How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain by Barbara Toman
We are so busy taking care of everyone else and having the perfect preparations that a huge blind spot is that we forget to care for ourselves. When we are not present in our bodies and caught up in the whirlwind of the holiday rush, we tend to eat those extra treats that temporarily make us feel good and gives us quick energy, but the downside is that we eventually crash and feel worse off. So, I have defined some tips to help keep you sane, healthy and eliminate weight gain during this holiday season, so you are not saying to yourself on December 31st, “What have I done? I over ate and I am not feeling so great.” You can avoid the food and emotional hangover that comes with poor planning or reckless abandon during the holiday.
TIP 1-Plan your meals- When we eat at regular intervals, we keep our blood sugar levels stable, which helps keep our weight and mood in check. Think about a time when you had too much sugar, white flour and/or processed/ fried foods. You tended to eat more because the receptors in the stomach did not get the message of feeling full. Not to mention the brain sends a chemical message to the pancreas to secrete insulin. When insulin is too high or not effective anymore due to poor diet, sugar cannot get into the cells to be utilized for energy, so the excess sugar gets stored as fat around the middle and you tend to look like Santa Claus. A good spacing for mealtime is; breakfast, then 4 hours later lunch then 5 hours later, dinner. Try not eating after 7:00pm, or, if you have to eat late, make sure you keep it light and easy to digest. Our bodies are designed to start to wind down for bed and not digest heavy meals after 7:00pm.
TIP 2-Eat nutrient dense/colorful foods-Nothing will keep you fuller than eating real food; the food that is closer to nature. I never had a client say, “Wow, I finished a big bag of carrots and still feel hungry.” I have had people say,” I started eating chips, cookies, etc. and I just couldn’t stop.” Foods that are closer to nature: i.e. fruits and vegetables ,help keep us feeling full because the simple reason is that we ARE full. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber and water that help satiate and keep us full. Fruits and vegetables take more time to chew and digest, plus they do not contribute to a huge spike in blood sugar levels.
TIP 3-Sleep/Rest for a normal metabolism. Your body secretes hormones at night that actually aid in weight loss. The two main hormones are; Ghrelin that works with the brain to signal hunger. If you go on a calorie-restricted diet, Ghrelin is elevated and makes it very difficult to lose weight since excess Ghrelin signals the brain that you are always hungry. Leptin is released from fats cells; the more fat cells you have, the more Leptin is released. Leptin signals the brain to have your body eat less and burn calories, but too much body fat causes Leptin resistance so your body never gets the right signal to eat less.
TIP 4-Schedule exercise-What is the best exercise? The one you will do! This is a great time to schedule social time with friends you have not seen in a while. What better way to connect with friends this holiday season, than to call and invite to go on a 4-5 miles hike or join you in a Zumba class? You can partner your work out time with a great invitation to meet with friends. Who says you need to make every social event about food. Exercise will increase the good hormones like endorphins that will help you feel happy.
The holidays are to be enjoyed and food does not have to be the focus. Remember with these few simple tips, you will be well on your way to a healthy, happy new year.
Barbara Toman, owner of BodyWise, LLC is a LEAN Certified Health Coach and a Licensed Massage Therapist. www.bodywisellc.com
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Pediatrician Visit, By Laura K. Whitney MD
Be On Time
Most offices schedule patients for a set appointment length, such as 10 or 15 minutes, beginning at the given appointment time and including time for paperwork, initial evaluation by a nurse, and time with the doctor. When you arrive after your appointment time, some of the allotted time has already passed. This means the doctor may have less time to deal with your concerns, and if the visit cannot be completed in the scheduled time, the next patient will have to wait longer for his appointment.
Know the names and dosages of all your child’s medications, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins or supplements. If the primary caregiver cannot be present, make sure the adult bringing the child to the doctor has all the details of the child’s medical history and current symptoms. It is most helpful to send a written list of all pertinent information, along with any questions you would like answered. Do not rely on medical files already at the office as it takes considerable time to review old records. Missing details could hinder the diagnosis and treatment of any current problems. The majority of the visit should be spent addressing the issues of the day, not reconstructing what happened in the past.
Providing complete information to your doctor is essential. Without it, the correct diagnosis may be delayed or missed altogether. Your pediatrician is not sitting in judgment: if she has been in practice for a while, be assured she has heard it all. Do not omit any medications or other treatments you have given the child, and if your child has seen a specialist or other provider, be sure to mention it. Report all symptoms accurately and answer questions truthfully, even if the answer is embarrassing. You may ask to speak with the pediatrician independently of the child if you wish to convey sensitive information, or a teen may request to talk with the doctor while his parents wait outside.
Be Present, Even for Teen Visits
It is appropriate for teens to have time alone with the pediatrician, so they can open up about issues they would rather not discuss in front of a parent. However, teens may not know all the details of their personal medical histories or those of their families. They may not clearly communicate parental concerns to the doctor, or they may fail to report the results of the visit to the parent. Also, while teens are legally allowed to receive certain medical treatments without parental permission, these generally don’t include routine vaccinations, which are given at some teen well checks. For these reasons, an adult should be present with the teen at the beginning of the visit and remain in the waiting room until the visit is complete.
Dr. Whitney is a general pediatrician with The Children’s Medical Center, PA in Greenville, SC. Her interests include toddler feeding issues and helping children develop healthy habits.
How to keep your kidneys happy and healthy, By Dr. Rich Feldenberg
When things run smoothly, we tend to forget the importance of all the moving parts that make up our lives. Our kidneys are certainly no exception. We don’t think about how much they are doing for us each day until something goes wrong. The kidneys have the important task of keeping our internal environment constant. They maintain the precise chemical composition of the blood, and through their intricate architecture of filters and tubules, they regulate the right amount of water in the circulation and remove waste products from the blood. They also produce several important hormones, one of which keeps us from becoming anemic and another which activates vitamin D.
When our kidneys are working well, we don’t notice all the help they’re giving us, but when your kidneys become sick then it becomes obvious how important they are to maintaining a healthy life. Kidney failure can result in massive swelling from fluid retention, dangerous shift in your blood’s mineral balance, and the accumulation of toxins in the body. These problems can be fatal, and in some cases dialysis or kidney transplant is necessary for survival. Since dialysis and transplant are both major medical interventions, it is undeniably best to try to keep your kidneys healthy from the start.
What can you do to maintain good kidney health? While you have no control over your genetics, there are things you can do to help your kidneys continue helping you. Below are my recommendation for taking good care of your kidneys.
1. Drink plenty of fluids. While there is some controversy over exactly how much fluid is necessary to stay healthy, it is clear that low fluid intake is an important risk factor for kidney stones. In addition to causing a lot of pain, a kidney stone can cause a urinary blockage that could permanently damage kidney function. A daily fluid intake of around 2 liters or 67 ounces is often enough to minimize kidney stone risk.
2. Maintain healthy bladder habits. Those that hold their urine for long periods throughout the day and empty the bladder infrequently are at an increased risk for urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs can cause permanent scars in the kidney and recurrent UTIs can lead to kidney failure. Emptying your bladder about every 3 hours during the day and making sure you empty completely each time can help cut your risk.
3. Avoid frequent use of medications that are known to be damaging to the kidney. The main over-the-counter medication in this category would be ibuprofen. This can cause a decrease in blood flow to the kidneys and can sometimes lead to kidney failure. There may certainly be times when ibuprofen is fine to use for pain or inflammation, but overuse puts your kidneys at risk. If necessary, use sparingly, follow the directions on the bottle, and take with lots of fluids. If your pain or inflammation is not improving, then get checked by your doctor.
4. Be sure your blood pressure is under good control. Chronic high blood pressure is a common cause for kidney failure and the need for dialysis. Get your blood pressure checked, and if it is high, be sure to follow your doctor’s diet, exercise, and medication recommendations.
5. Talk to your doctor right away if you have any symptoms that could suggest kidney problems or kidney failure. If you notice blood in the urine or swelling in the legs, you shouldn’t wait to seek medical care. Get regular check-ups and periodically have your urine checked for blood and protein. Have your blood pressure measured. If you have diabetes, take extra care to keep your blood sugar levels in check so you are less likely to suffer diabetic kidney disease.
Dr. Feldenberg is a pediatric nephrologist at St. Louis University School of Medicine. His science blog is http://darwinskidneys.wordpress.com
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