Author Archives: Kris

To Eat Carbs or Not – That is the Question!

I don’t always get it right. Especially when daughter-in-law brings over delicious Fall treats, or, your Mom makes the best apple pie on the planet. Thanks Mom!

But a recent discussion with a friend and my daughter got me thinking about how much I know – or don’t know – about ‘good’ carbs and ‘bad’ carbs.  I thought I knew what good carbs were, so I had to do a little poking around just to make sure.

So here’s to all of you who need a fresh reminder….I found this at GoodCarbs.org and thought I’d pass it along.

What are ‘good’ carbs?

example of good carbs

The simplest answer to this question is this: good carbs are unprocessed carbohydrates in their ‘all natural’ state – or very close to their natural state. In other words they have been minimally altered by man or machine, or not altered at all. Most diet and health experts agree that green vegetables are the ‘ultimate’ good carb foods. In fact, most ‘leafy’ fibrous vegetables and many fruits are considered among the best carbs to eat. Beans and legumes are also generally included on the ‘good carbs’ list, as are many raw nuts and seeds. Finally, whole-grain foods – including whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas – are considered by most experts to be among the good carbohydrate foods (although there is some disagreement over this).

Good carbs generally have these healthy characteristics:

 

  • high in fiber: helps you stay full longer (and avoid overeating), provides sustained energy, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps to remove toxins from the body
  • low glycemic index: stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin production
  • high in nutrients: natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes, & other phytonutrients promote health and help to prevent chronic disease
  • low ‘energy-density‘ (except nuts & seeds): helps you feel full without a lot of calories, provides sustained energy, promotes healthy weight loss and long-term weight maintenance
  • greater ‘thermic effect’: naturally stimulates metabolism and promotes fat loss

Many popular weight loss diets incorporate good carbs into their eating plans because they are so effective at lowering insulin production and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Also, because of their high fiber-content, good carbs make you feel fuller and help you to avoid overeating – a major problem for many people trying to lose weight safely!

To sum it up, the following food types are generally considered to be good carbs and should make up most or all of your carb intake:

  • whole vegetables
  • whole fruits
  • beans
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • whole cereal grains

Note: Some nutritionists include ‘healthy’ dairy products like low-fat milk and low-sugar yogurt on the list, but there is much disagreement over this so we’ll leave dairy foods off for now.

What are ‘bad’ carbs…

In general, bad carbs are refined, processed carbohydrate foods that have had all or most of their natural nutrients and fiber removed in order to make them taste better, easier to transport, and more ‘consumer friendly.’ Most baked goods, white breads, pastas, snack foods, candies, and non-diet soft drinks fit into this category. Bleached, enriched ‘white’ flour and white sugar – along with an array of artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives – are the most common ingredients used to make ‘bad carb’ foods.

One of the big reasons why bad carbs are harmful is because the human body is not able to process them very well. Our hormonal and digestive systems developed over the course of millions of years. Yet only in the past 100 years or so have humans had access to these highly-processed carbohydrates in abundance. Our bodies simply didn’t have time to adapt and evolve to handle the rapid changes in food processing and diet.

Because of this, most of the processed carbs we eat wreak havoc on our natural hormone levels. Insulin production, especially, is ‘thrown out of wack’ as the body attempts to process the huge amounts of starches and simple sugars contained in a typical ‘bad carb’-based meal. This leads to dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose levels – a big reason why you often feel lethargic after eating high-sugar, unhealthy meals.

Also, it’s important to realize that many processed carb foods provide large amounts of ‘empty’ calories – calories with little or no nutritional-value. Eat enough of these empty calories and your body will quickly turn them into extra bodyfat, as anyone with a weight problem already knows all too well!

The regular consumption of large amounts of high-sugar, low-fiber, nutritionally-poor ‘bad carbs’ eventually leads to a much higher risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other long-term problems. It’s becoming more and more clear that the abundance of processed carbs and unhealthy trans-fats found in so many foods is a major cause – if not the biggest cause – of many of our modern chronic health problems!

 

Easy Way to Earn 15% Off

Earn 15% off the October weight loss classes by:

1. “Like” Thinking Thin Lifestyle on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thinking-Thin-Lifestyle/140137376042368

2.  Share this offer from the Facebook page on your page

One drawing for the 15% offer will be announced the week of October 28, 2013.

(Currently there is a 10% offer off the October class if you sign-up now)

Anxious about Monday?

Oh my gosh – I thought this just happened to me. So much to do, so little time and the anxiety can kick in!  Come to find out, there’s a whole lot of people that feel the way I do about Sunday nights – even if you actual like (LOVE!) your job.  Good to know. I’m not alone.

The Sunday Night Blues Are Real — Here’s How To Beat Them

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted:   |  Updated: 10/13/2013 1:00 pm EDT

In theory, the 62 hours between 6 p.m. on Friday evening and 8 a.m. on Monday morning are a blissful reprieve from the stress of the workweek. But even if you manage to leave work at work, the reality is that Sundays are often dominated by that sinking feeling that the workweek is looming. (And now there’s not even a new episode of Breaking Bad to look forward to).

The phenomenon is a real one — 78 percent of respondents in a recent international Monster.com poll reported experiencing the so-called “Sunday Night Blues.” And a whopping 47 percent said they get it “really bad.” In the U.S., that number jumps to 59 percent.

The Sunday Night Blues are created by a combination of realizing weekend fun is coming to an end and anticipating the beginning of five days of pressure, meaning it can strike even those who like their jobs. “Work is now spread out into home life with increasing demands because of email and the ability to work remotely,” says Steven Meyers, professor of psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Ill. “Work has become more of a drain for many people than it was a decade or two ago. There’s more to dread nowadays.”

But a case of the blues doesn’t have to derail your Sunday. Below are five expert-approved strategies for beating that end-of-weekend anxiety.

Relax and distract.
fall play
Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to forget about it. “Feelings of anxiety and depression are most common when the person is not particularly busy,” Meyers says. “So enjoyable activities that redirect your attention are especially important. Spending time with others, doing things that you find fun, exercising [and] devoting time to hobbies are all good ways to keep busy so that dread doesn’t creep into your mind.”

Identify the times you tend to feel anxious as the weekend wears on (Sunday Night Blues can be a misnomer — sometimes it starts Sunday morning or afternoon), and purposely plan something to keep your mind focused on something else during those times.

Put your feelings on paper.
journal
Still can’t squelch the feeling of impending doom on Monday Morning Eve? Try writing down exactly what it is that’s bothering you. “It’s a catharsis to get it out on paper … It’s like flushing a toilet: You get it out on paper and you have flushed your system out,” says James Campbell Quick, professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at The University of Texas at Arlington. “Plus, when you go back and look at it you may realize that some of what you’re thinking and feeling is a little off reality.”

Listing out exactly what’s bothering allows you to “weigh the evidence and examine the facts that are underneath the feelings,” Meyers says. He recommends also writing down plans to address each of the stressful situations, because this can help “people reappraise the scope and scale of the stresses that they’re looking at over the next several days.”

Unplug.
off switch
In a world of 24/7 connectivity, there’s almost always an option to check in at work — and that means nine-to-five, five-days-a-week jobs are often a relic of the past. It can be easy to allow the stresses of workweek to seep into your precious time off and tempting to use Sunday as a chance to get a jumpstart on the week. But, as much as you can, it’s important to spend time unplugged, even if you can only manage a few hours.

Disconnecting on the weekends can allow you the time you need to recharge your batteries after a stressful week, says Joanie Ruge, senior vice president at the career site Monster.com, which conducted the Sunday Night Blues survey. It might seem counterintuitive, but taking some time off will allow you to be even more productive when you get back to the grind.

Schedule something to look forward to.
dancing with the stars
“We shouldn’t save all of our fun times for the weekend,” Meyers says. Strategically setting up little things to look forward to throughout the upcoming week, and even the following weekend, can help to soothe some of your Sunday-evening dread.

These activities don’t need to be elaborate (think: watching a TV show, making a phone date with a friend or going out to dinner). “Any of these are small enough to be feasible for workweek activities but large enough to make you feel excited or hopeful,” Meyers says. Yup, DVR-ing DWTS totally counts.

Set yourself up for success.
organized desk
Sometimes Sunday night is too late to think about the Sunday Night Blues. Next week, try setting aside some time on Friday afternoon to prepare for Monday, getting things organized so you have less to feel stressed about over the weekend. “Take some time to plan, even if that means you don’t dash for the door at 5 p.m. on a Friday,” Ruge says. “It actually will help you have a much better and more enjoyable weekend.”

10% Off – Sign Up for Fall Weight Loss Classes

10 offWe are offering 10% off the Fall Weight Loss Program classes that start on

  • Monday, October 28th 7:00 pm
  • Tuesday, October 29th 9:00 am
  • Saturday, November 9th 9:30 am

Please be aware that class sizes are limited.

Orientation meeting should be attended first to see if you are a good candidate for this 4- week program.  Free Orientation meetings are next week – hope to see you then. Call 616-608-5449 to register for the following:

Monday, October 21st, 7:00-7:45 pm
Tuesday, October 22nd, 9:00-7:45 am
Saturday, October 26th, 9:30-10:15 am

 

 

 

 

Depression & Weight Gain

Postmenopausal Depression & Weight Gain Linked to Chronic Disease

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 14, 2013

Postmenopausal Depression and Weight Gain Linked to Chronic Disease Researchers have made a connection between postmenopausal women who use antidepressant medication and suffer from depression,  a large waist circumference, and inflammation with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers investigated whether elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use are associated with biomarkers for glucose dysregulation and inflammation, BMI, and waist circumference.

The three main findings indicate that both elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use are each significantly associated with higher BMI and waist circumference.

Elevated depressive symptoms are associated with increased levels of insulin and insulin resistance. Antidepressant use is associated with higher leves of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation which increases the risk of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“It may be prudent to monitor post-menopausal women who have elevated depression symptoms or are taking antidepressant medication to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Yunsheng Ma, PhD, MD, MPH, lead researcher.

Postmenopausal women were recruited into the study from 1993 to 1998, and data for this analysis were collected at regular intervals through 2005. Using data from 1,953 women who completed all relevant assessments, the study found that elevated depressive symptoms were discovered to be significantly associated with increased insulin levels and measures of insulin resistance.

Researchers found that throughout the entire 7.6 years, women enrolled in the study with depressive symptoms (or taking antidepressants) had a higher BMI and waist measurements than those without depressive symptoms, with the strongest association for waist circumference.

Analysis of data from 2,242 women showed that both elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use were associated with higher CRP levels.

“Identifying these markers in women is important for diabetes prevention because they can be monitored for possible action before progression to full-blown diabetes,” said Ma.

Few studies have examined the association of BMI, waist circumference, and biomarkers of glucose dysregulation and inflammation with depression, antidepressant medication use, or both.

The current study included a large, racially and ethnically diverse sample of post-menopausal women.

Because the analysis was epidemiological, it could not determine a causal relationship, so further study is needed to confirm the results through clinical trials.

Source: University of Massachusetts Medical School

Obesity is a Disease?

overweightThis past summer the American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” Dr. Patric Harris, a member of the association’s board, said in a statement. She suggested the new definition would help in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which are linked to obesity.

One could argue for or against calling obesity a disease. The reality is, we are an obese and overweight society.  And the truth of the matter is childhood obesity is at an all time high:

  • Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.
  • Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.

Ouch! Things have got to change – obviously.  Thinking about weight loss is so much more than just what diet you’re going to try. A lifestyle change is re-evaluating your level of movement, your food intake, your self-talk, and your physical and emotional health.

Being overweight or obese is costly.

New Fall 2013 Weight Loss Classes

We’re changing things up a bit for Fall 2013. We’ve created a 4 week class – to get you going in a new direction. 45 min classes on Mondays at 7:00 p.m., Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m., and, Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.

Free Orientation mtg for Mondays is on Monday, Oct 21st at 7:00 pm.
Free Orientation mtg for Tuesdays in on Tuesday, Oct 22nd at 9:00 am.
Free Orientation mtg for Saturdays is on Saturday Oct 26th at 9:30 am.

Call 616-608-5449 to register for free orientation meetings.

Monday PM class 7:00 – 7:45 p.m.
Monday Oct 28th
Monday Nov 4th
Monday Nov 11th
Monday Nov 18th

Tuesday AM class 9:00 – 9:45 a.m.
Tuesday Oct 29th
Tuesday Nov 5th
Tuesday Nov 12th
Tuesday Nov 19th

Saturday AM class 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Saturday Nov 9th
Saturday Nov 16th
Saturday Nov 23rd
Saturday Nov 30th

 

 

Running After a Goal?

Heard about Couch to 5K Plan?
How about Couch to Aruba Plan?
We all need a motivator. :-)

Depression – Teens & Adults

Depression is an equal opportunity illness for youth, teens, and adults. When depression takes hold, it can be very discouraging for some.

And there can be all kinds of reasons for depression.  When I think of Michigan and all the beauty it holds in the Spring and Summer, I’m also reminded of the emotional struggles that people can experience in our Fall and, typically, Winter months.

Which makes me think of one kind of depression……Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder can also affect individuals as the Seasons change and days feels longer and darker. Serious mood changes can shift your sleeping patterns, energy levels, and eating depressionpatterns.  More on this later….

A colleague turned me on to this article, and what researchers have found according to two new studies and the value of cognitive behavioral therapy. I think you might find interesting.

Psychotherapy a Powerful Tool to Fight Depression, Studies Show

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy worked as well or better than antidepressants, other care at preventing depression or relapse

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) — Cognitive behavioral therapy can be a powerful tool for preventing depression, equaling or exceeding the effectiveness of antidepressants and other types of care, according to two new studies.

Follow-up cognitive therapy can be as effective as antidepressant medications in preventing a relapse for patients at high risk for another bout of depression, researchers reported in the first study, which was published online Sept. 4 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Adults coming out of acute depression are less likely to suffer a relapse if they receive an additional eight months of either cognitive therapy or the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) after finishing an initial round of cognitive therapy, the report concluded.

“Everybody did better than they would have if they hadn’t had treatment,” said study author Robin Jarrett, the Elizabeth H. Penn Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “If you treat a patient with cognitive therapy and they do well, then the patient would have a choice: You could treat them with either fluoxetine or therapy.”

In the second study, also published online Sept. 4 in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital found that cognitive behavioral therapy did better than usual forms of care in preventing depression in at-risk teens.

Teens who received cognitive-behavioral therapy were significantly less likely to suffer a depressive episode than those who were referred to therapists for usual care, which typically involves either standard therapy or medication, said Dr. William Beardslee, director of Baer Prevention Initiatives at the hospital and the Gardner/Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“People at risk for depression often have a very gloomy sense of the future and will misinterpret communications: I’m being rejected or those people don’t like me or what I do makes no difference,” Beardslee said. “What one tries to do is show that actions do make a difference, and do that in a gentle, supportive way.”

The first study involved 241 adults who had responded well to cognitive therapy but were at high risk of relapse for depression. They received treatment at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Researchers broke the group roughly into thirds. The first two thirds received eight months of continuing treatment, either through additional cognitive therapy or by taking Prozac. The final third received a placebo pill.

The people who received continuing treatment had relapse rates that were half that of the placebo group — about 18 percent for either cognitive therapy or fluoxetine, compared with 33 percent for placebo pills.

The protective effect, however, wore off after treatment ended. Two and a half years later, all three groups had similar relapse rates, although rates in the placebo group still tended to be slightly higher.

Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said there is a higher likelihood of depression reoccurring with each episode of depression.

“For example, with individuals who have had three or more episodes, there is a 95 percent chance of reoccurrence,” Varma said.

“I hate to break the bad news when my patients ask about this, but I tell them that there are some people who fall in this category who are going to need treatment indefinitely given their prior history of multiple depressive episodes and perhaps previous incomplete remission histories,” she said.

The second study involved 316 teenagers who were at risk for depression because either their parents suffered from depression or they themselves showed symptoms or had prior instances.

The teens received cognitive-behavioral group therapy in eight weekly 90-minute group sessions followed by six monthly continuation sessions at sites in Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore.

“We try to get kids to think of a range of options,” Beardslee said. “State what the problem is — let’s say they can’t get over a relationship and they feel persistently sad — then try to get them to the goal by brainstorming all the possible solutions and trying some.”

During a 33-month follow-up period, the kids who received the therapy had significantly fewer depressive episodes than those who were referred for usual psychiatric care.

“We wanted to see if this intervention could be delivered systematically and reliably in four different sites in the U.S., and the answer is yes,” Beardslee said. “It’s a step on the way to eventually disseminating the intervention widely.”

There was one drawback. Kids who underwent cognitive behavioral therapy at the same time their parents were suffering depression received no benefit.

“This speaks to the fact that the parental depression must also be simultaneously addressed, and I imagine both individually but also in the family context through family therapy,” Varma said. “This study says that [cognitive behavioral therapy] prevention is highly effective, but we need to look at the big picture. And this makes sense. Depression for young people does not exist in a bubble, and if we can support the family we can help the adolescent.”

 

 

Vitamin D & Weight Loss? Hmmm

Happy September Everyone!  Insert “heavy sigh” right here – that’s my usual attitude about September. Sorry, it just is. Shorter days. Colder weather. Less sun. Oh boy.

Ran into this article – another great reminder about maintaining (or getting started) with a vitamin regiment.

“Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that Vitamin D levels in the body at the start of a low-calorie diet predict weight loss success, suggesting a possible role for vitamin D in weight loss.”

Got your attention?  Read on….

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php