Medibank collecting individual health data

Does anyone else find this sinister? medibank Yesterday I received an email from my private Health Insurer, Medibank.

Medibank customers are now rewarded with ten Flybuys points for every day that they ‘achieve’ 10,000 or more steps on a linked Fitbit device.

Fitbit device is an electronic bracelet that monitors an individual’s sleep, exercise, food and weight. The software enables an individual to self monitor and discipline their body. For example, one can set up a vibration reminder for activities such as bedtime, when to drink a glass of water and when to stand up and move around because you have been inactive for too long.

For anyone that knows me well you will be aware that I am a huge fan of receiving Flybuys rewards (and can see in my weekly personalised specials emails from Coles how this clever marketing tool is surveying and tracking my spending) and immediately forwarded this email to my flatmate who uses a fitness bracelet. Upon further consideration I found the sharing of this very personal information with a large Health Insurer problematic.

Why do I find this particular Medibank promotion sinister? The individual does not receive the Flybuys points unless they agree to their health insurer, Medibank, to having access to all of their person information collected by the Fitbit device. Medibank may initially reward the individual for their behaviour but in the future who knows how this information will be used?

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Linking an individual Fitbit device to Medibank and giving this institution permission for access to days, weeks, months and years of personal health information. Medibank can subtly track your weight, your sleep, what you eat and so on. In essence Medibank could use this information to justify an increase your health insurance premiums. This clever and subtle data collection campaign highlights the careful and cunning aspects of discipline and self surveillance Medibank also hopes it’s customers will bring into their everyday life through the Fitbit device, making for docile customers that are less likely to suffer lifestyle induced health problems and thus increasing Medibank’s profits (Foucault 1991).

Will you allow your Health Insurer to access your day to day health data for the equivalent of 3650 Fly Buys, or in essence a $20 Coles music download?

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Foucault, M. (1991). Part 3: Discipline. Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison (pp. 135-228). London: Penguin Books.

How to run a half marathon in 9 weeks

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As some of you will be aware I have a list of 30 goals that a wrote a few years ago highlighting different things I wanted to do before I turned 30. Running a half marathon was one of these goals especially because my Mum, Dad and brother had all achieved this milestone (my Father’s fastest time was 1 hour 31 minutes and my brother’s fastest time 1 hour 20 minutes the speedsters!).

Last Sunday the 23rd of March 2014 I achieved this goal running the Brisbane Twilight Half Marathon in 2 hours 3 minutes and 8 seconds.

It was my friend Clare (the girl on the far left in the pink top) from Ashy Bines that encouraged me to go ahead with this goal. Clare had signed up and started her training. It was Clare’s confidence that inspired me to sign up to the same event and start training a mere nine weeks before the start date.

I already train 5-6 times a week with Ashy Bines as well as cycling to work and half marathon training meant adding a long run one day a week as well. I enjoy running normally but before this event 13km had been the longest distance I had run and the mere thought of running 21km was both frightening and exciting. Below details my initial training plan where I added in one long training run a week increasing my distance every week.

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My actual training was not that different from initially planned:

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I did a number of things wrong with my half marathon training and I still achieved my goal.

Some of my training mistakes included not eating enough calories in the first part of my training. I started seeing my nutritionist Phoebe Mawyer at Health Defined who designed me a nutrition plan that aligned with the sheer amount of training I was doing. The extra food and suggestions for training nutrition gave me the edge and allowed me to get the energy I needed.

This also included minimal stretching and foam rolling until the bitter end. My Achilles were in agony my last three weeks and with some solid foam rolling in my last week many of the knots went away. I found yoga amazing during this hard training period and it allowed me to stretch out my muscles.

I also didn’t realise that you are not supposed to do long runs two weeks from your event. I did an 18km and a 19km in the two Saturdays leading up to my event and I was extremely sore and tired. I think with better planning my time would have been faster and my body prepared for such a hard event.

I believe the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) I do regularly at training would have helped but I planned no HIIT training of my own.

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So… how do you run a half marathon in 9 weeks?

1. PLAN. Plan your workouts and training in your diary and log your progress. Plan ahead with events you have on. I had a wedding and holiday in the middle of training as well as birthdays and Australia Day celebrations and still trained.

2. TELL. Sign up to the event and tell everyone what you are doing. The more people the better. What kept me training was colleagues, friends and family asking me about how my weekly training was going and how I was progressing.

3. TRAIN. Train and train hard. Slowly but surely your kms will increase and you will achieve your ultimate goal.

4. HAVE FUN. I love training and plan fun workout clothes, amazing podcasts, runs with friends and tasty breakfasts after training and all of these keep me going.

Take it easy team

Lots of love,

Ms Spikybombshell XX

How to be happy with gratitude

I listened to the most brilliant podcast on the Bulletproof Executive. Show host Dave Asprey interviewed UJ Ramjas, a psychologist and hypnotist, about gratitude. In part of the interview Ramjas discussed how people that get into the habit of going through the following process daily achieved their goals and felt happier about their lives.

Studies linking gratitude and happiness pop up all over the web discussing various correlations. I think for me what is the most powerful aspect of the act of gratitude is that it sits here and now in the moment. There are few moments where people truly recognise the beauty and gift of today. My Grandad has said to me, you do not realise how great your life is until something goes wrong and I think this is where gratitude comes in.

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The process discussed by Ramjas in the interview is as follows:

In the morning write down or share with your partner

  1. Three things you are grateful for today
  2. One thing you are looking forward to today
  3. What sort of person you would like to be today

In the evening before bed write down or share with your partner

  1. Your three wins of the day
  2. One thing you would change or improve in your actions for the day

I challenge you to perform this exercise today.

Love Ms Spikybombshell xx

2013 in summary

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2013 was a year of ups and downs for me but I feel like I came up on top.

I spent the 2012-13 New Year with my friends Sonja and Jess at Hogmanay in Scotland before travelling to Glasgow with my Mum, over to Paris by myself and back over to London. January was a pretty hard month, I came to terms with my Mum’s cancer diagnosis, said goodbye to my best friend and flew out of London back to Brisbane.

I settled back down in Brisbane, getting back in touch and moving in with Sophie in Norman Park. I had a number of temporary jobs leading up to when I started at QUT in May and it was a dark and difficult time for me. I was very thankful to friends and family at this time sticking by me and continuing to provide love and support.

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In 2013 I enjoyed some neat visitors including Kris Turk who crashed for about 8 weeks before returning to London (still miss you bro), my Mum for Easter, bestie Rachael Hedges before she left for Canada, Chris Meggs during his Aussie tour, Danny and Murray during their Aussie tour, Mum and Dad for my bday, Jonny Bravo from NZ, Rach Monro from NZ, Hollie Doar for our blogcademy course and Amanda and Dimi for Xmas.

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My Dad had a heart attack on his bike in October and was helicoptered to Wellington. He’s alive and well now (the above photograph is after his operation before he was put into the air ambulance from Wellington hospital back to Palmy) . For me this was a definite sign that I had made the right decision moving back to Australia and felt so lucky to be able to travel home to be with him, my Mum and my brother.

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I had an early Xmas with my family over New Zealand Labour Weekend and enjoyed myself immensely.

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I lost about 10kgs starting properly with my health and fitness in June through the gym and Ashy Bines eventually winning my Ashy Bines Challenge in December.

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Finally, I headed over to New Zealand for a relaxing Christmas in New Zealand with Lesley and Graham before spending time with my best friend Claire and her family.

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Blessed!

Five ways to get your Christmas Spirit on

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1. Make Christmas Cookies for your work colleagues

Kim’s gluten free Christmas cookies recipe

a. Preheat oven to 180 Bake
b. Beat 250g butter with 1/2 c caster sugar
c. Add 2 eggs and beat well
d. Add 4 cups of gluten free flour and mix with hand
e. Roll out on coconut flour and put into your favourite Xmas shapes
f. Bake for about 8 minutes per tray (I made 7 trays of cookies)
g. Ice when cool

2. Paint your nails with an Xmas theme

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3. Give out Xmas cards, they give people so much joy!

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I made mine and wrote a nice message about my favourite moments with those specific people from that year. They had a great reception! The above picture is a card I sent to my friend Gary from G-Rex Fitness. The below cards are from Sonja over at No Such Place As Faraway and Rachael at Rachael’s Crazy World.

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4. Put up your Xmas tree with your favourite people

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5. Dress in a reindeer jumper, eat, drink and be merry with your family and friends.

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Merry Christmas to all!

Love Kim Spikybombshell XXX