulance to hospital visit. I called them several times to inquire about why this bill was so high and upon their “investigation” into the subject received notification that this was a “billing mistake” and the insurance company then paid the entire amount.

Often times insurance companies send you fraudulent bills hoping you will pay them without question. So make sure you are doing your homework when it comes to medical billing and insurance. Because as much as you hate to think so, THEY ARE trying to screw you over.

Last but not least, take  better care of yourself. One thing we can all do is take action to prevent going to the doctor, massive health care treatments and costs by eating right, exercising and avoiding the sun and toxins from commonly used products. Keep following for more advice on how to stay healthy and fit.

So you have any tips you can share with us?

xo,

Hilary

 

Pregnancy is a lesson in letting go.

pregnant-stress-stockI just came to the end of my third pregnancy and it was a long ride! I was tired, irritable, sick, frustrated and elated all at the same time. At the beginning of the nine month journey I felt great, working out almost everyday, cardio, barre, yoga you name it. Making myself healthy smoothies in the morning and overall eating well. I thought “this is gonna be my best pregnancy yet!” Then BAM! About 2 months in, I was sick, tired and had no motivation what so ever. I wasn’t exercising and I was eating whatever I could stomach, mostly crackers and lots of high carb meals like pasta, as they seemed easier on my stomach than anything else. Things got a little better month 4 and 5, then I pretty much went back to being extremely tired, irritable and overall not feeling good.

My point in telling you this is not to get sympathy, as I know many women have much harder pregnancies than I’ve had.  I simply want to express how when it comes to being pregnant, and honestly in most areas of life, we have very little control. Our bodies are in charge. I would love to be the woman running 3-5 miles a day up to when I give birth but that’s just not in the cards for me. I realize part of getting yourself to do things like exercise and eat right has to do with motivation, no matter how you feel, but much of the time how you feel takes away that motivation. Especially when your energy levels are very low. It becomes very depressing actually. You just want to feel “normal” again.

At some point you just need to let go and ride it out. Realize that the way you feel won’t last forever and take advantage of others willingness to help you. Part of what made me sad during my pregnancy was my inability to do all the things I was doing before, not just for myself but for my family and friends. I’m terrible at asking for help, I feel guilty that someone else is doing what I think I should be and have to learn to let go of that. People want to help, as long as you’re not taking advantage of it of course.

Now that I’m three weeks post-partum I feel like a new person. It sounds strange but even though I have a new- born at home I’m getting better sleep then I was the last few months of being pregnant! I’ve started walking again and ready to get back to working out as soon as my body is ready. Now that I’m feeling better my instinct is to workout like I was before my pregnancy. But, my best advice is no matter how good you feel post baby, wait until your doctor gives you the go ahead to do high impact exercises again before you attempt anything to strenuous or you’ll just slow down the recovery process. For example, I took a longer walk last week than I should have and it set me back a few days in my recovery.

I’m back to walking only a few miles every other day at this point. Next week I’ll do a little more and soon enough I’ll be back to exercising the way I want to.

Stay tuned for more on how I get back in shape after baby and tell me how you do it. What do you do to look and more importantly, feel good while juggling mommyhood?

 

 

 

Pregnancy and exercise.

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Getting in some last minute exercise before this baby arrives. Check back tomorrow for some tips on exercises you can do while your pregnant, even when you get as big as I am right now!

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Show off your baby bump! I’d love to see your beautiful bumps so please post them in the comments section of this post. Congrats and goodluck to all you expectant moms!! ❤️

Easy, healthy quiche recipe…

Quiche is so easy to make and a delicious way to eat vegetables. Here’s a recipe I made recently that me and my family truly loved…

quiche

They key to making quiche simple is to buy your crust. The best store bought pie crust that contains no trans fat is from Pillsbury.

pie crust

Ingredients:

– 5 eggs

– 1/3 cup low fat Miracle Whip.

– 1/3 cup low fat milk

– 1 plum tomato chopped

– 1 cup Feta Cheese

– 1 bag baby spinach

– 1 portabella mushrooms

– 1/2 yellow onion chopped

Directions:

Pre heat oven at 375 degrees. Sautee vegetable in a large skillet over medium heat. Spray 9 inch pan with Pam olive oil, then line with pie crust.

Pam Olive Oil

Beat eggs, miracle whip, and milk together and pour in pie crust. When vegetable are soft, place in the eggs and sprinkle the feta cheese on top. Place in oven and cook for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Please share your recipe with us! Send to: Hilary@ugobabyfitness.com.

Xx,

Hilary Ann Lambert

8 easy ways to cut calories…

cutting calories

Wanna be happier with what you see on the scale and more importantly in the mirror? Here are some easy ways to cut calories out of your daily diet that you may not even notice.

1) Cut out the cream and cut down the sugar in your coffee. The amount of sugar and cream you put in your coffee can make a big difference in your calorie in take for the day. Try using reduced fat milk or skim and less sugar. I don’t recommend using sucralose (Splenda) or sugar substitutes as they have found health risks attached to both and I find that they make me more tired and irritable.

coffee

2) Eat more protein earlier in the day. Have an egg, yogurt or peanut butter (Sunbutter if you’re allergic to peanuts) on whole wheat toast at breakfast. Studies show that eating more protein early in the day keeps you more full and energized throughout the day.

3) Stop drinking your calories but don’t switch to diet. There are over 100 calories in your average can of cola and many of us don’t just drink the can anymore with the 20 oz. bottle option that’s supposedly 2 servings. These are empty calories giving you little energy and certainly not giving you the nutrients you need to get through your day. Drink more water. Hydrating has so many benefits including giving you a feeling of being more full so you eat less.

On the diet tip, diet sodas contain sugar substitutes that both drain your energy and have been shown to lead to obesity and heart disease, among other things.

4) Whole wheat pita for lunch. Using whole wheat pita bread for your sandwich instead of regular bread will save you 70 calories.

5)  Use whipped butter instead of stick butter. It contains fewer calories since there is air added to it in the whipping process. Just stick to the same amount you would normally use!

6) Pat away grease from your slice. You’re pretty much alone if you don’t love pizza and it’s incredibly hard to avoid. So when in Rome, no pun intended, pat your pizza with a napkin to rid it of excess grease. This can cut up to 100 calories!

7) Afternoon break. Lot’s of us enjoy a coffee break in the afternoon and end up getting calorie ridden lattes instead of plain old coffee. Try and cut back on those afternoon calories by going for the skinny latte when you can. This will save you about 70 calories.

8) Bag it. Portion out your snacks for the day in zip lock bags so you know exactly how much you are eating. And try to make those snacks fruits and vegetables!

Do you have anything to add?

Thanks for stopping by!! Hope you all are doing well on your 8 to Great challenge this week!!

Xx,

Hilary Ann Lambert

Week 2 of the 8 to Great Slim Down Challenge!

How did week 1 go for you ladies? As a review, I asked you to count calories, find opportunities to squeeze exercise into your day and performing a tabata circuit that I provided to you 3 times a day for at least 2 days this week (admittedly this was a tough one to accomplish as getting through it once was difficult for me).

Last weeks challenge was about self-awareness. Counting calories shows you how much you are actually consuming per day and hopefully will help you find places that you can cut back. Finding new ways to squeeze exercise in your day is a great way to get into the habit of thinking of opportunities for you to get fit. And the tabata challenge was to show you that you can get an intense workout in a short period of time, and once you get started it’s easier to keep going. You just have to start!

Week 2:

1) Eat breakfast. Many people skip breakfast, including myself when I’m in a rush! Before I had children I skipped breakfast regularly. Now I realize how important it is to keeping me energized, less anxious and content throughout my day. The weight loss benefits of eating breakfast are that it kick starts your metabolism and will diminish overall hunger throughout the day.

Of course I want you to choose a healthy breakfast. An example, whole wheat toast, organic preserves, eggs whites, fruit, yogurt and granola.

2) Meditate for at least 2 minutes per day. This will provide you more clarity, awareness, good sense and the ability to take pause when necessary (like when you’re reaching for that cupcake). If you are thinking to yourself that you cannot find the time or place to meditate that is absolutely not true. That’s why I posted a picture of a woman in a board room meditating, obviouly I don’t expect you to so this but the point is that you can find the time and place to clear your head for two minutes. No excuses!

If you need pointers check out my post on how to meditate here.

3) Workout. This weeks routine is going to be another Tabata circuit. In fact all of them are and it should get easier for you each week as your strength builds and you see the pounds come off. I want you to perform this circuit at least 3 times this week, that’s the only way you will begin to see results.

This weeks routine has a focus on your thighs, booty and arms. However, all of my routines will be full body workouts.

To review, I want you to perform each move in this circuit for 20 seconds on 10 seconds off for a set of 4. A total of 2 full minutes for each move.  The entire circuit will take 10 minutes. After 10 minutes rest for 2 minutes then repeat the circuit if you can. Try to repeat it up 3 times. Remember that this is a great calorie burning session so push yourself!

1) Skaters. Modifications: Jump side to side for more intensity, if you would like less intensity step it.

2) Push ups. Modifications: For less intensity out your knees on the ground, for more intensity knees off the ground and try and lift one leg up for 10 seconds and then switch for 10.

After these 2 moves rest for one full minute and move on…

3) Jumping lunges. Modifications: Remove the jump and simply step and lunge.

jump lunge

4) Side to side planks.  Modification: Bring the plank to your knees and simply hold it for 20 seconds on one side, switch sides for the next 20 second interval.

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That it! Good luck everybody! And let me know if you have any questions about diet or exercise at Hilary@ugobabyfitness.com.
 
Xx,
Hilary Ann Lambert

Diet and Nutrition at U GO Baby Fitness…

I’m happy to announce that I will be partnering with nutrition specialist, Lisa Caldwell, to help give you the best nutrition advice possible during our 8 to Great challenge. She’s here to help answer any questions you have about how you can eat healthier. So please send along any questions you have to Hilary@ugobabyfitness.com or you can of course reach me on Insta, twitter and FB @ugobabyfitness.

Here’s more about Lisa…

Lisa Caldwell has been in love with food, cooking and nutrition since she can remember.

Her desire to perform at an optimum level in all of her athletic endeavors started when she was young, leading her to study food and nutrition on her own. She obtained a B. S. in Human Foods and Nutrition from the University of Maine, Orono, ME.  She explored the culinary world and rose to the rank of Executive Pastry Chef at Resorts and Hotels. Due to these experiences and years spent traveling for the sake of food, she now works as a Healthy Eating Specialist for Whole Foods Market and within the Greater Boston Area.

Her primary objective is Nutrition Education and has partnered with the likes of Massachusetts Hospital Association, Tufts University School of Public Health, Google, Central Rock Gym’s “The Heist” and the Boston Rock Gym “Social Outcast” events. Opportunities such as these have increased the awareness of how food contributes to our athletic performance as well as our overall health.

Lisa can be found training at the Metro Rock Gym, Everett and cooking at Whole Foods Market on River St, Cambridge, MA .