Weekly Wrap-Up May 9, 2016

weekly wrap-up

Mood

What a difference a week makes. As you may recall, the week before last was pure hell because of depression. The worst I’ve had in a long time. I was hoping it would be better this week, but Monday morning was much worse. It was terrible. However, when I woke up Tuesday morning, I wasn’t depressed; I wasn’t manic; I wasn’t hypomanic; I was perfectly balanced and I felt great. I was so grateful and still am. Mood wise I’m at the top of my game.

Unbelievable good news regarding my meds. I’ve been on Abilify for years until, suddenly, last year, my insurance changed my co-pay on Abilify to $500/month. When the generic came out earlier this year my copay dropped to $300/month. It ‘might as well have been $10,000 because I still couldn’t afford it. I was able to stay on Abilify only because my doctor had lots of samples to give me, and when he ran out of samples, I ordered the meds from Canada for $70.

Well, Hallelujahs! This past week I received a letter from Medicare that said I was supposed to be on an extra assistance program and my share of cost should be no more than $1.70 for generic meds. In addition to the letter, I received a healthy check for all the past dates that I was overcharged. I was skeptical, but took my Abilify prescription to my pharmacy and lo and behold it was $1.70. My copay for all six meds that I take came to a grand total of only $7.20. I can’t express how relieved I am. I did a happy dance several times.

Weight and Fitness

On Saturday, April 30 I weighed 264.2 lbs.
On Saturday, May 7 I weighed 265.6
Total gain for the week: exactly 1.4 lbs.

As I’ve said before, my goal is to lose 6 lbs. per month. This was a bit of a letdown, but I’m still optimistic.

I’ve been going to Weight Watchers for a good number of years and I love their program, however my blogging friend Dyane, whose excellent blog is Birth of a New Brain, invited me to join her on the free “Lose It” program. We invite anyone to join us. After you join, just search for Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group and join that.

Here’s my comparison between Weight Watchers and “Lose It”. I will be basing this off of the Weight Watchers plan that includes using their online program. They do offer plans that are less expensive, but do not include access to the online database. Calculations must be done by hand.

Cost:
“Lose It” is free.
Weight Watchers program, is $44.45 each month, though specials are usually being offered.

Food Database:
Both have excellent databases for restaurants and common foods so you can track how much you eat each day.

Activity
If you have a Fit Bit or other exercise tracker, “Lose It” will add extra calories that you can use to eat each day,

Weight Watchers also tracks your fitness goals, however they no longer encourage you to use those exercise bonus calories to eat more. The reason is, while there are significant benefits to exercise, latest studies show it does not have as significant a role in weight loss as previously thought.

Support:
You and your “Lose It” friends can see how you’re doing and send supportive messages.
Weight Watchers has outstanding weekly meetings where you can exchange recipe’s, recommend things to eat, celebrate milestones and, most importantly, be there to support each other.

Nutrition
With “Lose It” You have a daily calorie goal based on your height, and weight and age. You are expected to log all calories consumed, including fruits and vegetables.

Weight Watchers also uses height, weight and age to determine food intake, but measures more. They’ve developed an algorithm based on consumption of calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein. The algorithm uses a point system to measure your food intake. For example, if you are allotted 35 points of food each day, and eat a slice of cheese that is three points, that leaves you 32 more points to eat that day. By counting calories alone, you could use up all your calories to eat cookies (yes, an extreme example,) Using the Weight Watchers points system, you measure a healthier food intake.

Another benefit of Weight Watchers is that almost all fruits and vegetables are points free. You can eat all of them you want each day and not track them.

Synopsis
While I like “Lose It,” especially because it’s free, I believe Weight Watchers is the preferred choice for a couple of reasons. The first is that I prefer the Weight Watchers point system, which I believe tracks healthier food intake, rather than just counting calories.

Secondly, and most important, is the Weight Watchers meeting. With “Lose It,” you can send a message of congratulations to someone who loses weight, but that pales in comparison to being in a room, with others on their weight loss journey, who applaud you and cheer you on for your successes. It’s important to note that you don’t have to share your weight or your weight loss with the group if you don’t want.

For now, I will continue using both Weight Watchers and “Lose It” even though it means doubling up the work I have to load into the computer. I like Weight Watcher’s system better and enjoy the friends I met there, but I’m also thrilled to be in “Lose It” because of the encouragement from my fellow bloggers who know how it’s especially difficult to lose weight when taking bipolar and anti-depressant medications.

Writing

Good and bad this week. Despite that I’ve been writing the novel for some time, I haven’t fully understood what clues I would use to track the killer (It’s a mystery novel.) Last week I had an epiphany and now I know.

The negative is that I had writer’s block. I didn’t know what direction to take the last half of the novel, so, I wrote an outline, which proved to be time well spent. However, it’s important to write daily, even if you’re doing outside activities, such as research, creating an outline, etc. I did very little actual writing.

Another positive is I learned some great writing tips. My novel takes place in the Los Angeles area and is primarily focused on gay characters. While searching the web, I stumbled across an excellent ten-part series on how to write mystery novels specifically centered for gay individuals (though I’d be thrilled if anyone enjoys my book regardless of their sexual orientation.) The writer of the series is Josh Lanyon, a successful author who is able to live off the income he makes by writing full time. Despite what you see in the movies, most writers don’t make much money, but do it anyway because of their love of writing. It’s not a career choice if you hope to get rich. Based on the information in Josh’s articles, there are many changes I should make in the book. At this time, I plan to go ahead and finish it using his techniques, and then go back to the earlier sections and make changes. Many aspiring authors never finish their novels because they keep going back and rewriting. I have a lot of unfulfilled goals in my life, so it’s imperative that I complete a first draft.

Synopsis

I don’t have much to add to what I wrote above, but let’s just say it’s was an outstanding week and I fully expect this week to be the same.

  13 comments for “Weekly Wrap-Up May 9, 2016

  1. May 11, 2016 at 01:50

    I’m losing weight too. I had never heard of lose it. I am not doing weight watchers or slimming world I just see a nutritionist. Its hard work but so worth it. I think your following my blog? http://therapybits.com/ xxxx

    • Bradley
      May 11, 2016 at 02:21

      Good job of losing weight with your nutritionist. And yes, I enjoy your blog, just fallen behind on reading these days.

      • May 11, 2016 at 02:34

        I know how that is, I’m falling behind to sometimes

  2. May 10, 2016 at 17:53

    I’m not gay but it’s good you are writing on subjects that interest you. Keep it up. Some people will enjoy it when you finish it.

    • Bradley
      May 10, 2016 at 18:31

      Hi Andrew. I’m hoping when it’s done that it will be interesting to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, regardless of whether they are gay or not. Good to see you againl

  3. May 10, 2016 at 13:33

    p.s. big, big thanks for the shout-out and the compliment! I started following you on Twitter and of course I tweeted this post!

    • Bradley
      May 10, 2016 at 18:29

      Thank you for the tweet. I use to be pretty active on there. I hope to eventually learn to budget my time better so I can hang out there more often.

  4. May 10, 2016 at 13:33

    That’s fantastic news about your meds & Medicare!!!!! (And remarkable how the depression lifted so quickly!)
    It was interesting to read about Weight Watchers.

    As a gal who leads a support group for women, I know the power of being in a room with others – you’re right; there’s no comparing that to a virtual group. That said, I still love Lose It! , LOL! (As you know!) It worked so well for me in the past – the only reason it stopped working was that I decided to go off meds. You know the rest of that story….
    I think that using both Weight Watchers & Lose It! is a great idea as long as it’s not too much work. I think it will be an excellent way for you to achieve your goals!

    Re: writing – how awesome you figured out the clues, and then you discovered Josh Lanyon’s series – that’s a very good sign. (I believe in signs…..especially good ones!) It’s not so great about the block, but we all go through it. It’ll pass.

    It’s so nice to read about how your week turned out, and I love your positive attitude.
    Keep thinking like that, and….

    DRINK YOUR WATER! 😉

    Your Wondrous Writer/Partner in crime,
    Dyane

  5. May 10, 2016 at 08:10

    Good to hear you’re feeling better. Oh, I have so much to say about pharmaceutical companies….it’s no wonder people don’t get the help they need. I remember my first attempt at filling my Abilify (the generic) and they gave me a whopping $1000.00 charge. I walked away. My doctor did whatever doctors do, and now I get it for $25.00 a month. The weight loss plan sounds like a good deal. I will have to check into it.

    • Bradley
      May 10, 2016 at 10:02

      Yes, please consider joining us on Lose It. If we get more people on it we may eradicate obesity in the blogosphere. lol

  6. May 9, 2016 at 09:36

    Hey! I’m writing a mystery novel too! 10,000 words so far and not stuck yet. I decided I wanted to do something while my memoir was still out floating around in agent-land. (It hasn’t landed anywhere yet.) How far along are you? Are you working from an outline?

    • Bradley
      May 9, 2016 at 09:48

      I’m at 30,600 words. Yes, I was working off an outline, but I’ve veered so far off of it that I need to update. Guess I’m not a pantser. I’ll be excited when your is ready to read

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