Omada Week 4
Sunday, July 01, 2018
Today is week 4 of my Omada health program.
I had some reservations and was skeptical about the program when I signed up for it. I joined because it was free to me (paid for by my employer), so I figured, why not?
I've actually found it to be a gentle, non-intrusive, low pressure way to keep motivated and on track with my busy schedule.
Most of the program is very rudimentary for me. I already eat lots of produce, and I cut my refined carbs out of my diet years ago. For most members of my team, they are starting from the beginning though.
I'm still amazed that the nutritional advice for people with high risk of diabetes has evolved so much. As a child of the 80s where low-fat and skim milk was the nutritional gold standard of the decade, I still struggle a bit with minor worry when I add foods once considered an imminent heart attack on a plate. The diabetes prevention plan no longer emphasizes a high grain diet, nor drinking skim milk. My recipe guide this week recommended spiralized zucchini spaghetti in place of pasta.
There isn't a food plan per se with Omada, but they provide weekly guides on recommended foods. It's pretty sensible. Fill half the plate with produce, 1/4 with unprocessed protein, and 1/2 cup of intact grains for carbs. It's a refreshing difference in diet program where I don't feel pressured to eat a high-grain diet with a portion every meal. There's a couple of people on my team with celiac disease, and are struggling because they don't know how to eat.
While there are a few people in my group who do not eat regular produce, most of us are in the category of busy people with kids or demanding jobs. We know what we should eat, but schedules often lead to less than optimal choices.
I was also a bit concerned about the "health coach" part of the program. There is a registered dietician who acts as a coach to facilitate discussions. She can view our logs with daily weigh-ins, and food and exercise tracking. I was concerned if she would be a dietary police or nag. She is actually very non intrusive. She sent me a private message saying she was impressed with my produce choices, and asked me if I had any particular food goals. I said it was mostly staying on the straight and narrow when I don't have my lunches prepared, and have to eat in the cafeteria. I said that the cafeteria had one of my favorite foods, tacos, but I opted for the salad after some internal debate. She gave me an awesome recipe for chicken tacos and recommended I eat them on lettuce wraps. Great idea! I've come to enjoy her gentle encouragement that still allows me freedom, without feeling like losing weight is my second job.
Just like any other program, it's the social support that makes or breaks it. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and others are successful because of the social interaction and accountability. Spark and MyFitnessPal community boards also fills that role. I feel that Omada is in that same category.
To be honest, I haven't lost much weight since being on the program, but I have found it motivating none the less. I track my weight and food, which is pretty normal for me. My team coach sends me a message asking how things are going once a week. The team boards are a reminder that we're in this together. My team tracker shows that we have lost a whopping 140 pounds cumulatively over the past 4 weeks, so it is working for most people of the team.
I'm not sure I would pay for it if my employer wasn't footing the bill, but I do see value in it. Some of the people on my team are sponsored by an employer or health insurance, but some are also paying out of pocket. I do like the low pressure feel of the Omada program. While I am tracking my weight (which is recorded automatically by my scale) and food, it doesn't feel like a chore or a job, which sometimes I have felt in my past.
Many big insurance companies are now paying for participation in Omada. It might be worth checking if your insurance has an incentive program for you to join. The health insurance industry is starting to see the benefit of prevention in cost savings versus medical costs.