Veteran Manages Health With Interactive App - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


Veteran Manages Health With Interactive App

Veteran Dave Earnest uses VIDA app to manage health.

Veteran Dave Earnest uses VIDA app to manage health.

By Dave Earnest
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I am a United States Air Force Veteran having served 6 years on active duty and 20 in the Reserves. I’ve been fortunate to receive care at the Palo Alto VA Campus and share stories as a volunteer with the Public Affairs Office and Veterans and Family Advisory Council (VFAC).

Because of my work with the VFAC, I became aware of the Whole Health Initiative and the app called “VIDA.”  I thought to myself, what a cool app; a way to be connected to a program at the VA but on your own time, in your own place. No traffic, no schedule; just when it works for me.

I began a new journey by utilizing the app, “VIDA.” It suits me to work on my physical and mental health independently and remotely, yet still maintaining accountability. The VIDA app allows you to set goals that align yourself with good health practices and maintain logs of your activities, challenges and progress. The coolest part of the application for me is the ability to connect with a “life” coach.

My personal goals were developed to lose weight, eat well, exercise and find personal time to reflect and set my intentions for each day. As you might imagine, the app provides for a place to log my meals, snacks, exercise, weight and reflections. I usually set up a weekly face-to-face chat via the app with Terry, my coach. He has lots of availability and you simply schedule a meeting on the app for a face-to-face chat.

When I first met Terry, we were focused on diet, exercise and healthy living. But Terry soon challenged me to expand my experience while using the VIDA app into thoughtfulness, mindfulness and self-compassion. The app provides articles to read and Terry also sends me various materials to read.

Terry and I have developed a relationship of encouragement and thoughtfulness. He empowers me to self assess, set goals for the week, and discuss where I have strengths and areas where he sees I may be able to improve.

Recently, I attended the International OCD Conference in Austin. My son has been diagnosed with this disease for 8 years but probably has suffered from the disease for much longer. While reflecting over the meeting events and the challenges my son faces, I became a bit “blue” following the meeting. I scheduled a chat with my coach Terry and we talked through the issues and it provided great relief.

Presently the app and my “life” coach, Terry, have helped me reach my designated goals - lose weight, exercise more, and allow myself time each day for self-reflection. When I sit down to eat, I eat less: when I work out, I give it a bit more effort; and when I sit in the morning and set my intentions for the day, I am thankful for this opportunity that has been provided to me.

For me the app has morphed from my initial intentions of losing weight into a “life” coach, a confidant, a friend and a mentor. I often think about fellow Veterans who may not have easy access to a VA facility and the VIDA app, my friend, is a great tool to easily connect to another human being.

I’m so encouraged by the VIDA app, I highly recommend giving it a try. VIDA is virtual platform that will help you manage a variety of health issues. Talk with your Health Care Team about the “Whole Health Initiative” and start your wellness journey today!







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